(Because I can't write about Heroes all the time...)
This used to be a solid white pasteboard IKEA bookcase someone was throwing out. Several years ago, I hauled it home and covered it in black acrylic paint with a Chinese red interior. It was time for a change, so yesterday I painted it entirely black, then covered the shelves in some cool black-and-gold craft paper my sister sent me.
As anyone who has ever seen my rejection letter coffee table knows, I'm a huge fan of decoupage as a cheap, fast, foolproof decorating technique. This is extraordinarily easy to do.
(As you can see from these strangely non-fuzzy photos, I have a real, grown-up person's digital camera now, with a working flash and everything, thanks to my sister. It's an awesome camera. Samsung, adorable, blue, works a treat. Let's see how long it takes me to destroy this one.)
After removing the shelves and repainting the rest of the bookcase in solid black (I love acrylic paint -- it's cheap, it has good coverage, it's durable, it dries in no time, it's odorless, and it's endlessly forgiving of my half-assed painting skills), I cut the paper to fit the shelves. I covered the shelves with great gloopy handfuls of white school glue, then soaked the paper in water and applied it to the gluey shelves, making sure to smooth out all bubbles and wrinkles. (True decoupage usually involves small cut or torn pieces of paper applied in an overlapping fashion for more of a mosaic effect, as in my rejection letter coffee table. This is more like wallpapering, actually.) The moisture will make the paper expand some -- any overlap can be trimmed with a box cutter when the paper is dry and stiff. After the paper had dried, I covered it with a coat of varnish. The stuff I use (Delta Ceramcoat) is fast-drying, odorless, and costs about three bucks for an eight-ounce bottle, which should be enough to last until the end of time.
To lend a little cohesion to my living room, I used the same paper to cover the front panels on this... console thingy (I don't know what it is. Is it an old-timey telephone stand? Some kind of overly fussy media stand?), which I'd salvaged from the trash a few years back (no, I don't ever buy furniture. Why?). I also painted the hinges and clasps gold to match, then polished the whole thing until it gleamed.
Another example: here's an end table I embellished a few months ago. I painted the base with black acrylic paint, then covered the top with some pretty craft paper patterned with gold ginkgo leaves. Easy, breezy.
(Look closely. There appears to be a small, fuzzy, possibly dangerous and certainly flash-dazed beast of some kind lurking in the shadows behind the table. Strange.)