How to Paint a Bookcase

Painting a bookcase can transform it into a piece of art that you will be proud to display in your home! With the right materials and techniques, anyone can turn an ordinary bookcase into a stunning showpiece.

How to Paint a Bookcase

Whether you’re looking for something subtle or bold – this guide will take you through everything to need to know about painting bookcases like professionals do. From prepping surfaces and choosing colors, to priming, sanding and top-coating; follow these simple steps at any time for beautiful results!

Giving a tired old bookcase an exciting new look can be both easy and incredibly rewarding! Painting a piece of furniture is a great way to make your home truly feel like yours. Whether you’re aiming for chic sophistication or rustic charm, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of painting it yourself.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to paint a bookcase– so put on some comfortable clothes and get ready to transform that boring furniture into something extraordinary!

Why May You Want to Paint a Bookcase?

1 . To Revive an Old Bookcase

If you have an old bookcase that’s been sitting in your home for years, painting it can give it a fresh, new look and make it feel like new. With the right color choice, you can also turn it into a statement piece that adds character to any room.

2 . To Match Your Decor

Sometimes, we find the perfect bookcase for our home, but it doesn’t quite match the rest of our decor. Painting a bookcase can be an easy and affordable solution to make it fit seamlessly into your space.

3 . To Create a Focal Point

Bookcases often blend in with their surroundings, but painting them with a bold color can turn them into a focal point in the room. It can draw attention to your book collection or showcase special items you want to display.

4 . To Protect the Bookcase

Painting a bookcase not only gives it a new look, but it also protects the wood from wear and tear over time. The right type of paint can create a durable, protective layer that will keep your bookcase looking new for years to come.

5 . To Personalize It

Why settle for a generic bookcase when you can make it your own? Painting allows you to add your personal touch and express your creativity. You can choose colors, patterns, or even paint quotes or designs on the bookcase to make it unique.

Sanding Down Any Rough Spots

How to Paint a Bookcase in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather All The Tools

The very first step is to gather all the necessary tools for painting a bookcase. These include but are not limited to, sandpaper, primer, paint brushes, painter’s tape, and most importantly, the paint of your choice. Make sure that you have all these items on hand before you begin.

Step 2: Prepare The Bookcase

Before starting to paint the bookcase, it is important to prepare the surface. This includes sanding down any rough spots and wiping away any dust or debris. If there are any knots or blemishes on the bookcase, fill them in with wood filler and let it dry before sanding again.

Step 3: Prime The Bookcase

Priming the bookcase is an essential step as it helps the paint adhere better and also covers up any imperfections on the surface. Using a brush or roller, apply a coat of primer evenly on the bookcase and let it dry completely.

Step 4: Choose The Right Paint

When it comes to painting a bookcase, there are multiple options available. You can choose from oil-based or water-based paints, depending on your preference and the type of bookcase. Oil-based paints provide a more durable finish, while water-based paints are easier to clean up.

Step 5: Paint The Bookcase

Oil-based Paints Provide a More Durable Finish

Using a paintbrush or roller, start painting the bookcase in smooth and even strokes. If you are using multiple coats, make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next one. This will ensure a smooth and even finish.

Step 6: Let The Bookcase Dry

After you have applied the final coat of paint, let the bookcase dry completely before moving it back to its original location or adding any finishing touches. It is important to follow the instructions on the paint can regarding drying time, as some paints may require longer drying times.

Some Other Ways to Paint a Bookcase

1 . Do Not Be Afraid to Get Creative

While a solid color may be the go-to option for painting a bookcase, do not be afraid to get creative. You can use stencils or tape to create patterns or designs on your bookcase, giving it a unique and personalized touch.

2 . Consider The Room’s Aesthetic

When choosing the paint color for your bookcase, consider the overall aesthetic of the room. You want the bookcase to complement the rest of the decor and not clash with it.

3 . Try a Two-Tone Look

For a more modern and stylish look, consider painting your bookcase in two different colors. You can paint the inside and outside in different shades or use one color for the back panel and another for the rest of the bookcase.

You Can Use Stencils

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take Before Painting My Bookcase?

Before painting your bookcase, it is important to take some precautions to ensure that the paint adheres properly and the final result is long-lasting. Some of these precautions include: Removing any existing paint or finish.If your bookcase has been previously painted or finished, it is important to remove the old layer before applying a new one. This can be done by sanding the surface or using a chemical paint stripper.

Cleaning and sanding the surface. Next, clean the bookcase thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt or debris that may affect the paint’s adhesion. Then, use sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of your bookcase. This will create a rough texture that will help the paint stick better.

Can I Paint Over Varnished or Stained Bookcase?

Yes, you can paint over a varnished or stained bookcase. However, it is important to follow the proper steps for prepping the surface before painting. This includes removing any previous finishes, cleaning and sanding the surface, and using a primer before applying the paint.

What Type of Paint Should I Use?

It is recommended to use high-quality latex or acrylic paint for painting your bookcase. These types of paints are durable, easy to clean, and have a wide range of color options. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are also ideal for furniture as they can withstand wear and tear.

Do I Need to Use a Primer?

Using a primer is highly recommended before painting your bookcase. This will help the paint adhere better to the surface and ensure a smooth and even finish. It can also cover any imperfections on the surface and prevent stains from bleeding through.

How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need?

The number of coats needed depends on the type and color of paint you are using, as well as the desired coverage. It is recommended to apply at least two coats of paint for a solid and even finish. However, you may need more coats if using a lighter color or painting over a darker surface.

Using a Primer is Highly Recommended

Can I Paint the Inside of the Bookcase?

Yes, you can paint the inside of your bookcase if desired. This will add a pop of color and give your bookcase a more cohesive and finished look. Just remember to follow the same steps for prepping and painting the inside as you did for the outside.

How Do I Ensure a Smooth Finish?

To achieve a smooth finish, it is important to use high-quality paint, apply thin coats, and use a quality brush or roller. You can also lightly sand between coats to remove any bumps or imperfections. Lastly, make sure to paint in a well-ventilated area and avoid painting in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

How Long Should I Wait Before Putting Items Back on the Bookcase?

It is recommended to wait at least 24 hours before placing items back on your painted bookcase. This will allow enough time for the paint to fully dry and cure, ensuring a durable and long-lasting finish. Keep in mind that it may take longer for the paint to fully cure, so avoid placing heavy or sharp objects on the bookcase for at least a few days.


Painting furniture is not only a great way to modernize and transform existing pieces in your home, it can also add personal flair that makes your living space unique and really reflect who you are. Not to mention, it’s also a great therapeutic activity too.

Now you know how to paint a bookcase! With the skills outlined in this blog post, you now have the know-how to tackle any other home decorating project you might have in mind. Painted furniture can be an amazing addition to any room while simultaneously serving as a conversation piece – so what are you waiting for? Get painting and show off your new masterpiece!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

Leave a Comment