Book Recover DIY

Books are one of the simplest ways to add some flair to your decor. When a desk, shelf, or nightstand seems in need of style, a stack of beautiful, coordinated books does the trick! There are certain books meant to be read but not displayed since the colors are a bit tacky or they don’t flow with your color scheme.  So, for this post we wanted to make used books a decor piece by painting them and turning them into something we’d be happy to display! We always love giving old pieces new life and this also makes it such a budget-friendly DIY!

Grab a stack of old books and repaint them to fit your style! See the full DIY on lilyandval.com!

Painted Book Decor

What you’ll need:

-Acrylic paint
-Paint brush
-Metallic gold paint marker
-Unwanted books, in good shape.*

*When looking for books to use, lose the sleeve to see what shape the book is in.  Books with bent covers or tears won’t work as well. I would also recommend choosing books without embossed letters in the spine. If you paint over the letters, the indents will still show through.

If your book collection isn't the type you like to display, repaint them! Use paint that compliments your color scheme and apply 2-3 coats. See the rest of the DIY on Lily & Val Living!


Lay the book flat and paint the cover and spine in your chosen color. I chose a vintage, neutral color palette since I envisioned mine for a bedroom with soft colors. Paint the book with 2-3 coats of paint until the color is opaque.

Painting old books in neutral colors makes them easy to use when styling a nightstand or a bookshelf!

After the book is painted, let it set to dry. When the book feels dry to the touch and not sticky, then you can start to decorate!

Using a gold paint marker to add gold to the spine is a nice way of giving the books interest, but keeping them simple at the same time. You could even hand letter the book title on the spine, write a quote, or decorate the entire book cover!

Recycle old, unattractive books by painting them! Add classic detail to the spine with a gold paint pen.

After you’ve finished, let the book dry again completely.  If you are painting more than one book, be sure they are thoroughly dry so that they don’t stick together when stacked.

I absolutely love the way these books turned out!  They were exactly what my nightstand needed to add a cozy vibe alongside my “staying in is the new going out” print!

Add more style to your nightstand by painting old, unattractive books and stacking them! Books are easy to DIY! Find out more on Lily & Val Living!

Make your room even more cozy with a stack of freshly painted books and a lovely chalk print! More information on Lily & Val Living!

When in doubt, books are great decorating pieces.  Even if they don’t seem pretty at first, the good news is you can make them pretty!  This simple DIY will make big changes to a bookshelf or nightstand with just a little bit of paint!

Photos courtesy of Jenny Poe

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  • Reply Gwen Condit January 1, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Glad to see this beautiful art project to reuse all my old books with unattractive spines.!loved the green one with the oval name part. So creative!!

  • Reply Jennifer September 17, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    Gorgeous!! What brand of gold marker are you using?

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