Update the Look Behind Your Books {9 Easy Ideas}

Not long ago, I posted a picture on Facebook of a bookcase that caught my eye.  I’ve seen furniture pieces like this one before, but it was the update to the back panel that completely transformed the look of this piece!

Blue Cabinet

Updating the back panel of a bookcase is an easy way to bring color, texture and personality to a piece of furniture.  It can add dimension and interest regardless of whether you choose something subtle or choose something bold!  Here are 9 easy ways that you can transform the back of an existing bookcase to create a custom look.



1.  Paint

A little paint can go a long way in terms of changing the look of a bookcase!  You can choose to use your room’s accent color for a bold look or for a more subtle effect, try a couple of shades darker than your wall color.

{via Accoutrements}

{via Accoutrements}


{via Pinterest}

{via Pinterest}


2. Wallpaper

Wallpaper has made quite the comeback recently and if you’re not ready to paper an entire wall, consider using it to cover just the back of your bookcase to make a statement backdrop for your accessories.


3. Grasscloth

A type of wallpaper, grasscloth is often a bit more subdued but much more textural.


4. Burlap

Kris from Driven by Decor has a wonderful tutorial for adding burlap to the back of a bookcase.  I especially love the exposed upholstery tacks used to secure it!

Burlap Back Bookcase


5. Beadboard

If the back panel of your bookcase can be removed, you can easily swap it out for beadboard.  Whether you leave it white or paint it, it adds character and charm to the look of an ordinary bookcase.


6. Fabric

Like wallpaper, fabric can be used to dress up the look of a back panel.  There is a great tutorial on how to apply fabric to a bookcase {here}.

{via Marika Meyer at the DC Design House}

{via Marika Meyer at the DC Design House}


7. Stencils

Use a favorite stencil to create a pattern on the back panel.  For added dimension, consider using a metallic paint.



Paper options are limitless, whether you use wrapping paper, sheet music, scrapbooking paper, old love letters, etc.  Your favorite paper can easily be decoupaged onto the back panel for an instant update!


9. Chalkboard

Chalkboard paint is a fun way to dress up a kids bedroom, a playroom, or even a kitchen!


Bonus: Open Back

Even if your bookcase has an open back, you can still update the wall behind to simulate a back panel and create a unique look!

{via Pinterest}

{via Pinterest}



This Spring, as you’re looking for ways to update your “nest” and add pops of color, consider updating the back of your bookcase to transform the ordinary into extraordinary.  Coordinate the back with your accessories to better frame the items on your shelves and make them stand out.
Tidbits&Twine - Signature




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4 comments on Update the Look Behind Your Books {9 Easy Ideas}

  1. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life
    March 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM (4 years ago)

    Fabulous inspiration. I put beadboard in mine and it looks fabulous. Hugs, marty

    • Tidbits&Twine
      March 11, 2014 at 7:46 AM (4 years ago)

      I love the look of beadboard, especially on bookcases. :) Kim

  2. Pinky at Designs by Pinky
    March 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM (4 years ago)

    My hubby built 2 LARGE bookcases at our old house, bit with open backs. In the one room we painted the wall it was on black. It was fabulous and made everything on the shelves just POP!!! I loved it.

    • Tidbits&Twine
      March 11, 2014 at 7:45 AM (4 years ago)

      That sounds gorgeous!


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