In the past, built-in bookshelves have been a coveted item for many homebuyers and owners. They allow attractive display of art, photographs, and other special treasures (not to mention the requisite books!).
Still, times have changed and bookshelves constructed in the ‘80s and ‘90s pose modern problems. “[W]ith the rise of digital media and minimalist décor, buyers these days may have less of a need for this once widely coveted storage feature,” notes Realtor Magazine. “…Even newer units designed to house entertainment equipment …look dated thanks to wall-hung flat screen TVs, wireless speaker and streaming music apps.”
While homeowners can remove built-ins, this can be costly and time-consuming. Many experts recommend simple updates to make them feel new again. Realtor suggests homeowners:
Paint or re-stain the wood: This can go a long way to freshening up an older look. Realtor suggests choosing a color that matches the trim in the room, to give the shelves continuity. It also notes that using semi-gloss or gloss paint will help the finish hold up over the years.
Take off elaborate details that no longer fit the home’s style: Many embellishments from decades ago, such as pilasters and molding, may be too fussy for today’s sleeker looks. Removing such items usually requires only minimal touch up.
Change the hardware: Simply changing pulls or knobs on cabinet doors and drawers can make a huge difference. Realtor notes that polished chrome and satin nickel are on the “chic list” these days. Long, skinny pulls are also more in vogue than round or octagonal ones.
Change or remove cabinet fronts: Switching ornate cabinet fronts to flat or Shaker panels will give your shelving unit a cleaner look. You might also consider removing cabinet fronts altogether, finishing the exposed edges and turning the inside of the cabinet into exposed shelves.
Install lighting: Lighting on the top or sides of the shelves can add a dramatic touch. Consider bulbs that work on a dimmer to enable you to light the shelves for different moods.
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