close up of shelf with plate
Courtesy of Southern Living

Pretty Paper

To add pattern to the back of a bookcase, opt for wallpaper. Choose a design that coordinates with the rest of the room. Look for wallpaper that has a small repeating pattern, because larger patterns will get lost behind the books and other accessories. For more texture, try lining a bookcase with fabric or grass cloth instead.

Tip: If you rent or don't want to commit to one color or pattern, apply paint, wallpaper, or fabric to a sheet of 1/4-inch cabinet-grade plywood or foam-core board, cut to fit inside the bookcase. This way, you can change out the look for different seasons.

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