Bookcase Gets a Pop of Color

So I have this bookcase. It was a display model from Pier I several years ago, and it has served me well, but the monochrome black has been falling a little flat. I felt some color in the background would showcase the books, photos, and tchotchke much better. I considered painting the inside of the bookcase, but although the frame and shelves are solid wood, the back is that cardboard-covered-with-contact-paper mess which would likely bubble if painted. I thought about wallpaper, but it was an idea that had to percolate for a while…until I took that little tour at Spoonflower a couple weeks ago (see this post). I browsed, I ordered, and the wallpaper arrived in a tube in less than a week.

Spoonflower shipping tube
Grace thought it was a measuring stick to see how much she’s grown.

Here’s a look at the bookcase in its natural state.

Pier I black bookcase before photo
Pretty, but missing something.
Pier I black bookcase with tchotchke
Everything seems to be floating in an abyss.

So I removed the back of the bookcase, prepped the surface (cleaned it), and got my work area ready on the kitchen floor. The wallpaper is activated just like we did decades ago by dipping it in water and “booking” it for 3 to 5 minutes. You then apply it from the top down while smoothing with a damp sponge to get any air bubbles. It dried for 3 hours, and then I reattached the now-wallpapered back onto the bookcase.


I removed back panels of bookcase
I removed the back panels of the bookcase.
Back panels of bookcase are templates to cut wallpaper
The two back panels are used as the templates to cut the wallpaper.
Reattaching wallpapered back panels to bookcase
I reattached the panels and trimmed excess wallpaper.


Black bookcase with aqua print wallpaper back
I love the color and the pattern. It’s called Patchwork Gypsy Nautical.

Here are a few shots after everything was put back on the shelves.

Colorful books in front of blue background
Things are no longer floating in a sea of darkness.
Photo and books in front of blue background
The depth is even more pronounced in the evening light.
Bookcase with wallpapered back
The finished product. I love it!

This is probably the first project, ever, that didn’t take at least double the time I estimated. I did this in about 4 hours (3 of which were drying time). Not bad for a half day’s work on a blustery Sunday. The bonus is that if when I tire of it, I should be able to peel the paper off and wipe the surface clean. I’ll let you know. What fun projects are on your list?