An Easy and Dramatic Bookshelf Makeover Using Wallpaper

4 Hours

Looking for a change in a bookshelf? Whether small or large, use wallpaper to create an easy and dramatic bookshelf makeover.

We took a basic big box bookshelf unit and gave it a major makeover using only paint and wallpaper!

Sonata Home Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Additional affiliates links are also included for your convenience.

This was one of our best “adult” purchases as a married couple.

We found this bookshelf baby at Sam’s Club almost 20 years ago!

It is not made of the finest wood.

Nor is it the heaviest piece of furniture we own. (Admit it…you lift the corner of furniture to test its quality by how heavy it is!)

But it has been the equivalent of a family scrapbook for us.

It has held our favorite books…

…the tchotchkes from special trips…

…and the photographs of our children, friends, and loved ones.

I would not give these bookshelves away for anything.

But, it has seen better days.

I have covered many a scratch with a black sharpie pen. (This is actually a great tip! Color in and smudge with your finger!)

Time for a transformation.

Paint is usually my go-to for a quick, easy, and budget-friendly makeover.

But this is my bookshelf baby and deserves a super special makeover.

While not the best quality, it has good bones and has withstood the test of time!

Let the Bookshelf Wallpaper Makeover Begin!

As predicted, this makeover will begin with paint.

Like a good foundation in putting on makeup, we prime first and then paint.

I’ve always loved the bun feet on these shelves.

Oh my! Look at those scratches!

We will call them “love pats” by a beloved cat.

Tip: When painting the feet of a furniture piece, stick them upside down in some leftover styrofoam. They will stay upright for easy painting!

(Got the spray paint bug? Check out 12 Spray Paint Projects that are Fun and Easy!)

Evidently, our cat “loved” these feet!

I’m not going to worry about painting the back of the bookshelf.

Why? You ask…

Because of this colorful, amazing, AWESOME wallpaper that will go on the back of the bookshelves!

I found this pattern called “Australian Eucalyptus” on an online digital printing company called Spoonflower. They print custom wallpaper, fabric, and gift wrap using unique and amazing patterns by talented designers.

The pattern I chose is designed by Jackie Tahara of UnBlink Studio. I reached out to her about a version of this pattern that included a little more white detailing. She was so helpful and pointed me in the direction of the perfect paper.

I chose the pre-pasted option for ease of use and because it fit into my budget.

Just what I wanted to go with the painted bookshelves!

How to Apply Wallpaper

Once you measure and cut your wallpaper pieces, wet the back of the paper with a sponge. Then, “book” the paper by folding it in half. (Like a book!) Let it sit for a couple of minutes while the paste activates.

Wet with a sponge and “book” the paper.

It is a good idea to cut the paper slightly larger than the space. Better to be too big and trim later than too small and paper is wasted.

I alternated the larger flowers on the print for a random look.

Any bubbles are easily pressed out.

Confession: We could not find our wallpaper brush. So, instead, I used a leftover piece of molding that had a perfect edge. It was a “make it work” moment!

Trimming the edges was a breeze using a straightedge and a utility knife (with a sharp blade).

My husband, Brian, trimmed edges while I added new pieces. Tag teaming is the best!

As we progressed, I got so excited! I was literally “happy dancing” in the living room!


Styling the Bookshelves

Once we completed the first phase of our bookshelf makeover using wallpaper, the real fun begins!

All of these shelves are ready for styling!

Of course, there will be books. I love using wallpaper-covered books for a cohesive look. (I tuck a labeled bookmark in the book so I know what it is!)

This mix of wallpapered books are in our guest room.

For a tutorial on covering books in wallpaper, click here.

A visual focal point is this art print that our daughter brought to us from her trip to Japan. I actually left out a shelf to create a larger display space on the upper half of the main shelf.

I think of Samantha every time I look at this!

Of course, plants are perfect for any bookshelf! This white planter with grey and gold detailing fits in beautifully with the painted shelves.

You can see the planter pot here.

Because we are entering into the autumn season, I added a few stemmed white pumpkins for texture and fall fun. These are so cute!

Got these cuties at the dollar store!

A black and white stripe bookend adds bold, graphic interest atop a stack of wallpapered books.

You can see some similar bookends here.

And, I always like to add a little whimsy. These oversized eyeglasses should do the trick!

You can see some similar eyeglasses here.

For more Simple Tips for Styling Bookshelves, click here.

This bookshelf makeover is possibly one of my favorite projects. Such a dramatic (yet easy) update!

What can I wallpaper next? Bentley better watch out!


P.S. If you love the idea of styled bookshelves, take it a step further and create your own cozy book nook. Click here for some tips and inspiration!

p.s.s. Did you know that I host a private Facebook home design book group? Click here for details and to join this FREE group!

*Affiliate links are provided throughout this post for your convenience.

Sonata Home Design
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  2 questions
  • Ebe31237814 Ebe31237814 on Oct 07, 2021

    What kind of dog is "Bentley" please????????

    I have a similar one but have NO idea as to his heritage !!

    Kind Regards


  • Wandamurline Wandamurline on Oct 07, 2021

    I have found that this company's wall paper is very pricey. What did the wall paper cost? Thanks.


Join the conversation

2 of 31 comments
  • Donna Turner Donna Turner on Oct 14, 2021

    Spoon flower has some of the best, whimsical, & fun wallpapers around! They are a bit pricy, but if you want something unique and fun, it’s a great resource. I believe this is the site that you can send them any print you want, and they can turn it into wallpaper.

  • Sonata Home Design Sonata Home Design on Oct 14, 2021

    Yes! Spoonflower orders are all custom printed and you can send them whatever you want. I definitely expanded my budget a little for this project but it was worth it! Thanks for you comments! ~Missy