Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Add Some Colour to a Bookcase

Have you ever decided to do something and then thought, "why did it take me so long to decide to do that?".  That's how I feel about my decision to paint or wallpaper the back of our black bookcase.  It's all handcrafted and hand painted so I think I was reticent to paint over someone's labour of love.  In the end, it's just too black and it needs some wow.  Now to decide what kind of treatment it deserves.  There are so many inspiring ideas out there.

I love bright and bold but it may also require a lot more work in the styling department just trying to keep things from becoming a jumbled up mess.

Case in point.  There are very few books in these bookcases.

Here's one that's a little less colourful but still not so many books.  Oh no, I see a trend.

This is a definite option if wallpaper is what I decide on.

I realize this isn't a bookcase but it's still got major wowza.

While I would consider myself an avid reader I don't think I could ever in my lifetime find enough books to colour code a whole wall like this.  Very inspirational though!

Or maybe I should just leave it black and style it a bit better.
Source Unknown

What do you think?  What do you like to do with your bookcase?


  1. If the black isn't you, why not go for some color. I know you can style those bookshelves perfectly and make them your own. Hope you'll share when you decide what you're going to do.

  2. Can I tell you a secret? I've been trying to come up with an excuse to buy a bookcase just so I can put some wallpaper in it. I love that look! Can't wait to see what you end up doing it with, I'm sure it'll be amazing!

  3. I love the one by home designing!!!

    I'm debating painting the backs of our built-ins in our office but I keep chickening out!

  4. Ditto about the lack of books on bookcases. Or if there ARE books, they are books specifically chosen for their spine color and not because they're anyone's actual literary favorites. :)

    We don't have any bookcases in our house yet but when we do, I am almost definitely going to add color to the back. I think it adds such a fun new dimension! Good luck with your choice! :)

  5. Whatever you decide it will be awesome. I love the painted back and wallpaper is always a stunner. Bookcases are so versatile and sometimes styling them is challenging but so great when you finally get it right!

  6. I was planning to do the interior of my office built in shelves in orange or green, but then ended up filling them with magazine holders (in orange and green) and that's all the color needed. I think if you put a lot of books in your bookshelves, there's too much competing color to do something bold in the back. Curious to see what you decide!

  7. These are beautiful! You could always do fabric on the back too (depending on how the shelves are installed) and that way you would be able to take it off again should you decide to go back to the original black one day. Can't wait to see what you end up doing! :)

  8. I added faux malachite, does that count??

  9. In my last house I used foam core boards which I covered with fabric in the back of my built=in book cases. You could do that and cover the foam core with anything from fabric to wrapping paper or paint. Styling is key too, but no matter what it will be fun! Can't wait to see!

    Cathy @ Room Rx

  10. I thought I was being crazy when I painted my built in shelving in our office the wall color instead of white. I guess I need to step it up a notch :P

  11. contemplating this very thought on my own bookcase! We are having our house painted next week and I thought, why not? But I'm a little afraid. These pictures certainly helped sway me! I'm thinking an accent color to my wall color as in the elle decor pic...

  12. Yes yes yes! It's so funny how we live with our things for so long and then finally decide one day it's time to change it up and that change is really awesome. Well whatever you decide is going to be great. I love those first two images with the bold colors. Keep us posed on what you decide.

  13. Love the room from Samantha Pynn. I remember reading it in Style at Home! Such a great space ;)

  14. Hard to say without seeing the room! I love all of these examples - especially the first one or the fave is a black bookshelf with grasscloth behind!

  15. Great inspiration photos! I love the pops of bright colour and wallpaper but I agree - not many books in those shots. But I think styled properly, anything you do will look great. Whatever is most versatile, for you, always wins in my book.

  16. Funny, I've been thinking of doing just that on our bookcase ... and I mean litterally I've been thinking cause in my house it's the Mr who has to do the doing! hahaha and I haven't gotten up the courage quite yet to ask him to do this for me :)

  17. Great photos Carol. I like the wall paper idea, or painting the backing with a bold paint. In the end I think you can get away with using less stuff, depending on your over decision on how busy you like it!

  18. I think my hubs
    would have a fit
    if I wanted to paint
    the back of our natural
    cherry book cases....
    But if it were up to
    me, I love the idea
    of a subtle contrast!
    And girlie, give me
    BOOKS! Lots and lots
    and lots and lots of
    books.....Rather than
    many knick knacks. To
    me it's cozier to have
    many books punctuated
    with a few items versus
    the other way around.
    Just me : )
    xx Suzanne

  19. I've thought of doing this too but just can never decide on a color that I can commit to, I really like the ones you've got here...when I look at the black one though I feel like you can just add color with the items/books you choose but its tough to decide!

  20. All great examples- I have a black backdrop in my white bookcases on the first floor already and I think I'm leaning towards a "Hermes orange" for my upstairs hall bookcases -If I'm brave enough to do it!

  21. So many great ideas here. I really like bookcases painted or wallpapered. They really make the piece pop!

  22. I'm ignoring my bookshelf. Sad, I know. One day it will be beautiful, but it's not at the top of the list quite yet. I'll take notes from your makeover!! ;)

  23. All these are fabulous inspirational pictures, I love every one of them. Whichever one you have decided upon, I am sure it will look great in the end!


  24. I love the trellis wallpaper background. I've painted our media cabinet and put up fabric on the bookshelf in our bedroom- super easy- use liquid starch to attach the fabric to the back of the shelf.

  25. Really really love this idea! What a great 'pop' of color and pattern.

  26. sweet colors, thank you for the good posting

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