Bookcase molding will give your furniture a mini makeover.

This is not Extreme Make-over:  The Bookcase Edition.

No plastic surgery.

No facial reconstruction.

No dental implants.

Nothing drastic.

It’s just a mini-makeover.  Kind of like when Kathy Lee and Hoda nab an unsuspecting woman off the street and take her into the studio.  And they change her hair color and give her a new hair cut and style and put some eye shadow on her and dress her in some Spanx and a really cute outfit from JC Penny’s.  And then she comes out from behind the curtain and her family is all like “You look incredible.”  And then she breaks into hysterical sobs because she realizes that she has finally left the 1970’s behind and stepped into 2012.

Not that the 1970’s isn’t all that and a bag of chips.

It’s just sometimes we all could use a mini-facelift.

Or a good pair of Spanxs.

Whichever comes first.


Old bookcases with no molding look dated and not fancy.


So here are the bookcases in their pre-makeover state.

Before Kathy Lee and Hoda plucked them off the street.

They were up in the guest bedroom…simply minding their own business.  Until it was decided that we needed built-in closets on this wall and these bookcases really needed to find another home.  So they made the arduous trip downstairs to the library.

Where things are a lot fancier.

Much more uptown.

Much more the royal blue eye shadow and JC Penny spiffy dress crowd.


Adding crown molding to your bookcase will add a touch of elegance.


So to fancy up the bookcases for the library…

…we took 4 1/2″ crown molding and added it to the top edge with a nail gun.

And mitered the corners.


Crown molding on book cases adds elegance to any room.



Okay….well….maybe just a little fancier.

But not fancy enough for prime time.


The first step in elevating your bookcase's design is adding a piece of pine and an extra piece of trim.


So we added a 1 x 8 pine board, inset 2″ from the front of the bookcase.

There is a 1 x 2 in the back, on the other side, behind the 1 x 8 to stabilize it.

And then we added another piece of shoe molding to the top to hide the gap between the 1 x 8 and the bookcase.

Because nothing says fancy like a piece of shoe molding.


Add caulked to the edges of your bookcase trim.


Then caulked in the edges.

And painted the pine and the molding white to match the bookcases.

And that’s our mini-bookcase makeover.

Nothing extreme.  Just a little mascara and highlights.


And when it’s time for the reveal,

and the curtain is lifted…

….the bookcase simply glides through it as Kathy Lee and Hoda gleefully raise their glasses high.


Let the toasting begin 🙂

Welcome to 2012, you beautiful bookcase, you.


PS  I want to clarify that when I refer to “we” in this post….my only part of this “we” was just there for purely aesthetic direction.  The actual sawing and nailing and painting was all done by the cutest carpenter on the planet!

PPS  I got a wide-angle lens for Mother’s Day.

Watch out world.

 If you want more molding inspiration….click here to check out all my other molding projects.

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Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Beverly Beverly

    A wide angle lens. Proof alone that you had a great Mother's Day - which I already knew because you are a great mother with great children and with the cutest carpenter on the planet. I still need you to tell me about the piece you have hanging inside the bookcase. Pretty please. With sugar on it.♥♥♥

  2. Image for Anita Anita

    Awesome makeover!!! I love it, and I could actually do this carpentry work, but anything complicated might be too much for me to do myself. This is gorgeous, and love the morning show references, ha, ha. I do hope you will link this up to Cowgirl Up, which will be live by 9 pm tonight. It is gorgeous!! And a new lens, wow!! I am getting ready to order a new wide-angle myself, since my new full-frame camera will not accept the old one (cheap) even though it is the same brand. I also have a lens from my old film camera (very expensive) and it actually works with this camera. That lens is at least twelve years old. What kind of camera do you use? Your photos are gorgeous.

  3. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Who needs Carter Oosterhouse when you have your own cute carpenter with a wide angle lens.... So glad that you had a wonderful Mother's Day....and the bookcase looks wonderful after it's "Kathy Lee and Hoda makeover"...Another great "tootorial" for the "Toot hall of Fame"!!

  4. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    She looks so lovely and modern! I think even Oprah would be wowed ... And the yentas on The View? Left speechless. *sigh* I wish I had a cute carpenter to carry out my vision. Not that I'm slamming my sponsor. He's cute as a button and funny too. Just not handy. He kinda freaks out a bit when I'm wielding the brad nailer ... :) Linda

  5. Image for Anne Anne

    Love it! Can you send your cute carpenter here to help me with the molding & trim in my bathroom?? Why's it called shoe molding? What's it got to do with shoes??? Your bookcase looks awesome with it's fresh new lipstick. It's so amazing what a couple of trim pieces can do. xox

  6. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    Beautiful job, Karianne! I think using "we" is apt ~ I mean, someone has to take the gorgeous pictures to show off the cute carpenter's work! : ) Your bookcase now looks fancy shmancy for this room. Love your drapes, btw.

  7. Image for Karah @ thespacebetweenblog Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

    Love, love it! There's not much more rewarding than a simple little molding upgrade with big impact. Definitely ready for uptown now! I hope you had an awesome Mother's Day with the CEO of chaos and the rest of the chaos. :) Karah

  8. Image for Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers

    What a great makeover! It looks much more uptown now. I have a skinny little bookcase, that I might ask Mr. Comforts of Home to spiff up. Great inspiration post.

  9. Image for annie! annie!

    Wow...this is incredible. Your home is beautiful. You commented on my blog that you couldn't even attempt what I had done...and now that I'm looking at your post...I have to say the same thing!!! This is amazing!

