Sure, books aren’t exactly selling like the Instapot (2018’s hottest selling product on Amazon’s Prime Day in the U.S.), but if you’re of the opinion that something isn’t worth reading unless you can hold it in your hand, read on.
Even if you consume your literature on Kindle, shelves holding books are an asset to your décor – especially if the shelves are aesthetically pleasing.
Fortunately, if they have seen better days, bookshelf makeovers are easy and inexpensive DIY projects that don’t require a lot of carpentry experience.
The first step
Any decorating project is best undertaken with a clean slate, so remove everything from the shelves. Then, dust and clean the entire unit.
If your shelves are of the particle board/plastic variety, such as those sold at Ikea, a damp cloth and some mild cleaner is all you need to clean them.
Wood units, on the other hand, require the use of a wood-safe cleaning product, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap or Bona Cabinet Cleaner (both available from Amazon.com).
Now, stand back and imagine the possibilities.
Does it need paint?
Older bookshelves that seem to have seen as many years as some of the books they hold will look youthful again with refinishing or a fresh coat of paint to the frame and shelves. Especially if the bookshelf is a castoff or bargain purchase, paint or varnish can make it look high-end.
We found a YouTube video walk-through of how to paint wood veneer and laminate surfaces, here.
Painting wood surfaces also has its challenges, but, step-by-step, this how-to video makes the process a lot easier.
What’s behind the books?
Bookshelves with closed backs offer far more creative opportunities than those that are open to the wall in the back.
Aside from painting the backboard, DIYers use everything from wallpaper to wrapping paper, fabric and even shower curtains to decorate it.
Consider lighting it up
Lighted bookshelves offer a warm glow to the entire room and there are several ways to provide the light.
Consider LED strip lighting, attached to the bottom of each shelf to illuminate the shelf below. Here’s a video walk-through to help you get this very easy project underway.
For a more casual look, try twinkle lights. Even if you decide against this idea, we recommend watching this charming YouTube walk-through purely for its entertaining nature. We’ve fallen in love with TheFilmingFangirlBOOKS.
If you’re really handy, consider adding hardwired feature lights to your bookshelf.
Time to put the books back
If you’re using the unit to store books and only books, your décor options are limited. Suggestions for arranging them include:
- Arrange alphabetically
- Arrange books by theme
- Separate them by color.
- Stack some and use the stack as a bookend.
- Arrange hardbacks separately from soft-bound books.
- Arrange books by size
Bookshelves can hold more than books and offer a subtle way of decorating the room. The sky is the limit when it comes to which accessories to add to your bookshelves. You’ll find ideas online at HGTV, Elle Décor and House Beautiful.