Farmhouse Style Bookcases

How to turn Billy Bookcases into farmhouse style bookcases by adding vintage decor items.

The other day, I had the privilege of being invited over to a blog reader’s home for lunch. It was so much fun!

Before we got to her amazing curried chicken salad and dessert meringues, she gave me a tour of her lovely home. One topic of conversation easily led to another. We talked about everything from how to hang pictures on a wall to paint colors ~ and about a million things in between.

How to add Farmhouse Style to Billy Bookcases

She explained how each room was thoughtfully and lovingly put together piece by piece. And now, she’s preparing her heart to move.

I remember what that’s like.

I remember how moving feels like mourning mixed with the excitement of the new and unknown.

She’s trying to picture her current furnishings in her new space, and wondering how it’s all going to work out. I remember doing that, too.

How to add Farmhouse Style to Billy Bookcases

In fact, I even drew rooms to scale, measured each piece of furniture, and made sure everything fit.

It did on paper…

But, not in real life!;)

I assured her, though, that over time, a house starts to feel like home. With each little touch you give to a space, eventually it all starts to come together.

Old books used for farmhouse style bookcases

We’ve been in our little townhouse now for nearly 2 years. It’s the first home I’ve lived in that feels so shiny and new!

It has pretty dry-walled walls, nice flooring, and heaters that warm up a room at the flip of a switch.

It’s not a fixer upper… and, truthfully, I was at a loss as to how to make it feel like home. So, I started experimenting with different looks.

Old books stacked up as decor in a bookcase

I tried white walls with a gray feature wall. Then, I tried aqua blue modern art and swanky little tables. I tried gold shiny decor with a string of lights.

All were ok, but they still didn’t seem quite right.

The turning point came just a few days ago. After months of plotting and planning, we finally finished a project we’ve been dreaming of.

Shiplap wall treatment with vintage art prints


(Related article: How to Make a DIY Shiplap Wall)

Right smack in the middle of our billy bookcases.

I couldn’t believe the difference a few boards made in the look and feel of the room.

Before the paint was hardly dry, I whipped out all my favorite vintage collectibles that I’ve hung on to despite many major purges.

Galvanized metal gas can used as decor for a farmhouse style bookcase

Wooden boxes, old books, galvanized cans, and china went up one at a time.

Modern Farmhouse Styled bookcase using Ikea's Billy Bookcase

Each piece carries with it a memory of a person, time, or place that has meaningful memories to us. From my Grandma’s rolling pin to the painting of a friend’s father in 1948, each item has a story to tell.

Billy Bookcases with wooden boxes, old books, greenery, and antique cameras

As I layered and fussed, I stood back and took a good look…

Billy bookcases styled with modern farmhouse style elements

Ah…it finally feels like home!

How to add Farmhouse Style to Billy Bookcases

I was so concerned that vintage items would look out of place in such a new home.

Wooden boxes and greenery on a shelf

Turns out, it’s just what it needed all along…

I’ll be back later with all the details on how we hung the shiplap as well as the craftsman style molding to the tops of the bookcases.

If you are looking for specific formulas for how to style a bookcase with Modern Farmhouse style, these articles may be of interest to you:

Four Steps to a Bookcase You’ll Love by Thistlewood Farms

Bookcase Styling: Easy Tips and Tricks at CityFarmhouse

How to Style a Rustic Bookcase Like a Pro by DIY Passion

And below is a Pinterest pin you can pin if you want to remember this article for later!;)

How to add Farmhouse Style to Billy Bookcases

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  1. Ship-lap does make a huge difference. It gives the room an identity that it would otherwise be lacking. Right there in an instant you get that farmhouse reference that gives you a direction. Lovely bookcases with loved items.

  2. Rita, the shiplap is a brilliant addition. And love your collectables. You sure married the right man. He
    sure knows how to build, and make your dreams a reality.

  3. Hi Rita
    It looks so warm, inviting & just right! I love the white, shiplap and your collectables! It gives the room a wonderful personal touch! I was so honored to have you over at my home!

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