How to Dress up a Drab Bookcase

By Elizabeth Freeman , last updated April 2, 2011

A bookcase is more than just a place to store books and other knick-knacks. It' s a part of the design of your home and should reflect your taste and decor. Turn a plain, boring bookcase into a work of art by adding a few decorative touches to it.

Add a Burst of Color

Take everything off the bookcase and move it to a well-ventilated area. Sand any paint off of the bookcase if you can. Apply a coat of primer and let dry for several hours. Paint the bookcase a bold color that goes with the color scheme in your house. If you're not one for painting wood, improve the bookcase's appearance by adding a new coat of wood stain to keep the natural beauty of the wood.

Decorate the shelves

Dress up a drab bookcase by coating the inside back of the bookcase with a printed paper. Use contact paper or cut wrapping paper to fit and glue to the back. You can also cover the shelves with the paper. For more texture, decoupage a piece of fabric to the shelves and top of the bookcase.

Make the Books Part of the Design

The books on the bookcase can spruce up its appearance drastically. Sort books by size and whether or not they're hardcover. Get creative with the way you position the books on the shelf. Place some vertically, spines out, and stack others in a pile to add visual interest to the shelves.

Fill in Empty Spaces

If you have room left on the bookcase, dress it up further by adding a few decorative objects between the piles of books. Put pretty paper boxes on the shelves to get even more storage space out of them. Fill the boxes with unappealling looking books, such as battered paperbacks. Finish off the bookcase by arranging figurines or picture frames in front of the books.

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