White Ikea bookcase makeover

Ikea Bookcase Makeover with Wallpaper and Paint

| |


I went to the Haven Conference at the beginning of the month (which was fantastic, by the way) and had the opportunity to take a painting class with Marian of Miss Mustard Seed and Shaunna of Imperfectly Perfect. This has led to a furniture painting frenzy over the past few weeks. I also picked up some gorgeous balusters that I’m using to make a table for the living room.

So while I’m in the process of making the table, I wanted to show you guys a living room project from my pre-blogging days, an Ikea bookcase makeover with wallpaper and paint.

White Ikea bookcase makeover


This was our living room back in 2006. It really needed more storage so racked my brain for months on how I could add built-ins on both sides of the fireplace.


Then came along Ikea’s Lack bookcases at a bargain price of $99.00 each. It was a close tie between the Lack and the Billy bookcases, but these were just what I was looking for.

The Lack bookshelves are 15″ deep, about 41.5″ wide, chunky, sturdy…perfect for either side of our fireplace.

At the time, my design style was all about being warm, cozy, masculine and more on the modern side so I went with the espresso finish. Looking back, I wish I had gone with the other option and bought the white ones.

Ikea Lack Bookcases before
Great bookshelves, but they made that end of the room feel heavy and dark.

Materials used to give the laminate Ikea Bookcases a makeover:

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • *Oil-based paint- see my note at the end of the post about using oil-based paint
  • Tempered hardboard
  • Wallpaper glue
  • Grasscloth wallpaper
  • Jigsaw

So, instead of ditching my cheapo laminate bookshelves, I sanded, painted them with primer and  2 coats of oil-based white paint.

I had the guys at the home improvement store cut down a sheet of tempered hardboard to fit the backs of both bookcases.

Then, I made holes for the wall outlets and electronics with a jigsaw and hole saw drill bit.

After that, I primed and wallpapered the hardboard using a shimmery, metallic grasscloth wallpaper. I ran the wallpaper on the horizontal instead of the vertical so I wouldn’t have a seam running down the center of the bookcases. To protect the wallpaper from dirt and dust, I gave it a coat of non-yellowing polyurethane.

Here are the holes I cut out for the bookcase on the right side of the fireplace that holds the stereo and DVR.


To the left of this bookcase, you can see the mantle that hides the wires that run from the TV. By the way, we don’t use the fireplace, so we don’t have to worry about the heat damaging the wires or TV.

White Ikea Bookshelves and Ikea lightsThe holes in the bookcase on the left side of the fireplace are hidden with shelving items such as a picture and a crate turned on its side.
White Ikea bookshelves
how to hide cords in a bookcase
Ikea recently discontinued the Lack bookcases, but Ana White shows how you can build one for about $30.00 in this tutorial.
Ikea Lack Bookcase plans by Ana White
And just so you can see what a difference paint and grasscloth wallpaper made for our Ikea bookcases, I’ll give you some more before and after pictures:
Ikea bookcase before
Ikea-bookcase-makeoverIkea Lack Bookcases before

White Ikea bookcases makeover

TIP: If I had to paint the bookcases again, I would choose latex instead of oil-based paint. Oil-based paint tends to yellow over time and that’s exactly what’s happening to my bookcases. 🙁

I’ll be back later this week to show you some before and after pictures from when we opened up our living room to our adjacent kitchen!
Tricia signature

Makeover Ikea bookshelves with wallpaper and paint

Love grasscloth? I also put grasscloth wallpaper up in our hallway above the board and batten back in the spring. Click the photo below to see the details.

board and batten hallway with gallery shelves

Similar Posts


  1. Around 3 pm, Easter time is actually the most
    effective time to make a reservation for the inexpensive tickets online.

    Places like Safeway and Wal-Mart have an unit that may put the cover of your
    book right onto the birthday cake. He has a couple of children,
    an other half that your real partner in life, and had actually
    worked his method to billion buck provider, the Chief Executive
    Officer of KPMG.

  2. They look stunning now Tricia – the backing is so pretty with its soft colour and texture. And the whole room looks awesome with your fab board and batten! What a transformation over the past few years:)

    1. Glad you like it, Krista! I showed my husband the before pictures the other day and his words were, “Is that our house?”. Even my husband that doesn’t notice change can’t believe the difference. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you’re in the grasscloth fan club too! If only it wasn’t such a pain to hang up on the walls, I’d have it everywhere.

  3. Your bookshelves look great. I like the black LETTERS box on the top shelf. Is it metal or what, & where did you find it?

      1. Hi Tricia, Thank you so much for the info. I just placed an order for mine-it is on back order, but I should receive in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait!

  4. I am loving what you have done – it looks like a completely different room – oh the joys of white paint and gorgeous wallpaper!

    1. Thanks so much, Petra! Yes, I do love what a little paint and wallpaper can make. This project is what helped me get over my wallpaper-a-phobia!

  5. it was worth the wait! you have inspired me to do something similar on the boring wall next to my fireplace because I desperately need attractive storage for my books!

  6. I love how your bookshelves turned out. I was wondering what you use for the shelf under your TV. I am looking for a way to hide my TV cords.

    1. Thanks, Glenda! I took some pictures and I’ll email you later tonight to show you how I hide the cords.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.