Staging A Bookcase Beautifully

Staging A Bookcase Beautifully by Stacy
Howdy ya’ll! 
My name is Stacy and I blog over at The Precious Little Things in Life. I am giddy with excitement honored to have been asked by Cassity to guest post here on Remodelaholic. I’ve been an avid follower of this blog for over a year now and have gleaned so much knowledge and inspiration from it. Before we begin, here’s a little run down of who I am and what my blog is all about. I was born and raised in Texas and I lived there up until August of last year, at which time my husband left his secular job and accepted a church planting/pastoral position in North New Jersey. We packed up our belongings, said good-bye to loved ones, and drove cross-country with our three young children to begin a new and exciting chapter of our lives. I started my blog in order to stay in touch with family and friends in Texas, but it has since evolved into a wonderful creative outlet for me, a forum in which to share with others that which I am most passionate about: serving the Lord, loving my husband, homeschooling my children, and decorating my home. We are currently renting a Victorian Style house built in the 1920’s and have had to come up with many creative and ingenious ideas to spruce it up, while staying within our budget and respecting rental property restrictions.

My husband and I have been busy the last few months, working hard to give our master bedroom a much needed face lift. One wall of our bedroom is occupied by two Ikea Billy Bookcases (joined together by screws) that were handed down to me by my sister. They were taken apart and stored in my garage in Texas for a while before we moved, then transported 1,600 miles to New Jersey in a tightly packed Uhaul truck. They were in serious need of some TLC. Not only that, but we were not happy with overall appearance of the bookcase arrangement. It was far too busy and colorful. In our bedroom, we are going for what I call a cool and crisp look. Simple, clean, and bright. It was clear to us that the rainbow effect created by the colorful book bindings was making it impossible for us to achieve this overall look. Add to that the less than appealing appearance of some of the books and we had a real challenge on our hands. (we have many old well-loved books)

Here is a picture of the bedroom so you can get an idea of the color pallet we are working with and the overall feel of the room.


…and then the eyesore bookcases…


Here is a closeup of what the bookcases looked like before:


We began our bookcase makeover by removing all the books and knickknacks, focusing our attention on the bookcases themselves.

The particle board backing, which was suppose to be nailed with small nails to the middle shelf, had been nailed so many times it would no longer hold up. Not only did it not hold up, but the numerous attempts to nail it had left unsightly holes. We gave up on the nails altogether, aligned the boards, and used a staple gun to secure the backing instead. After the backing was secured we used caulk to cover the holes left behind by the numerous nailing attempts.



Once the backing was secured and the holes sealed, we were ready to choose a paint color for the inside/back of the bookcase. We chose a sandy tan to match with our bedding and pillows.


Once we were finished with the bookcase itself, we were able to move on to the books. After much discussion and deliberation (and scouring the internet for ideas), we decided upon a rather unorthodox solution for our “too colorful and timeworn” books. We would cover them all, making our own book covers with white paper and printing the titles on the binding. Although I immediately got very excited at the thought of how amazing the bookcase would look, the task of covering each book was rather daunting. I decided not to ponder too much the amount of work and time the project would take, knowing that if I did, I might be too intimidated to begin. I just jumped right into the chaos and I have not regretted it. (Here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how we covered them.)


After the books were covered, we were able to move on to the fun part, collecting and arranging the accent pieces that would be displayed along with the books. This being our bedroom, we wanted a few pieces that would tell a story about our relationship and our family. I also wanted to include a few DIY crafts I’d worked on to give the bookcase that personalized and unique feel. Due to our restricted budget, the majority of the items were purchased secondhand at a nearby thrift store. So, without further ado, before and after pics of our new and improve bookcase!

The “too busy and too colorful” BEFORE


The “cool, crisp, clean, simple, and bright” AFTER







You may notice that the books are not very evenly distributed, that the bottom shelves have more books than the top shelves. The thing is, I like the way the shelves look when they are not overly crowded with books, but we have a lot of books Due to the layout of our room, the bottom shelves can only be seen if you stand right in front of the window, so I decided early on that I wanted the bulk of the books to go on the bottom shelves.

