A reader asked: “We have a small library and decided to paint the wall to wall bookcase. We just painted the walls Ben Moore Silver moon. Nice and clean. We have NO idea what to paint the bookcase. We had a thought of white but the white primer shows probably TOO much white against the silver in the small room. Could we paint the back a navy blue? Afraid it will look like floating blue squares….. Either this will look cool and unique or just stupid.”

Our paint color experts at CertaPro Painters of Elgin, IL had some advice:

Built-in bookcases serve as a unique focal point that is both functional and decorative. You can showcase books, photos, and other personal belongings, as well as utilize baskets to organize various library knick-knacks.

Against a neutral shade like Silvery Moon, you can choose to accent it with another neutral or go bold with a pop of color, much like the navy that you mentioned. It’s important to take into consideration the natural and artificial lighting in the room, as well as the rest of the space, including furniture, accessories, and flooring.

If you want to keep it neutral, paint your bookshelves black.  The look is concise, clean, and sets the bookshelf apart from the wall. If you’re hesitant to paint the entire bookcase black, you can leave portions of it white, like the backboards on the outer most shelving units.

If you want to go bold, we have a few color recommendations. For a cleaner bold look, painting the shelving unit navy (or using a combination of navy and white) will give the room a polished, nautical look. Similar to navy, deep purples like eggplant will make the bookshelf stand out and look elegant against the Silvery Moon backdrop