10 DIY Ways to Decorate Your Bookcase


Whether you view your bookcase as a place to house your collection of paperbacks and hardcovers or as a location where you display your collection of knickknacks, there’s always room for improvement.

When you’re ready to revamp your bookshelves and give them a new look, there are several ways to go about it.

1. Install Lighting

While bookshelves can look pretty without lighting, adding lighting to the underside of the shelves that shines onto the items below adds a touch of class.

Lighting can help you easily locate the title you’re looking for or cast a warm glow on figurines and photographs that sit on the shelves. Install lighting to decorate your bookcase.

2. Paint the Interior

Paint the interior rear of the bookshelves to create a pleasing contrast to the color of the shelves. Opt for a darker color to add depth or a lighter color to make items placed on the shelves stand out from the background.

3. Group Items by Color

Whether you’re talking books or knickknacks, arrange the items by color for a designer look. Group a yellow vase of daisies, a buttercup candle and a mustard-colored picture frame on the same shelf.

On another, place a decorative plate in navy, an egg made from lapis lazuli and a decorative box that’s painted midnight blue.

4. Invest in Quality Tomes

Nothing says class like an impressive display of leather-bound books. Purchase your favorite classic novels and a set of encyclopedias bound in the best material you can afford. Display them proudly as a badge of honor that represents your love of books.

5. Vary the Direction of the Books

While most people simply stand books on their ends and display them in horizontal rows, others choose to stack books on the shelves for a vertical effect. To make your shelves even more interesting, alternate horizontal rows of books with vertical stacks. If you lack bookends, simply end each row of books with a stack to hold those standing up in place.

6. Give Shelves a Practical Use

If you’re not an avid reader, you may not possess enough books to fill your shelves. Use the shelves for practical purposes instead. Bookshelves in an office can be used to store an array of office supplies, those in the dining room can display dishes and those in a living room make a great home for photos of family and friends.

7. Group Items by Theme

When your bookcases house books and other items, create thematic groupings instead of placing items on the shelves willy-nilly. Place your collection of cookbooks next to a display of your grandmother’s antique china. On another shelf, arrange your coffee table books on gardening next to a pair of pretty floral gardening gloves, a painted terracotta pot and a colorful watering can.

8. Add a Splash of Color

To give a white or pastel room a pop of color, paint the shelves of your bookcases in vibrant colors that match or contrast with the rest of the room. Jazz up a white room with red shelves or a pastel pink room with hot pink shelves.

9. Add Artwork to Your Shelves

If you hate hanging pictures on the walls, make space on your bookcases for them. Simply prop paintings and other artwork on the shelves and allow the backs of the frames to rest against the rear of the shelves.

10. Add a Border to Wooden Shelves

If you’ve grown bored with looking at your bookcases over the years, visit your local hardware store and purchase lengths of trim in a matching design. Nail the borders to the edge of each shelf at the top or bottom to add visual interest to otherwise boring shelves.

If you’ve only ever used your bookcases as a place to house your personal library, it’s time to realize that bookcases are much more than a place to keep books. Use your imagination to change the appearance of your shelves and change the look of the room they’re in for the better.