Bookshelves are great because they can be easily repainted for use in a different room than what they were originally intended for. For example, if you’ve got a small oak bookshelf and you’ve recently had a baby girl, you can paint the bookshelf a soft pink (or whatever color you’ve chosen) and reuse it in her room to help create storage for all of her baby needs. However, if you’ve chosen to repaint a bookshelf, there are a few steps you’ll need to take.
How to Repaint a Bookshelf
First and foremost, before you begin any painting or sanding, you’ll need to determine what your bookshelf is comprised of. Bookshelves can be made from wood, from plastic, pressed woods and laminates; so it’s important to know what your bookshelf is before you paint onto it.
If you’re working with a ‘fake’ bookshelf that is comprised of laminate or some other non-wood material, then you likely will not be able to sand down the bookshelf for staining. You simply cannot stain a laminate bookshelf, but you can paint it to match other woods in the room if necessary.
If your bookshelf is wooden and already painted or stained, you will need to sand it down to remove the paint or stain. However, if you are in a time crunch and your bookshelf is in relatively good shape, you can actually prime your bookshelf, let it dry and apply the final paint. However, you cannot prime your bookshelf and then stain it.
Different Paints, Textures and Options for Refinishing a Bookshelf
One of the most obvious and easy choices is to paint the entire bookshelf a single color. Fortunately, paint comes in a plethora of colors and you can find a color to match your particular room’s needs. Just be sure that if you are working with a laminate bookshelf that you choose paint and primer that can adhere to the laminate; just as you would need to choose primer that would adhere to the wood, plastic or metal, if that was what your shelving was made of.
Stains are also an option but they are only an option if your bookshelf is wooden. Stains cannot be used on over paint, on metal, plastic or laminate. Of course, you can be adventurous and test these techniques out; but there is no guarantee that the stain will adhere to the surface and not stain other surfaces in the room; nor will the color be the same as it would be on a wood surface.
For children’s rooms, you can get a little more adventurous and use various brushes or sponges to create textures and patterns onto the bookshelf. You can also use wallpaper or stencils on the insides of the shelves or all over the bookshelf.
Spray paints can also work, though they may limit the choices of color you have. But today, many spray paints are ultra-versatile and can be used on woods, plastics, metals and so forth.
Furthermore, if you’re a skilled do-it-yourself enthusiast then you can cut and attach molding to the edges to create a more custom piece of furniture.
Whatever choice you make, remember that no bookshelf needs to be thrown out. You can always easily update the look of a bookshelf with simple techniques so that it continues to match your decor and serve it’s functional purpose.
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Tip Nut: How to Paint Laminate Furniture