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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Dated Arch Bookcase Makeover: Bookcase Styling Tips


A dated Ethan Allen arched bookcase gets a modern makeover and is beautifully styled following these simple bookcase styling tips!



Let's update and style a dated wood bookcase! 

I've been drawn to furniture with arches lately and immediately stopped my scroll when I spotted an arched wood bookcase at a local online auction. 

The bookcase was dated and the hardware had to go, but it had great bones and I knew it could be beautiful with new paint and hardware. 

Painted black bookcase makeover

I took a chance, placed a bid, and won the bookcase sight unseen! 


SUPPLIES NEEDED TO UPDATE A DATED BOOKCASE


- Secondhand bookcase (secondhand furniture sources)
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Simple Green Cleaners
- Screwdriver
- Drill



HOW TO UPDATE A DATED WOOD BOOKCASE


The Ethan Allen bookcase I updated was from a local online auction, but could also be found by searching Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores, and cosignment shops. 


dated wood bookcase before
I was so excited to see the bookcase transformed that I unloaded and started prepping it as soon as I got home. 

Dated wood bookcase before

The old hardware was removed, holes got filed with Kwikwood Wood Epoxy and the entire bookcase got a good sanding with 220-grit sandpaper. 

Filled hardware holes using kwikwood

sanding wood bookcase

I used a leaf blower to remove sanding dust then cleaned the bookcase with Simple Green and a lint-free rag.  

The bookcase required three coats of General Finishes Lamp Black and two coats of Water-Based Matte Polycrylic.  

Painting bookcase black

Once the last coat of polycyclic was dry I drilled new holes and added the new antique brass drawer pulls.   Replacing hardware is one of my favorite affordable ways to make secondhand furniture look expensive. 

New bookcase hardware

Black painted bookcase makeover

I staged the freshly updated bookcase with a collection of vintage alarm clocks.  It's the perfect modern backdrop for displaying a favorite collection.  

Wouldn't it look so pretty staged with white milk glass and greenery?

before and after black bookcase makeover


How to style a bookcase



HOW TO STYLE A BOOKCASE: BOOKSHELF STYLING TIPS 


I don't have an interior design degree or formal training.  I do have a sense of style, years of decorating trial and error, and a love for styling and staging.   

1.  STICK TO A COLOR PALETTE 

Whether displaying a collection or a variety of items, keep the color scheme simple and cohesive.  I generally decorate with vintage items in neutral tones then incorporate plants for a pop of green.  If using color, stick to one or two colors or shades of one color to keep your display cohesive.

Neutral bookcase styling color scheme

2. WORK IN GROUPS OF THREE

Items arranged in odd numbers, particularly three, look more appealing and interesting.   This can be achieved by displaying three of the same items together or creating a small vignette.  When creating a vignette vary the height and texture of the items to keep it interesting.  

TIP: Books and plants are great additions to vignettes and provide natural texture and interest. 


Bookcase groupings


3. START IN THE CENTER

I find it easier to start decorating in the center of a shelf or bookcase than work my way out.   This will lay the groundwork for how you'll style and display the remaining shelves.   Place larger items first then fill in with smaller items. 

4.  USE BOOKS

Books are a fantastic way to ground decor, add height and texture, and fill in gaps.  Display books in both vertical and horizontal stacks to keep the eye moving.

If you're using a bookcase to style and organize books, group them by color, consider removing the book jackets, or turn them around so the spine faces inward.  This tones down the business of the covers and creates a more uniform look.


How to style a bookcase

5. VARY HEIGHTS

Incorporate a variety of different heights to add interest and keep the eye moving.  This is where plants, larger vases, candlesticks, baskets, and books can be helpful.  

6. ZIGZAG DECOR 

Our eye is naturally drawn to groupings and like items. When curating shelves consider how your items can be grouped and repeated throughout your shelves.   This is where starting in the center (or near the center) can be helpful.   

Lay out your first group of items then repeat those items throughout your shelf in a zig-zag pattern.  This creates interest, a balanced look, and the eye moving throughout the bookcase.

In my case, I repeated books, clocks, and plants throughout my shelf following a zig-zag pattern.  I made sure to incorporate all three items on each shelf to keep the bookcase feeling cohesive. 

how to zig-zag decor





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How to style a bookcase-shelf styling tips

    
before and after bookcase makeover




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