Billy Bookcase DIY

I'm getting tired of looking at my dark, unorganized IKEA Billy bookcases and I've been itching to make them over for a long time now.  They were once packed full of books with a few knick-knacks tucked in, but the main focus was on the books themselves.  It was very library-like, wall-to-wall with spined books (three Billy's worth!).  I donated a ton of my books a few months ago to clear up space.  I still want books on display, but I also want my growing collection of objects and art mixed in.  The problem is, my bookcases are black-brown so darker items tend to look lost on the shelves.  Time for that to change.  I don't want to go to the trouble of painting all the shelves so I was thinking of either covering the backing with a light coloured wallpaper or fabric, or just simply painting the backing.  Right now I'm leaning more towards painting because as much as I love a good print, I'm worried that wallpaper/fabric will be too busy and steal the focus away from what is displayed on the shelves.  And besides, I have some leftover white paint that I need to use up so it would save me time and money from having to source and buy wallpaper or fabric. 

Here's a graphic bookcase that I love, found on 

And here's a beautifully styled and painted bookcase that DIY and decor blogger Kate, a.k.a. "Centsational Girl" did to her Billy bookcases: 

Kate even has an excellent DIY tutorial on making them look built-in that you can read here.  

And then of course I see something like these all-black bookcases and I think...why paint them at all???  These ones seen here were featured in the November 2011 issue of House & Home (found on the H&H blog) and they look great dark.  Maybe all I need to do is add some crown moulding to the top of mine and choose books, art and decorative items that will display nicely against the dark shelves.  

Ah, decisions, decisions.  Stay tuned to see what I end up doing!