Google+  with milk and sugar blog: Bookcase Restyling

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bookcase Restyling

hello world. I hope you're prepared, this post is a long one.


This project has been a long time coming.

You see these bookcases have been calling my name, begging me to make them pretty for months now.

I found them at Target about 3 years ago when we had just started to settle into our place after nearly 6 months of heavy remodeling {will post more on this later}.

Needless to say, the bookcases were my attempt to fill a large empty space and store everything from books to photo frames to candles and knick knacks. Here are the "before" pictures.

They were a quick fix, and I do love how they fit perfectly right beneath the stair rail and leave little pockets of the wall as a perfect showcase for special photos.  But, over the years they've gathered more and more STUFF and turned into a black hole of sorts. They are a bit heavy looking, and much too dark for our small space.

I've been "pinning" different inspirations of bookcase stylings for the last few months, trying to figure out what I'll do with them.

I decided that first things first, I needed to remove the backing. The bookcases are particle board, which doesn't look that bad except for the backing. It is that fold down the middle, half a centimeter thick, barely wood, type of wood backing. Once I unscrewed the back board and left it open to the wall it looked so much better! It's a wonder what a little subtraction really adds sometimes.

Next, it was time to get rid of all that STUFF. I have dozens of books, some from school, others for personal reading, and others I haven't even read (awful, I know!). I tend to keep things for a long time, but once I get the urge to purge I just go with it. I become the most indiscriminate organizer ever. I will get rid of everything. Even things I once considered sentimental. But for this project, I didn't intend to really get rid of that much, just decide what should be displayed and what can be in storage.

Even though I wanted to clear out a majority of the books and trinkets, I still wanted to add some new items to bring everything together. I've been looking for some decorative items to display for the last few months. I've searched high and low at thrift stores, craft fairs, etc, trying to find unique items that would add some intrigue but still go with our style. I've had no such luck. It doesn't help that I'm a bad shopper. I desperately wish I could have that eye for shopping, to find the one unique piece of beauty in a pile of junk. Instead I usually buy front of the store items, the ones on display and styled the way I like. They are also more expensive.

Since I couldn't find any one of a kind, vintage items, I headed to Michaels for some help. They were having a great sale and along with my 40% off coupon I found some great deals. Steven was surprised when I came home with these ceramic birds. We recently started watching Portlandia and since then always make the "It's a bird, it's art" joke. If you haven't seen the show, be advised, it's definitely on the weird, out there side. But we found it hilarious at times, especially since we both love Portland.

So here is how the bookcases look currently. I'll probably be updating it little by little over the next few weeks. I still have a couple ideas for items I am keeping my eyes open for.



  1. The bookshelf looks amazing!!! You have a wonderful eye for design and writing. It has inspired me to add a bit of style to my bookshelf at home. Thank you!

  2. I saw the "put a bird on it!" video clip from Portlandia a few days ago and that's the first thing I thought when I saw that bird. I love it. I am thinking about eventually doing wooden apple crate shelves somewhere and I will be wanting your opinion of how to place things on them (once the kids are past their climbing/grabbing stage of course!).

  3. Wow - you were right about the backing. The bookcases look much more cheerful and open when the walls shine through. Great transformation.


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