Painting paneling behind bookshelves
Heather M
May 10, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Just moved. New place has some rather dated bookshelves that are backed with paneling that I'm not yet ready to replace ($$). Painting the room a gold color has helped to make them look a little less dark (the room was a very cool grey color) but I'm still not content. I've been thinking about painting the paneling behind the shelves a cream color and leaving the shelves dark. Thoughts? Any other ideas to update them?
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decoenthusiaste
I 'd paint the backs another shade from the same paint strip where you found the wall paint. Then style them with 1/3 books, 1/3 decor items and 1/3 open space. Thin out the items on the mantel. Mirrors should be beautiful or interesting or reflect something that is. Ceiling fans and ceilings don't count. Before you paint, try restyling the entire FP and bookshelf area - it might be better with the decor properly re-designed and augmented to add some life to the shelves. You might want to eliminate the curvy top trim piece for crown molding that trims out the bookcases and finishes your walls.
6 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 4:08PM
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charleee
I would paint those puppies in a heartbeat! Can you imagine how that will lighten up the whole room? I like deco's idea of another shade from the same paint strip, or, you could have the gold wall paint reduced by 50%.
3 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Heather M
Yes, everything on the mantle and on the shelves is just kind of thrown up there for now since I knew I wasn't yet satisfied. I was experimenting with the mirrors for light--I have south-facing windows in the room but the windows are shaded on the outside by a patio overhang. Would love to remove the top curvy piece, but wouldn't it look odd to remove it? As for paint color, how much lighter would you go?
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Heather M
(Gold color on walls is SW Empire Gold.)
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Sharon


This is the reverse of what you are thinking, frames painted not shelves, but its similar with the layout, just for inspiration.
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Sharon
8 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Sharon
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 5:21PM
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ReMax - Lisa
I would suggest painting the shelves and the backing in the BM cloud white which can tie in with all your trim work. Also agree that the top scalloped price should come off.
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
As an interior decorator I say definitely paint it!! Do the shelving a light cream, You could bring your lamp shade to the paint store for a match. If you really want to get artistic .... paint the back boards an accent color...you could pick up the greys in your couch or do somethig interesting like on the shelves in these pictures. The last picture shows some ideas of how to decorate the shelves... I know you havent got that far yet but I thought you would like these ideas.
Farinelli Construction Inc
Home Library
Living Room
4 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Heather M
Thanks to all of you for the great ideas and inspiration pics. Down the road, I'd like to add baseboards and crown moldings--but haven't decided if I want to go with a darker, stained wood or cream yet. I'm leaning toward stained wood, so I think I'm going to leave the shelves dark for now. Although, I have seen a few pictures with a mix of white trim and stained wood that I like.
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 6:30PM
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Jocelyn wishlist
I would remove all of the shelves and paint the wood.
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 6:41PM
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mkmort
Take some poster board, cut to size of the back of the shelves paint it or cover with material and push into the back of shelves. Easy temp fix to see if you like it and easy to change if you don't.
3 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Heather M
Too late! I'm already painting the wall behind. I don't tend to mess around. :)
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 8:07PM
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ASVInteriors
wow you're fast! I was also going to recommend adding wallpaper behind... but the horse has left the gate!
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Heather M
Wallpaper seems like it would be a big job--and on paneling? Would that work?
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 10:02PM
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Heather M
Ok, left side has one coat done. It's not totally dry. Hoping it dries just a little darker. I'm not totally sold, but it's better.
9 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 10:05PM
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ASVInteriors
Well, it certainly lightens the room! Once you have contrasting objects in front of it it will look great!
5 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 4:39AM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
Keep going...2 or 3 coats might make all the difference. Then decide...you may want to paint out the shelves and the wood above the mantle if you don't like just the back done. I love wood too. But there are some situations where paint looks better. I do think it brightens the room though. Try finishing the panels...then set it up with your things...you may love it ...keep us posted
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 4:48AM
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handymam
I think it looks better already. Maybe you could add some drywall over the part with the diagaonal wood only. It would give you a nicer cleaner backdrop for the mantle top "stuff" you will want to display.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 5:13AM
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tcufrog
I would like the diagonal wood above the mantle except that for some reason the former home owners chose a fireplace tile that matches the wood.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 5:50AM
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Heather M
Yes, over time, I'd really like to re-do the wall completely. The tile on the fireplace is weird, the paneling is too country-looking for my taste, and the fireplace itself needs updating. BUT...before we moved in, we did some minor renovation in another area of the house (turned out awesome) so I'm just trying to make this livable.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 6:06AM
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Heather M
Morning after... It's too white. If I keep it painted, I will need to tone it down. The idea of wallpaper is growing on me, but I'm not sure how that would work over paneling. Also, these shelves don't come down, so I'd have to cut wallpaper to fit each of the levels. Anyone have experience in this area?
