Sprucing up an old bookshelf

I have an old, what looks like homemade, bookshelf that doesn't really match my decor. Very boxy and plain. It was perfect for my husbands "bachelor pad" but now that we have a home of our own and nice stuff, I want to redo the shelf to make it look pretty. I have seen some cute bookshelves out there that have pretty doors and lights, but don't really know how to start. Its literally a shelf constructed from planks about 3/4" thick and about 8" wide and it's about 7 or 8 ft tall. Stained brown. I have a desk I would like it to kind of match which is an antique cream color with wood colored top.
sprucing up an old bookshelf, painted furniture, Added a picture of the bookshelf Sorry about the christmas tree and the bit of mess I am still trying to put the desk together It s been a nightmare
Added a picture of the bookshelf. Sorry about the christmas tree and the bit of mess. I am still trying to put the desk together! It's been a nightmare!
  6 answers
  • Painting is the path of least resistance; you can paint it the same color as your desk, add cute feet to the bottom, paint the back a contrasting color, put wallpaper/pretty contact paper/stenciling back there. Tons of possibilities that don't require building doors or installing lights. Just a thought... it sounds like your bookshelf is tall and skinny. I've seen people take plain bookshelves like that, rest it on its side, then make a cushion for it and turn it into a window seat or bench. I bet other people will have lots more ideas here.

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Feb 06, 2013
    Please share a photo of the shelf and the room you plan to keep it in... will help with the recommendations!

  • Neatsmart Neatsmart on Feb 06, 2013
    I agree with June above that painting is certainly the easiest thing you can do to spruce it up. If you can take the shelves off that will make it much easier. I also recommend getting some baskets that are the same depth as the shelves if you have office supplies to store. Wrapping the shelves in fabric is another cool option but you have to have a lot of fabric! If you could post some pictures, that would be great. I've heard that milk paint is really cool if you want that antique look. Good luck!

  • Erin H Erin H on Feb 06, 2013
    June, It's tall and pretty wide. About the normal width of a bookshelf I suppose. I have only ever had this on and one other to compare it to. I was thinking about trying the wallpaper, but don't know how to go about putting it on there because the back is a thin piece of wood. Like 1/8" of an inch. Feet seem like a really great idea too. BeckySue, it's going to be in my great room actually right where it is in the picture (sans the Christmas tree!).

  • What a fun DIY project you can do with this bookshelf. The bookshelf is definately screaming out "makeover". If you are trying to match it to your desk then go with the cream look. For some contrast keep it the same color and paint the inside back section of the bookshelf a cream color or find a pretty vinyl or wallpaper print with a cream background and apply. Some books that have colorful sleeves would add some pop of color as well after painting. Here is a link to get started with ideas http://bit.ly/Ygfb45 and to keep your shelving unit arranged neatly here is a link to some tips http://bit.ly/uPRJeH. Can't wait to see what you come up with and send us pics!

  • Here is a simple, but elegant idea; remove the shelves & paint the inside & outside of the cabinet the same beige as the desk, then put the brown shelves back in the cabinet & attach 2 of these Ikea lights to the thttp://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10143485/op of the bookcase.