Spruce Up Your Built-in Bookshelves With A Fabric Backdrop

Spruce Up Your Built-in Bookshelves 
With A Fabric Backdrop
contributed by Honey We’re Home
 In case you missed my guest post last week at Serenity Now, I’m sharing with you today.  I recently did a little more sprucing to the sitting room in the master bedroom by lining the back of the built-in bookshelves with fabric, using starch.  {I first heard of this when I saw Stephanie at Crea8tive Designs’ pantry}
Our sitting room is just off the bedroom and the bookshelves are on the far right wall.
shutters fabric bookshelf 004
shutters fabric bookshelf 025
A nice feature, for sure, but kind of bland as-is.  So, I started by scouring the fabric stores and found the perfect pretty floral print.  *swoon*
Fabric Bookcase finish 004

I decided to paint the back and sides of the bookcase a shade darker than the room to give the fabric a nice color to sit next to.  Rumor has it that after the fabric is applied, it is easily removable without damaging the walls.  If I ever tire of the fabric, the entire bookcase is already painted.
shutters fabric bookshelf 003
The most challenging part of this project was cutting the fabric to the exact width and length of the walls.  I realized my bookshelves were the same height, but the one on the left was considerably wider.  I cut my fabric into one giant piece before affixing the top corners to the wall with command strips. 
Then I used Sta-Flo liquid starch and a kitchen sponge to apply the starch directly on top of my fabric, really saturating it as I went.  I used a wallpaper straightener to stretch the fabric to the end of the shelves.
 shutters fabric bookshelf 004 shutters fabric bookshelf 008
shutters fabric bookshelf 009shutters fabric bookshelf 010
Even though I didn’t encounter any air bubbles while applying, be sure to smooth the fabric down with the straightener because the next day I did have a few.
Fabric Bookcase finish 001
Fabric Bookcase finish 002
Then I simply inserted the shelves back in (using one less than was there before to make room for some large photos I wanted to display).
Fabric Bookcase finish 007
Fabric Bookcase finish 008
I’m still adjusting the shelf heights and need to accessorize them, but here is a sneak peek.
Fabric Bookcase finish 018
Fabric Bookcase finish 025
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Love that paper…I have done this to all of my bookshelves. Except, I do it on made to measure foam core board (1/4). I have a problem with changing my mine. I use spray mount and fabric sometimes. Easy to change out. I re-use the foam core.

  2. >I love what you have done with your bookshelves, they look lovely! I am in the process of redecorating my bathroom & I have been thinking about adding fabric to the front of my flat (ugly) white cabinets. I am worried about finishing off the edges. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank You!

    1. Sarah, this was a guest feature, so I don’t personally know, but there is a link to the author at the top of the post! I know they would love to help you out if they can!

  3. Very nice! But they’d be a little less bland (pre-wall paper) if they had books in them. 🙂 Oh, I just had a brainstorm and thought that you could paper them with book wallpaper which looks like rows of books! Then just leave the shelves empty, ha ha.

    I like the idea one commenter had about papering foam core board rather than the backs of the bookcases themselves. Papering the bookcases themselves (or bare wall behind, if that is the case) can look great but then quickly look dated, or simply very-taste specific (in the case of resale0, and it’s relatively difficult to remove if you want to repaint. (And painted wallpaper looks awful.)

  4. Ah, duh, sorry, I should have read more closely and realized that FABRIC (not wall paper) was used. Much, much better for removal.

  5. i wish I would have known about fabric and starch decades ago when I went to college. Awful wallpaper in 1st rental. lol… I have starched fabric to walls with a dollar store spray bottle filled with undiluted starch.