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 6:11AM
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ASVInteriors
Hi Heather - one last gasp - wait 24 hours, paint darkens as it dries.

For wallpaper, It is tricky but you can do it.

First of all there is now peel on wallpaper which is so MUCH easier. You will have to Google it as I only found it out on Houzz recently and haven't used it myself. You will need a large board to cut the paper, a right angle and ruler. Basically take measurements, ensure the right angles are indeed right angles. and then cut the panels and stick them on.

5 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 6:48AM
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decofriend
Could you post another pic? I do not understand what is too white?
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 6:53AM
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handymam
Think of the white as a primer coat then, which its what you should have started with btw, and if it is simply too white, choose an ivory or cream or a different white.
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:05AM
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jg
I would replace the shelf backs with a brown smoked mirror glass to reflect the room and open up the wall,you don't need all that schoolroom bookshelf stuff it looks like a pub!
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:08AM
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Heather M
Sure thing. Here's another pic--with my dog saying good morning. It's hard to get a good pic. The walls are darker gold than they appear.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:08AM
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ASVInteriors
I agree with Handymam, I am looking at your carpet and it has richer warmer colours, tonally there is a clash going on - too white too harsh.
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:11AM
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handymam
Needs to be wrmer, like your floor. Maybe even a very light golden white.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:12AM
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Heather M
Close up so you can see the paneling.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Heather M
Agreed. Must be warmer. I was going with advice to use the paint strip I used for the walls, only lighter. I guess I went too far!
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:14AM
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HERE Design and Architecture
Painting the backs of shelves is something I do pretty frequently. I always use either a saturated color or a dark one. This balances visually with the items in the shelves, and makes it so that they can even be kind of messy and full and still look good.
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:20AM
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collettec
I would paint the back of the bookshelves the same color as the walls. This is too white.
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:20AM
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soberg
Diagonal boards must be ripped out.

The whole bookshelf wall is overwhelming and it makes the fireplace look and feel little and squashed. Do you really need so many shelves? If not, then please consider removing shelves completely. You can then reface the fireplace with a more attractive material and make the outside dimension wider so it looks more appropriately scaled.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:27AM
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1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:28AM
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Interior Analysis
Simple fix - just get thin plywood cut it the size of the shelves and rap them with fabric what ever you like. It will perk it up without spending money.
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 7:28AM
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Heather M
For those of you who may have missed earlier posts, this is an interim effort to make the space do-able. We don't have the funds currently to re-do the wall, which is what I will ultimately do down the road.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:29AM
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Heather M
So I'm finding online articles that suggest wall liner to cover paneling. Sounds like it's a super thick wallpaper that is paintable (or then I could wallpaper over). Has anyone used this product? Would so love to make the paneling disappear.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:45AM
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Interior Analysis
check out my earlier suggestion cheap and easy and you can do it yourself
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 7:49AM
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decofriend
Hi Heather, You are my kinda gal, ready for plan B. I actually like the textured background provided by the paneling. Like handyman suggested, now that you have the brown covered, paint with your wall paint or at least 1/2strength. I would go ahead and paint the shelving a rich cream too and paint for diagonal boards over mantle. this is a tempo fix that will make a big change.
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 8:18AM
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handymam
Heather, I have used paper like that. But I really recommend you try adjusting the color first. You are still going to have to paint the paper anyway... You may actually be not liking the color of the shelves themselves. Sharon and Sherri both posted some lovely options for shelving units that are built in...
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 8:39AM
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charnelle45
Definitely the same colour as your walls needed. Do above the mantle while you're at it. The wooden panels give a nice texture and it's temporary anyway so don't waste too much time on it.
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
Handyman is right. You will still need to paint that type of wallpaper and if you can't remove the shelves you will find that each back piece will need to be a custom fit because as shelves dry and settle the spaces are never exactly the same...I know from experience!!!! LOL...what seems like a quick solution will be time consuming. However if you have the time and patience .....that type of wallpaper will cover the paneling well.
