17 Beautiful Bookcase Makeovers

Upgrade a Basic Bookcase
Transform the boring bookcase or armoire that has been hiding in your basement for years into a fresh find perfect for any room of your house.

Before: Basic Bookshelf

Classic but cookie-cutter, this traditional white bookshelf holds so much more potential than its lackluster appearance lets on. A little shelf styling and pretty patterned paper are all it takes to punch up the plain furniture piece.


After: Basic Bookshelf

Geode-inspired wrapping paper makes an eye-popping addition to this once-basic white bookshelf. Use a utility knife to cut the patterned paper to fit the height and width of the bookshelves, then adhere with double-sided tape. Vases and quirky knicknacks add depth, while wicker baskets stash magazines and movies on the bottom shelf.


Before: Basic Blonde

This basic blonde-wood shelving unit lacked pizazz. Check out four ways to upgrade this basic piece.

After: Open Source

Craft a stylish entryway catchall to collect boots, bags, and dog leashes for grab-and-go ease. First determine your shelf layout, ensuring that the shelves will line up with the bookcase’s predrilled holes. To create dividers and shorter shelves, cut sections equal to the vertical spacing between shelves. Screw the divider to the end of the shortened shelf, then install the connected pieces inside the bookcase. Repeat with remaining shelves.

After: Cut Corners

Two bookcases wrap around the corner to host tableware and collectibles in this dining room. Connect the adjacent legs with a screw, then secure the bookcases to the wall with L brackets. To apply the crown molding, measure the perimeter of the joined bookcases, and cut the crown molding to fit with 45-degree miter cuts. Attach molding with pin nails. Adhere textured wallpaper to the back of the shelves for a custom look.

After: In Good Spirits

Gather glasses and bottles of wine, liquor, and mixers in this boozy bookcase. Make nonparallel 45-degree miter cuts to the short ends of one of the extra shelves and angle it inside the bookcase, using screws to secure one end to the middle shelf and the other to the unit's side. Do the same for shorter shelf segments. Cover shelves with adhesive cork to prevent items from shifting, and install stemware holders to the underside of the shelf.

After: Supporting Role

A petite storage-desk combo works when office space is scarce. Smart organization and a consistent color scheme of gray and brass keep this open storage from looking cluttered. Stash and stow documents in style with felt pockets. Nailhead trim on the shelf edges gives a sophisticated metallic finish.

Before: Redesigned Display Case

An oversize bookshelf—made from two separate units—provided a space to showcase keepsakes and vintage books. A deep blue backdrop added depth but lacked one-of-a-kind character.


After: Redesigned Display Case

Formerly at home in the living room, one of the quirky bookshelves finds new life as a storage staple in the family's nursery. Fresh white paint and orange patterned wallpaper on the back of the bookcase update the unit. Colorful accessories emphasize the playful theme of the quirky reading nook.


Before: Handy Hutch

Gone are the days of big, bulky televisions, and so should be the giant armoires that housed them. Other than a few fashionable features, including crown molding and decorative panels, this dated design needed a complete overhaul.


After: Handy Hutch

To modernize the antiquated armoire, add shelves to the upper cabinet and replace the scalloped kickplate with a straight board. Finish with a coat of creamy yellow paint and shiny brass hardware. Bonus! An existing hole cut out of the back can be used to power up a charging station.


Guess what this entryway organizer started as? A bookcase! This amazing solution fits in even the smallest of entryway spaces and provides phenomenal storage. Watch and learn how you can recreate the storage system at home.

Turn a Bookcase into a Mudroom Organizer

Make over a bookcase into a do-it-all mudroom organizer with tips from this clever design.

Before: Built-In Library

Dark and drab, this custom wood shelving cried for help. A mirrored background and boring black surface made the room feel cluttered and cramped.


After: Built-In Library

Coated from head-to-toe in crisp white paint, the remodeled bookcase breathes new life. A gentle green background fills the unit and provides the perfect pop of color alongside sunny Roman shades. New floral-inspired hardware adorns lower cabinets, which retained their original grass-cloth wallpaper inserts. An adjustable library lamp provides soft display lighting above.


Before: Contemporary Concealment

Even though this bookcase is unfinished and bare, it features a strong profile and architectural details like crown molding and fluted trim, making it a perfect candidate for a makeover.

After: Contemporary Concealment

Pull the shade on unsightly essentials while showing off your organized storage bins. Start by giving the bookcase a rich color with a deep ebony gel stain finish. To create the handy shade, purchase a linen roller shade to fit in the width of the bookcase then install the hardware on the inside edges of the frame. Finish off the shade pull with a decorative finial or tassel.

Before: Drinks Cabinet

This old armoire, which was found at a garage sale, just needed a fresh coat of paint (and a new purpose) to give it a new life.

After: Drinks Cabinet

New lacquer-like paint, inside and out, was the first step to transform this armoire into a one-of-a-kind drink center. To make the most of the space, two wine racks snuggle below a piece of 1/4-inch-thick glass for a double-layered look.

Before: Country Cupboard

This bare bookcase was in desperate need of a makeover.

After: Country Cupboard

To transform this bookcase into a cupboard, add a pair of pretty shutters with a touch of country character. We ordered these cut-to-fit shutters from www.diyshutters.com. Or you can search your local home center. After sanding, priming, and painting the pieces, hang the shutters on the bookcase with cabinetry hinges. Top it off with a forge-iron shutter bolt to secure the doors closed.

Before: Laundry Station

After years of being the focus of the family room, this rundown entertainment center was converted into a handy laundry station.

After: Laundry Station

A bright new finish teamed with well-placed hooks and shelves gives new life to a has-been entertainment center. To make the laundry station even more efficient, a folded ironing board, mounted at just the right height, tucks away when not in use. Hang all the freshly ironed clothes on a clothing bar installed in the tallest section of the unit to keep shirts wrinkle-free. The bar doubles as a spot to drip-dry delicates.

Before: Cottage Cover-Up

Discount stores, flea markets, and garage sales are perfect places to find an unfinished bookcase that's ready to be transformed.

After: Cottage Cover-Up

With a pretty damask print in the background and a sassy skirt, this bookcase is given a cottage chic makeover with a feminine flair. To get this look, start by painting the case and shelves cream. Cover the back with a piece of wallpaper in a floral, toile, or damask pattern. Just remember to keep the pattern simple so it doesn't take away from the items you are showcasing in the bookcase.

Before: Easy Makeover

This dated knotty-pine armoire had good bones but it needed a serious makeover.

After: Easy Makeover

Covered in chocolate with soft-white glossy enamel doors, it's now the focal point of the room. Large brown knobs, which replaced the barely noticeable hardware, complete the transformation.

Before: Swedish Style

This ordinary bookshelf was turned into the perfect spot for display china.

After: Swedish Style

A weathered sage-green finish, coordinating fabric panels over the lower shelves, and doilies lining the shelf fronts make this repurposed bookshelf an appealing focal point in any dining room. To get the weathered finish, start by priming the wood. Then apply a base coat of cream acrylic paint. After the paint dries, rub a wax candle on the edges and sides of the bookcase frame. Paint the bookshelves with a sage-green semigloss acrylic using a dry brush to create an imperfect finish.

Put a personal spin on an off-the-shelf bookcase with these easy DIY makeover ideas.

Basic Made Better

Watch and see how a plain bookcase became a customized after.

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