• A book case decorated with wallpaper by deborah bowness.
  • A book case decorated with wallpaper by deborah bowness.


Wallpapering the back of a bookcase adds a touch of colour and texture and bring a new lease of life into your room. With minimal supplies in a single afternoon, you can make any bookcase go from a plain old storage unit to a decorative piece that adds depth and dimension to your space. The same technique can be used to paper the inside of any cupboard or pantry.


Wallpaper – The images shows our  ‘Thailand Lino’ & ‘Farmhouse Floral’. We also suggest Wallpaper Tiles  or to create an illusion of full shelves try ‘Genuine Fake Bookshelf’, ‘New Antique Books’ or ‘Bric-a-brac’.

Wallpaper Paste

Large brush

Cloth to smooth out  bubbles

Scalpel & scissors

Clear water based varnish & roller or brush


Begin by removing the shelves of your bookcase and cleaning away any dust. To achieve the best possible adhesion, prepare wooden or painted bookshelves shelves by lightly sanding them down.

Measure the width and height of the back of the inside of the bookcase. If there are permanent shelves in the bookcase you’ll need to measure individual sections.

Lay out the wallpaper and make sure your roll is large enough. Cut sections to the size of the back of the shelves. You may want to cut your pieces a little larger than needed so there aren’t gaps.

Starting with the back of the bookcase, cover with wallpaper paste*, then hang wallpaper from the top edge. Smooth out bubbles and trim any excess from the bottom, then repeat with another drop next to it until the whole back panel is covered.

*PLEASE NOTE: The application of wallpaper paste depends on what type of wallpaper you have chosen. For non-woven wallpapers, apply the wallpaper paste directly to the back of the bookcase. For paper-based wallpapers apply the paste to the paper and let it soak. Applying the wallpaper to the bookcase is exactly the same with either wallpaper types.

Once the paper has dried onto the bookcase, you can varnish with 2 coats of  clear water based varnish to seal and protect the paper.

Now insert the shelves and your bookcase is revived, add your books and nick nacks. 

Show us your “shelfies” tagging @deborah_bowness on instagram



The instructions given here are for guidance only and are given in good faith but without warranty, since skill of application and site conditions are beyond my control.


Posted under Tips on 5.11.20 at 10.37am