“I used my bookshelf as a nightstand, a vanity, a place to hold all my school supplies in my tiny dorm room. It was a place for everything. But I think bookshelves are very bland and simple and they could easily be beautified.”
– Elise Kiland, Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering Junior
Bookshelves are wonderful means of organization, but unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars somewhere like Pottery Barn, they’re not particularly pretty to look at. This tutorial will show you how to take an ordinary bookshelf and turn it into a piece of statement furniture.
Bookshelves are a staple of college dorm rooms – probably because they are generally inexpensive, they save loads of space, and they are great for storage. Because they are under $50, bookshelves like this one from Target and this one from Wal Mart are typical dorm room buys. Jennifer Dragan, a Barnes & Noble Bookseller, is constantly surrounded by bookshelves in her workplace. She owns the Target bookshelf and says:
“As someone who loves books and wanted to fill my college ‘home-away-from-home’ with them, the Target bookshelf was really cheap and the dark oak finish that I have makes me feel like I’m in my own private library. It looks really nice and it’s quite functional.”
This tutorial will use the bookshelf from Target mentioned above. Currently, it’s on sale for $26, making one of the least expensive 5-shelf bookcases available nationwide.
What You Need:
Here We Go!
Step 1: Take the shelves off of the bookshelf and set them aside.
Step 2: Cut a piece of the paintable wallpaper to the approximate height of the bookshelf (longer is better than shorter).
Step 3: Use spray adhesive to adhere the strip of paintable wallpaper to one side of the bookcase. Line up the edge of the wallpaper with the front of the bookcase. There will be leftover wallpaper hanging off of the back.
Step 4: Using scissors, carefully cut off the excess wallpaper from the back of the bookcase.
Step 5: Repeat this process with the other side of the bookcase and the top. Make sure the edges are glued down, touching up with the spray adhesive as you go.
Step 6: Tape off the front edges of the bookcase with painter’s tape so the paint doesn’t get onto the front of the cabinet.
Step 7: Paint the wallpaper in the color of your choice using the cabinet foam roller. Note: The paintable wallpaper has a spongy texture and soaks up the paint. Be liberal with your paint. You may need to do two or three coats to get maximum coverage.
Step 8: Let the paint dry and remove the painter’s tape.
Step 9: Cut strips of contact paper to the approximate width of the inside back of the bookcase. (Again, too long is better than too short.)
Step 10: Adhere the contact paper to the back of the cabinet using spray adhesive. There will be excess on either side of the cabinet.
Step 11: Using scissors, carefully cut off the excess contact paper so that it is the exact width of the back of the bookcase. Go back and make sure all edges are glued down, touching up with spray adhesive as you go.
Step 12: Repeat until the inside back is covered with strips of contact paper.
Step 13: Replace the shelves and add your favorite books and decorations to them.
Easy as 1, 2…13 !
“As a freshman living in the dorms, being organized is one of the key factors in being successful. Bookshelves are a great way to accomplish organization. They allow you to see everything, while also allowing you to make organizing fun by cutely arranging your books, notebooks, and binders!”
– Katy Hovious, Cal Poly Business Freshman
Tips, Tricks, and Advice:
- If you can find contact paper that already has an adhesive backing, you will save yourself half of the work. The contact paper linked in the “What You Need” section above is already adhesive.
- You do not need contact paper to add color to the back of your bookshelf. Think outside the box and get creative. You could use: gift wrap with a fun pattern, your favorite posters, wallpaper, scrapbooking paper, fabric. The possibilities are endless!
- The paintable wallpaper on the outside of the bookcase adds great texture, but if you’re in a time or budget bind, opt to just add some color to the inside of the bookcase. This will draw people’s eye to what is displayed on the shelves.