Now for a quick shelf by shelf breakdown. 

Top two shelves on the left: Plant pot Valentine’s Day gift from hubby purchased at HomeGoods, House plant HomeDepot $3.99, Picture frame IkeaVirserum Frame $2.99, Picture inside the frame post card of Cancun, Mexico from our honeymoon, Woven tray thrift store find $1.41, Wooden number 14 commemorating the day we became boyfriend and girlfriend March 14, 1996 read our love story here -craft store purchase $.49 each.
Top two shelves on the right: Felt wreath made by me- tutorial to come soon $10, Wooden chair JoAnn’s $7.99, Wooden “Shaker Seed Co.” sign thrift store $.99, Glass bottle thrift store $.69, Candles Ikea Jubla candles left over from previous project, Tin bucket Target $.99.

 Third shelf on the right: Glass Bottle thrift store $1.41, Candle gift, Wooden tray thrift store $1.61


Third shelf on the left: Lantern garage sale 1.50, Book bracket thrift store $.99, Basket weave coaster gift

4 shelf right side.jpg
 Forth shelf on the right side: Letter M craft store $1.99 Texture with rolled up book pages by me, tutorial here, Picture frame Ribba from Ikea $19.99, Print inside frame printed on our computer, MapQuest map with highlighted path from Houston (where my hubby lived while we were dating) to Fort Worth (where I lived). We had a long distance relationship and this 4 hour trip was much traveled by the two of us, Plant and Pot Ikea $5, Crystal candle holder wedding gift, Candle already owned.
 I wanted to share something I recently added to the fourth shelf on the right that isn’t in all the pictures because they were taken a while back.  This Scrabble tray with L-O-V-E letters to the above shelf, purchased at an antique shop for $2 
Fifth shelf on the right: Round frame with real pressed flowers thrift store already owned for many years.

Fourth Shelf on the left: Tray with number 3 for our three children tray purchased at thrift store and then transformed by me, tutorial to come soon tray $1.61 number $1.99 paint, $2.94, Shell from this trip down the shore on Mother’s Day.



Fifth shelf on left side: Tin Pail thrift store $.99, Ivy Plants HomeDepot $4 for both


Bottom Shelf on both sides: Wooden box containing a few of our love letters, thrift store $.99 design painted by me, Letter “O” not pictured HomeGoods $3.99

Overview of Complete Bookcase Transformation Costs:

Accent Pieces- $81.03

Bookcovers – free (used paper that was given to us)

Paint sample used to paint bookcase backing: $2.94

Paint sample used to paint tray and numbers: $2.94


Total Spent: $86.91 (Jump for Joy!)

You notice the chalkboard on the column next to the bookcase? This is something I’ve dreamt of having in our bedroom for a long time; a place where my honey and I can leave each other notes of love and encouragement. What woman would not want to wake up to this sweet note from her man? (made using this old mirror and chalkboard paint; read our love story here)

One last look for your viewing pleasure.


I hope you enjoyed reading about this project and that it inspired you to think outside the box when it comes to your own bookcases. I’d love it if you’d visit my little corner of blogsville, The Precious Little Things In Life. Drop by, say hello, stay a while. =)

Ya take care now, ya here?



This project was contributed by one of our fabulous readers! We love to share your projects with this great blogging community. So, if you have projects from kitchen renovation ideas to small bathroom remodels, overhauled and repurposed furniture, spray paint updates you name it please send it in! Thanks for reading Remodelaholic!

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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. Cassity, just found your blog and for a total book-aholic, this could be an overwhelming but gorgeous project. We have seven FULL bookcases. I will be getting rid of some of our homeschool books for younger kids, so hopefully we will have space to stage them. This is awesome, though!