And after two coats of paint, it was looking a bit diseased.
I looked for some inexpensive patterned wrapping paper to cover the back of the shelf. Couldn't find anything good so I settled for a $1.99 roll of white wrapping paper. That didn't work because you could see the ugly paint job through the cheap paper.
So, I decided to try a few more coats of paint and see if I could still manage something with the paint I already had.
I solved the problem and my DIY failure has become one of my favorite projects!
After several billion coats of paint, the white base coat was finally looking good. Not perfect, but good.
I painted a lattice pattern in a pale green. And now the bookshelf looks awesome.
The lattice pattern mimics the pattern in the pillows on the bed and it's the same pattern hanging on the wall in the living room. You can see both at the same time from the hallway.
I love it!
(And now I don't feel like a big failure anymore.)