10 Novel DIYs for a Better Bookshelf

Accumulated over time and filled with memories, your personal library is a lot like your circle of friends. So, to treat your favorite reads right, upgrade your bookshelves with these brilliant DIY tricks and transformations.

By Debra Immergut | Updated Apr 26, 2016 12:19 PM

Aim High

Tall Bookshelves

For the look of custom built-ins at a fraction of the cost, opt for bookcases that climb as close to your ceiling as possible. This clean-lined set neatly fills its allotted space; a mix of glass-enclosed and open shelving keeps it interesting.

Related: 11 Totally Unexpected Uses for IKEA Furniture


Let There Be Light

Living Room Design Ideas

Quit fumbling in the dark for your favorite read with this luxury addition: classic brass picture lights. Installing these to the tops of your built-ins illuminate the contents of the shelves and adds color contrast to the rest of the room's deep hues.

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Play Dress Up

Decorating Bookshelves

Up the style quotient of a standard shelf by adding rich color or pattern to its interior. Here, cheery polka-dot adhesive shelf paper was applied to the inside of a thrifted bookcase, but you can achieve similar results with a little paint, scrap wallpaper, or fabric just as easily.

Related: 10 Insanely Creative Shelves You Can DIY


Add Architecture

Homemade Bookshelf

Bored of plain white laminate bookcases? Transform a row of them into more of a refined old-world library. These DIY genius side-by-side units are unified with strips of flat molding, then finished with simple arches cut from MDF.

Related: 9 Space-Smart Ways to Fit Two Rooms in One


Trim it With Tape

Decorating with Washi Tape

For a super-fast way to add color and personality to utilitarian shelving, sticks strips of patterned washi tape to the shelf edges. Add a dab of white glue to keep it well-adhered.

Related: 10 Ways to Give Furniture a Fast Facelift


Give it a Leg Up

DIY Bookshelf

Give a little bookcase a major lift by outfitting it with new legs! This piece used to be a nightstand with drawers, but was repurposed and raised to provide necessary storage for bedtime reads. Take a page out of the DIYer's book by boosting charm with a coat of fresh paint in a cheery color.

Related: Beyond Ikea - 10 Other Places to Get Affordable Furniture


Contain the Clutter

How to Declutter

Of course, a bookcase often holds much more than books. To keep papers, supplies, tools, toys, and any other clutter out of sight but still neatly at hand, pick up a set of attractive baskets in quiet shades.

Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose


Hide the Extras

DIY Bookends

To support a line of books with minimal fuss, try this fool-the-eye solution: Simply tuck your thin metal bookend between the sturdy cover and pages of whatever read caps a row in your collection. Or, craft bookends that fully blend in by removing all pages from an old hardcover and replacing them with a wooden block and thin metal bookend glued between the covers. When placed at the end of a row, it makes the books seems like they’re standing at attention all on their own.

Related: 10 Surprisingly Simple Woodworking Projects for Beginners


Chase the Rainbow

How to Organize a Bookshelf

A bookcase arranged by color reduces visual noise and turns even a crowded library into a work of art. If you don’t have a sharp visual memory, you may find it a little more difficult to locate specific titles, but the setup works especially well for favorite old tales you can't part with—plus the eye-pleasing pay-off makes it all worthwhile.

Related: 10 Ways to Organize Your Home with Color

Flickr via seeminglee

Label with Love

How to Stay Organized

To help a family library stay organized, consider sticking color-coded labels to the book spines. The colors brighten up the shelf and make it easy for kids to re-shelve their reads in the proper spot.

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