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Heather M
Thank you so much deco, handymam, charnelle, and Sherri! I think you're right. I'll give it another shot and see how it looks. I'm fine just playing around and seeing what works--the whole wall is kind of an odd compilation of stuff between the tile, paneling, etc... I was wondering about the wall liner in the interest of possibly putting up wallpaper as was suggested before. I can't imagine putting up wallpaper on paneling without some sort of prep, and the wall liner was one of the suggested methods. BUT...like I said...you've talked me into trying a different color! I'm thinking the same gold as the walls might be too much since it's a really big room. I've posted two pictures of the entire space to give some perspective--and reposted the one that has the rug and couches (and the dog bed which eventually won't be there). What do you all think: more gold or cream? (Keep in mind...we just moved in three weeks ago from a much smaller space, so we are just getting settled.)
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
Often when I work with a client and need a light color we take the paint sample swatch with from the wall color and look at the color at the top. In this case it should be creamy. It should complement the walls too.... being from the same family. If it is too light just go one more color deeper.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Heather M
Actually, that's what I used! So perhaps I'll just go one step down. Looking at it, it almost makes me wonder if the guy didn't tint the paint correctly...? Thanks!
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 12:56PM
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charnelle45
You have a nice space. I love the floors. Please post more photo's once repainted, I'm super curious now as to how it will turn out. Enjoy it.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 1:45PM
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decofriend
Just back Heather and love your space! That big trunk is terrific. Would you want to leave the bit of rustic wood above the fireplace to carry that lament from the trunk. Love your dog too!
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
Take the paint swatch and put a little of the paint you have on a corner . Let it dry. If it's not the same it was mixed wrong.
0 Likes   May 12, 2013 at 4:52AM
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brody1313
Paint it the same color as the walls.............leave the wood
0 Likes   May 12, 2013 at 6:00AM
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decoenthusiaste
You can paint a piece of poster board which you cut to fit the back of the cabinet. Let it dry and put it in to see if it is right. I'd say just go up or down two colors on the color strip. I prefer the lightest color on the strip for ceilings if you're into that much work. With all your light and windows you could take the wall color down to the darkest value on the strip, the bookcase backs to the middle color and ceiling for the lightest.
1 Like   May 12, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Nancy Walton
I have used the liner paper over a cheesy plastic tile in a bathroom. It covered all the cracks, providing an absolute flat surface for the wallpaper. It works great, so if you come do to that, rest assured it will do the job.
0 Likes   May 12, 2013 at 9:32AM
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kurloon
I'd go with the wall color, paint the diagonals, and look for a great piece of art to cover most of that space above the fireplace. Be done, live with it for a bit, and move on. Looks like a great room. I'd love to have all those bookshelves!
1 Like   May 12, 2013 at 9:39AM
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sjkingston
I personally like the light paint on the back of the bookcases and would not add any cover up. The paneling is traditional and lovely. Consider cutting a piece of sheetrock to fit exactly over the mantel, painting it to match either the walls, the paneling in the bookcases or a shade in between. (Easy to paint before you install). Then slide in place, use a few nails to secure, touch up the nail holes and you're done. The tile around the fireplace appears to be a different undertone than gold, so the next step might be to get something that works better and tile over it. Lovely room.
1 Like   May 12, 2013 at 9:43AM
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bonnieinflorida
I love the look of the wood paneling, and a gold color just a bit lighter than the walls should provide a beautiful background for the books and other items you put on the shelves. I'm looking forward to seeing a photo as soon as you dress the shelves.
1 Like   May 16, 2013 at 6:52AM
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decoenthusiaste
Back to the top... and to the original paint strip I suggested. That's where you'll find the right color!
1 Like   May 16, 2013 at 7:54AM
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decofriend
Hi Heather! Just wondering what you decided for your bookcase project.
0 Likes   May 17, 2013 at 5:56AM
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Jim Lamb
Paint the backs of the book cases a color and use it as accents in the room. Also, paint the shelves the white of the trim. The dark brown is not helping at all!
0 Likes   May 17, 2013 at 6:22AM
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bonnieinflorida
After enlarging all of the photos you have posted, I think you should paint the paneling behind the shelves the same color that is on the walls. This can be a lovely room without spending a lot of money. Sometime in the future maybe replace the curved trim at the top with a simple, traditional molding. Also, I would paint the two horizontal gold-tone strips on the fireplace with black enamel. I think it would improve the look of the fireplace immensely. Looking forward to see what you do with this room!
