4 Ways to Paint a Bookshelf 4 Ways to Paint a Bookshelf

A bookshelf is a standard piece of furniture for most homes. But you can it --and the room it's in--a facelift with with simple painting and color techniques.

1. Paint Solid Colors


Solid colors can always be a simple and efficient way to paint a bookshelf. The solid colors offer a myriad of options for the homeowner, making the bookshelf match any color the in room. The bookshelf can blend in with the walls, match the ceiling or the floor. Generally, the best way to paint with a solid color is to make the bookshelf an accent color; choosing a color that stands out in the room will bring more attention to the book collection.

2. Use a Wood Stain

Staining the bookshelf is a way to add color and dimension without going through the motions of painting. Using a stain allows you to match the wood of the bookshelf to the wood of any piece of furniture in the room, creating a unified look. Stain can match any type of room decor from rustic to elegant, so no matter what the future holds for your bookshelf, it will be sure to fit right in wherever it is. Note that in order to stain a bookshelf, it must be stripped to bare wood. If you have a bookcase made of particleboard or veneers, you will not be able to stain it and will need to use a different kind of a finish.

3. Paint With Texture

Painting with texture is a great way to cover a bookshelf with something more than a basic layer of paint. Use a sponge or rag dipped into paint to apply a fun texture onto the shelf. You can also use thick brush stokes to give off different texture, and use multiple shades of color to give off different dimensions.

4. Play With Surfaces

You don't have to paint the entire bookshelf to give it a new look. Try painting only the edges with a contrasting color to what's on the shelves and back. Or, paint only the inside of the bookshelf so that color peeks though among the arranged books. Not only does this method save you time from painting the entire piece of furniture, but it makes the bookshelf visually interesting.


5. Use Stencils

Stencilling is a popular way to customize any piece of furniture. If you have a particular pattern that you’d like to continue from the rest of the room, such as a wallpaper pattern or a figure used in the curtain fabric, using a stencil can be a great way to continue or accent that pattern. Look at a craft or home improvement store for a pre-made pattern that works for your room, or create your own by using a thick sheet of plastic or cardboard. Paint over the stencil on the sides and top of the bookshelf.

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