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Topic Making particleboard bookcases look nice Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By bookish On 03/28/04  

I am moving to a new place and my parents are giving me some old white particle board bookcases. I would really love built in bookcases, but since that is not an option, how can I make these look good? I am going to be moving into a place with hardwood floors, so I want them to look good with that. thanks for your help.

By Katrin On 03/28/04  

For starters, don't try to make them look like real wood or anything higher-end than they are. It doesn't work.

I suggest painting them to match a prominent color in the room. If you're allowed to paint your walls something other than white, use the same paint on the bookcases - that will make them look more "built-in". Otherwise match them to your furniture or decor. Or just plain black looks cleaner and less cheap than white.

You don't have to use just one solid color either. You could paint them a base color, then splatter a couple of contrasting colors onto them, Jackson Pollock style. (I once turned several unmatched pieces of furniture into a "set" that way.) Or do a sort of faux-finish look with sponges. Or even paint a little mural on the sides that show.

Have fun with your new place! Let us know how the decorating goes!

By knitwitless On 03/28/04  

I cut an old sheet to make "doors" for an ugly shelving unit I have. It is attached with Velcro and looks pretty snazzy. It was pretty easy measured the shelves and added an inch or so for seam allowances and fiddle room. I cut the sheet so that it would fit and cut it off middle to make an opening. I seamed the sheet to make clean edges and then attached Velcro to the shelves and the sheet. Because the flaps overlap I have Velcro attaching the sheets as well. Nice and neat.

By seedcake On 03/28/04  

you can do like they always do on tv, paint the back panel of the shelves a different colour, and then the outside the same colour as your walls. then the shelves become decorative, especially if you use shorter books, or arrange them both vertically and horizontally...

By invisilurker On 03/29/04  

I second painting them black..personally I think the whole..spatter paint thing looks ugly..BUT, that's just me. Everyone loves diff stuff, so do what you like.
I think it would be cool to do the black, and then find a nice fabric panel for the front if you want a curtain on it.

By ellaspink On 03/29/04  

Oooh! Ooooh! I can't even tell you how excited I am to see this post, because I'm planning a similar bookshelf makeover in the near future (plan to post the whole thing on my website eventually).

This is my plan:

Paint the exterior of the bookshelves a very neutral color (was thinking either black, a nice goldeny/tan color, or off-white) and then paint the interior of the shelves a contrasting color (like a nice light turquoisy color...this looks really good together in my head, trust me).

But here is the thing that will really make them look nice: crown moulding.

Cap the tops of the shelves with crown moulding similar to this:

Which gives it the nice built-in look that you see selling for so much money at places like pottery barn.

This is a poor example of what I'm talking about, but it gives you the general idea:

You can also add thin strips of a flat decorative moulding to the front edges of the shelves (for the moulding, I was thinking something like Martha used for this frame, but a much thinner version):

And you can add bun feet or other decorative legs (moulding and decorative feet are usually sold in the same vicinity of your local hardware store...or at least they are in my area).

I hope this helps, and as soon as I'm done with mine, I will post pics!!

By nicegirl512 On 03/29/04  

If they're really cheap with the wood grain "sticker" that you can't paint over, contact paper comes to the rescue. I bought a hideous TV cart from someone who was moving, it was particleboard with the wood grain sticker that was all cracked and ripping off. I covered it in a marble print contact paper and it looked great! Going from dark fake wood to the light/pastel color of the contact paper made a huge difference. It depends on the use your shelves will be put to, because contact paper can get torn with heavy use and you're back where you started. On the other hand, it's easy to repair, just put a new piece of contact paper over it (which is why I recommend the marbled paper or some other abstraction rather than a geometric pattern of flowers).

By spinnin_wheel On 03/29/04  

I decoupaged mine with ripped up brown paper bag. I also did a dresser with white paper bag.
It looks a lot like bark, I think.

By alisona7 On 03/29/04  

I used painting canvases to make doors for a white particle board bookcase I had. The instructions are here:>;action=display;threadid=4325;start=msg32382#msg32382

By chicsinger On 03/30/04  

I wrapped mine in marblized wallpaper close to the wall color and was quite pleased. Good luck!

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