Painted Wooden Bookshelves – Easy Home Decor Project

At least one set of painted wooden bookshelves is a must in most homes. For this project, I will show you how I took a humble, worn bookcase and spruced it up with bright colors for my daughter’s bedroom. Let me first clarify that personally, I favor the rustic, natural appearance of wooden furniture. However, I wanted to create a more vibrant, youthful color combination that would match the fabrics of her curtains, pillows, and other bedroom decor.

Turn your antique bookshelf unit into a bright painted piece. Come visit us to see how it is done.



  • Existing or unfinished bookshelf unit
  • White paint (flat or gloss)
  • Acrylic paint (I used Crafter’s Edition Magenta and Orange)
  • Paintbrush



Make sure that the bookshelf unit is clean and free of debris. If the bookcase already has a finish on it, a damp, clean rag will be adequate. If the bookcase is unfinished, water in not recommended. Just use a dry, clean cloth. You may choose to sand and prime your shelving unit before painting.

This shows the bookshelf unit with a brown stain finish. As you can see there are many scratch marks and signs of wear.


Using the paintbrush, apply paint to the bookshelf unit. I used white on the outside base. I then painted the top and bottom shelves magenta. This magenta actually appears as a bright, lovely shade of pink. Since the fabrics in the bedroom have pinks and oranges, I painted the middle shelf orange.

The bookcase painted with magenta and orange paint.


Allow the bookshelf unit to dry.  Once you are pleased, it’s time to fill it up. Since this was for my daughter’s bedroom, I stocked the shelves with books and stuffed animals. You can arrange anything you want on your beautiful, freshly-painted bookcase.

Arrange the books on the painted wooden bookshelf unit.


Painted Wooden Bookshelves Conclusion:

This project was easy, and the paint colors coordinate well with many bright, colorful fabrics. You may opt for a second or even a third coat of paint. This will be completely up to you, depending on your preference and how much time you want to put into this project. Do you need it completed for a special surprise gift? Or, do you only have a weekend to get it done? Even if you have no time limit for this project, are you certain it really needs more than one coat? Of course, another important  factor to consider is how much paint you actually have available. I hope this simple project has inspired you to try it out yourself!







Posted in DIY Projects, Home Decor Crafts.

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