  10. Image for Angie Angie

    Great Makeover and a gorgeous room, as always. The next time you pass through Tennessee just stop by and visit for a spell and y'all can transform some things around our house. I'll make the sweet tea. Can't wait to see your pics taken with your news lens. Have a great day. Angie

  11. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    You need to start your own little Steel Magnolias salon where you spiffy up all the old, unadorned furniture in town. The furniture can gossip, find out what's going on in the neighborhood, who's spouse is drinking too much... all the dirt! Kelly

  12. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I guess I need to put my bookcases on my back and start walking up and down the sidewalk. Maybe someone will take pity on me and pull me off the street for a makeover!

  13. Image for

    I love the mascarra and highlights! You are so good at the smoke and mirrors! You had me fooled with the window mouldings, and now the fancy bookcases too? What's next? Are you gonna show up at Haven, just a shiny cardboard cutout with an ipod taped to you for audio? ;-) Hehe!! p.s. I am still super jealous of the fact that your man will wield a nail gun! Mine's cute, and he does know how to fly planes, but it would be great to have some help doing the projects.~ Hope your Mother's Day was fantastic! xo-Lisa

  14. Image for Lori Lori

    Alright..that is stinkin awesome, cute and adorable, and very chic too! Now to get over my mitre phobia. See it all began in this home awhile back, this home that was born in 1923! A few years back I added chair rails to a room and new door trim-UGH! So...since 1923 gravity did its thing and mitre-ing, well it gave me grey hairs! I know, I know this is a bookcase, but the fear is still so fresh of those crooked angles of that bedroom I still am not to brave. But oh how I love the results of your shelf, and the windows in the dinig room too! Lori

  15. Image for SheilaG SheilaG

    I love your fancified bookcase! So appropriate for a library, I do believe. ;) Wide angle lens- ahh, I still haven't figured out my point & shoot....

  16. Image for Traci Traci

    Your make-over turned out beautifully. It fits in wonderfuilly in your room now. I would have liked to see a better picture of the vignette you have in the bookcase. Thanks for sharing. Traci

  17. Image for Maury @ Life on Mars Maury @ Life on Mars

    The look great! We have built-ins in the family room and it's definitely in the plans to add crown to them and bring them up to date. They are basically what you had before but they are attached to the wall. There's nothing exciting about them at all.

  18. Image for Peggy Peggy

    OH how sweet! We are currently "updating" two bookcases but having issues because ours sit back into an alcove and have a weird gap at the end (its where I store the tubes of wrapping paper. I think we should take down the decorative corner pieces and just run a straight piece across the front painted yellow like the rest of the trim work.... thank you for letting me think out loud!! Trust me there is just too much testosterone around here which affects my brain sometimes.... It is so nice to know I have friends who are just enough girly with out being too girly... does that make sense? I love your bookcases!! Have a great day!!

  19. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    It looks fantastic Karianne and I'm fairly certain that decorating the shelves and then taking awesome photos of them with a fabulous new wide-angle lens is just as important as doing the carpentry right? I mean, you can really break a sweat doing those things!! ;-) Truly, though, it is beautiful and you and your cute carpenter make a good team! Vanessa

  20. Image for Karen Karen

    You are so talented!!! I have a bunch of old bookcases around here. I am pinning what you did. I love the added piece of Pine, that is not something you often see in a book case makeover. That definitely put it over the top. Great work. -K

  21. Image for Kelly @ View Along the Way Kelly @ View Along the Way

    Great upgrade! Even though it wasn't bad before, not like 70s haircut and sally jesse raphael glasses bad. But it's really good now. Like platform heels and double spanx good. (I hear that double spanx is a thing for celebs at award shows, but it sounds like something you couldn't even breathe in.)

  22. Image for Heather Heather

    Hi Karianne! I love your blog, your writing, your photos and your elegant and stunning!! I was wondering if you might share the paint colors you used for your walls? I love the color pallette you chose. And where, please, did you get the white curtain rods that the toile drapes are on? They are chic and classic! Luv the bookcase makeover!! Have a wonderful week! Heather :)

  23. Image for Shelia Shelia

    Oh, my goodness! What a difference the trims make. This turned out to be a beautiful piece. I love your pretty room too. Thanks so much for popping in to see me. Be a sweetie, Shelai ;)

  24. Image for

    I know I commented earlier, but I neglected to say how much I really LOVE this room! You have such a knack for styling your shelves to look simple, sophisticated and elegant. All without looking stuffy, or probably even breaking a sweat! You really DO need your own HGTV show! Your whole house is such a cohesive reflection of your fabulous style!! :-) xo-Lisa

  25. Image for Barbara F. Barbara F.

    The room is so welcoming, it just invites you to come in and sink into the comfy looking sofa. What a Cinderella transformation on the bookcase, from plain to lovely! It looks perfectly at home in the library! Barbara

  26. Image for Poppy Poppy

    Oh Wow! What a gorgeous room and what a beautiful transformation! I love it! Amazing what moldings can do... job well done. Thanks for the inspiration!Hugs,Poppy

  27. Image for sharon sharon

    I love the bookcase makeover! So sophisticated...the new look totally says "downstairs library." I'm equally impressed with the curtains. I've been wanting brown toile curtains for quite some time. Where, oh where, did you get yours? Sharon @ mrs. hines class

  28. Image for Karen Karen

    Love the tutorial..........maybe I haven't had enough coffee this morning yet, but.. you said to "inset 2″ (the 1x8) from the front of the bookcase", but it looks like it is right at the front edge of the bookcase. What am I missing? Thanks, Karen

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