0 Likes   May 17, 2013 at 8:57AM
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Heather M
deco--I have gotten sidetracked by work and...life! So yes, I'm still living with two different colors on the bookshelves. :) But I have also hung some curtains among other things, which have helped me better envision the options. I think I'm going to try the gold color on the walls on the wall behind the bookshelves. My dad had an interesting idea: buy some thin paneling without slats, cut it to size, paint, and slip it in. That way, I could do away with the texture. I have to do a little more research to see if that would work. At the very least, that might be what I end up doing with the funky section of paneling above the fireplace. I'll be working on everything this weekend. Stay tuned for more pics! bonnie--I like the idea for the fireplace. I wouldn't have thought of that.
1 Like   May 18, 2013 at 7:46AM
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decoenthusiaste
Luan will work for that! Light, thin and highly paintable surface. Have used it to cover and it will hide the standard paneling.
0 Likes   May 21, 2013 at 12:00PM
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bonnieinflorida
I'm still not sure why you want to hide the paneling instead of painting it. I think it adds interest.
0 Likes   May 22, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Heather M
OK! At last, I have an update. Here is that before picture one more time...
0 Likes   May 28, 2013 at 6:01AM
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Heather M
Here are a couple after pictures. One last night after I finally wrapped up. One from this morning. And a close up. In the end, I did paint the back of the bookshelves the same gold as the walls. In the middle section, covered the paneling and also painted gold. A lot of work, but I think it will carry us through until we're ready to remodel it. I'm very happy with it. I know I'll get a lot of advice on how to place items on the bookshelves, and that's fine. :) I just don't have a lot of knick knacky stuff at this point so everything I have is there. It will be fun to hunt for things. Thanks to everyone for all your great ideas, pictures, and feedback!
11 Likes   May 28, 2013 at 6:05AM
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apple_pie_order
Looks great!
3 Likes   May 28, 2013 at 6:11AM
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decoenthusiaste
Good job! Did you use the luan on the part above the mantel? Looks like the wood is covered there. BTW, you don't need knicky knack stuff. Larger items actually show better. If you have "smalls" group them in threes. and if they're identical, lift some up on books so there is variety in the visual. Try 1/3 books - arranged vertically and in stacks, 1/3 decor items - larger is better, 1/3 open space. I still hope you'll replace the mirror with art and paint the brass FP trim with heat proof black paint.
1 Like   May 28, 2013 at 6:58AM
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bonnieinflorida
What an improvement! I'd like to echo decoenthusiaste's advice regarding not bothering with knick knacks. Save that precious space on your shelves for books and for things that you love. And the black paint will make another big difference when you cover the gold (or brass color) strips. Also agree about replacing the mirror with art.
1 Like   May 28, 2013 at 12:20PM
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handymam
It looks great and I am glad that you are happy enough with the end result. It is only you that matters!
1 Like   May 28, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Rococo & Taupe, Inc.
I would have reversed it and left the paneling the wood and painted the bookcases and mantel like the pic I'm posting as an example.
2 Likes   May 29, 2013 at 1:32AM
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designbug
Yes, Keith! I'm really surprised that no one else suggested this!
0 Likes   May 29, 2013 at 5:05AM
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Heather M
We wanted to keep the wood on the bookshelves, and if I could just do away with all the paneling without a ton more work, I would. To each their own. :)
2 Likes   May 29, 2013 at 5:18AM
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Heather M
Thanks everyone. Yes, we will replace the mirror with art (the mirror has another intended destination). As I said over and over, I just don't HAVE a lot of stuff.
1 Like   May 29, 2013 at 5:23AM
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valeriegroom
This is a work in progress, similar dated shelving, painted and stenciled (before and in progress)
1 Like   May 29, 2013 at 6:04AM
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Sherri Fitzgerald - Ultimate Decor
Hi Heather! Nice job! The shelving looks much better! As an interior decorator I know all about a work in progress!! Sometimes it takes months or years to get everything the way you want it. Especially when its a new home and you want your touch to be in every room! I am posting a few nicely decorated shelves to give you some ideas on what to look for when you are shopping as time goes by ...and they will also give you ideas on how to arrange what you already have. Because you have a lot of shelves try putting weightier items on the two or three bottom shelves... things like books or even a few matching baskets that have color or a printed material....then put a few nicely placed items on the upper shelves. Happy Decorating!
study
Living Room
Kiawah Family Home
Living Room with bookcase & accessories
1 Like   May 30, 2013 at 10:03AM
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