How to Give Cheap Bookcases an Expensive Look. Attractive bookcases can be prohibitively expensive, but if you are a voracious reader you need someplace to store all your books. Cheap bookcases available at the box stores look just that: cheap. With a little time and effort, you can customize those inexpensive bookcases and give your home a pricey designer touch. You just need some lumber, nails and paint.
Buy some manufactured wood bookcases from a box store or large hardware store. You can usually find them with two to five shelves. Most are white or a natural wood color. Don't let the color choices stop you. You can paint later.
Assemble the bookcases, but don't add the back panel. Let your wall color show through for design interest. The bookcases will also look more like built-ins.
Add design impact by replacing the back panel with bead board. You can have it cut to size at a hardware store. You could also use mirrored tiles for the backing if you want to display collectibles.
Stand two cheap bookcases side-by-side. Buy molding from the hardware store and attach it across the top and bottom of the bookcases to hold them together. This also gives a built-in appearance. You can attach the molding securely by using wood glue and nails.
Paint the bookcases any color you want. Lightly sand them first to rough up the surface.
Give a room the wow factor. Buy several cheap bookcases, line them up across an entire wall and apply molding and paint. You can mix up the look with different sizes of bookcases. You'll have the expensive look of customized built-in bookcases.
To save even more money, take the old college dorm idea of cement blocks and wooden planks and update it a bit. Substitute glass blocks for the cement blocks.
Things You'll Need
Bead board or mirror tiles
Tools and wood glue
Sandpaper and paint