$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase

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As much as I enjoy tackling and sharing intricate and detailed DIY projects, I also like super easy, quick-to-do, and cheap inexpensive makeovers.

This simple redo that I’m about to show you is the later of the two, but the outcome is truly sensational + uber affordable.

Check out my simple way of spicing up a bookcase.

$5 IDea to Spice Up a Bookcase by @Jenna_Burger

What did I use? $5 Contact paper from Homegoods! Hello Gorgeousness…

$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_Burger

As an Brand Influencer for Apartments.com, each month I’m put to the task of sharing useful, affordable, and easy-to-implement ideas for dwellers of rentals and/or small spaces.  Last month I shared a fun Summer creation (that literally cost less than $10) for the indoors (or out) that y’all loved.  And this month, I’m sharing another inexpensive idea to spruce up a space by using what I had on-hand and adding layers to it to create something totally new.

Even though I am a Designer, I am still on a slim budget.  When I’m in the mood to change things up, which is practically everyday, I turn to what I have on hand and move it around versus buying new.  Moving something from one spot to another, makes it feel completely new and fresh.  Give it a try & you’ll see!

Let me take you into my living room and show you around…

My Pad!crash more of my pad…

This is my living room.  It’s a great space, but it’s a room that I’ve been wanting to spruce up.  I’ve got ideas on the brain, but the funds aren’t there at the moment.  So what’s a girl to do?  Work with what I have.  And what’s there to change?  The large TV cabinet that houses the TV, books, and so much more. Don’t see it?  Yup, I know.

But here it is…

well what it used to look like (keep reading…)

Before Shot

The issue with this TV cabinet is a few things…

  • It’s sentimental because it’s one of the few large pieces that the Mister and I purchased when we were first married 10 years ago
  • It’s BIG and holds ALOT of stuff
  • It hides the TV.  As much as I like my gossipy, trashy, reality shows, I’m not a fan of seeing the TV.  Plus with the kids, outta sight outta mind.
  • To replace would cost big $$$ bucks

So my quick and stylish fix?

$5 stylish contact paper, baby!

Contact paper has come a long way.  It’s amazing the patterns + designs that are available today.  I picked the paper up from Homegoods and the geometric black & white pattern is gorgeous.  You would never believe it was contact paper & cost $5.

So how did I do it?  Check this out…

1. I emptied out the glass cabinets + took off the doors.

Removed Doors

2. Once they were rid of everything, it was time to install the paper to the back of the cabinet.  Starting at the top. I peeled a small section of the papers backing and aligned the edge of the paper with the side back edge of the cabinet.

$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_Burger

3. I then started to peel away the backing and smoothed out the contact paper on the surface eliminating bumps + bubbles.

 $5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_Burger

4. The width of the contact paper was smaller than the width of the cabinet, so after putting up the first layer, I needed to add another 6″ wide piece, but it was easy.  I matched up the design at the top and continued smoothing out the bubbles all the way.  The design matched up perfectly and seamlessly!

$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_Burger

Once the backs were finished and pretty, they were ready to style.  Oooo, this is always my favorite part!

$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_Burger

I love well-styled shelves.

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5Using old with new creates for a beautiful vignette.  My newly styled shelves are filled with DIY creations (like my rope wrapped vase), Target + Homegoods deals (like the gold Nate tassel + the umber colored vase), travel treasures (like the maracas from Puerto Rico + seashells from our beach vacations), and personal keepsakes (like the model the Mister made when in college for Architecture).

Every element is a treasure.  Every element has meaning.  Every element reflects us.

As much as the newly styled shelves are pretty, they are also majorly functional!  They not only hold books & keepsakes, but I added baskets in the bottom section, which hold DVDs, CDs, and snuggly blankets.

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Overall, this is the new space…

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

Styled Bookcase with new bookcase backing for $5

The entire room feels & looks so different.  By removing the doors, the room feels more open &  by adding the backing to the shelves, the room has more depth.

And to give you a peak into what is behind the middle section, it’s our TV and other things that aren’t as pretty…

Peak into the cabinetHi!  That’s me in the reflection.

5 Tips to take away from my $5 shelf redo…

> Shop Your Home: When bored with what you have & no budget to buy new, go shopping around your home.  Repurpose what you already own and move them to another place.  The old items will instantly feel fresh & new again.

> Create Something: You know me, I’m always DIYing something around my home.  Why?  1. Because I enjoy making things / 2. Because I don’t have a huge budget / 3. Because I can customize something to be exactly what I envision.

> Think Outside the Box: Don’t like something?  Well ask yourself how it can be better within the constraints you have, which can be budget or space.  With my $5, quick redo I can probably get another year (or more) out of the furniture that I have.  If I didn’t make the change, it would haunt me everyday to do something.  By making the easy + inexpensive update, my space feels vibrant & new.

> Gather Inspiration & Implement: Search the web or pinterest to find inspiration.  Feeling tired of your drear space, but unsure what to do?  Look for inspiration.  It surrounds you on a daily basis.  Search for what you love and implement that into your home.

> Start from Scratch: When feeling the urge to redo any vignette, space, or room, it’s really a must to start from scratch.  Remove everything in a space, so you can see the setting in a clear light and with a clean slate.

$5 Idea to Spice Up a Bookcase - Come see the simple + stylish solution! at sasinteriors.net by @Jenna_BurgerLooking for an apartment or renter resources?  Visit Apartments.com, the best national online resource for those wanting to simplify the process of finding a new apartment space.

How have you spiced up a space with little or no budget?

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  1. Linda says

    You’ve just given me an idea for the top of a small table or two. I am going to check out the contact paper designs this weekend!

  2. Joyce Layton says

    It’s like your room lost some weight, Jenna! Even though the doors were glass, the piece had a heavy feel to it in its original condition. Amazing. I’m curious, though….is the contact paper there for good or will it peel up without damaging the wood?

  3. says

    Ohh, love that fabulous paper! I didn’t know HG sold it, I’ll have to look next time.

    And you are right, the pattern gives the shelves nice depth. I added paper to the back of all of our bookshelves. I did one and couldn’t stop!

    Great to meet you at Haven too. I look forward to being in touch :-)

  4. says

    Oh man that is the bomb contact paper! What section did you find it in Jenna? I am going to scour our Homegoods for some of that! Works great for rental walls as well {which is what I am thinking of using it for if I find some!} That was a great $5 makeover I must say, the unit looks so much more stylish now.

  5. says

    I love the way the bookshelves look! I did not know that home goods sold contact paper. I have closet shelves, i wonder how it would look in a closet! i just found this site and i will bookmark it, thanks!

  6. says

    Lovely! I’m using contact paper to jazz up an old bar cart right now, blog post to come! I love fun a simple things like that to change up your space! Side note…I totally have that “interior designer business handbook” from college, and that lovely gold tassel is sitting on my mantle :).



  7. says

    Very cute! Does the contact paper come off easily if you want to remove it? I have an all-oak china cabinet in my kitchen (you can see the cabinet in the photo of my kitchen in my home tour on my website), and I’d love to add a pop of color with contact paper, but I am worry that the paper would be hard to get off or would ruin the surface.

    • Jenna says

      Hi Lauren, I forgot to mention that in the post and plan on adding it in, but YES, the contact paper can be removed with ease. I tried and tested it before adding it to the entire back. My end goal is still to sell this piece (maybe in a few years), but in the moment it still works and looks so much better with only $5 spent!