Making over a blah 1980s bookshelf

When we lived in the shack at the lake (its House Hunters alias), space was at a premium, so we filled just about every nook of the house with shelves we found at Goodwill and salvaged from the side of the road.

Among the shelf collection was this very unassuming, boring shelf which served as our pantry for a year:Bookshelf Before

Sorry for the terrible picture.  I didn’t realize it was fuzzy until I started editing it, but by then, it was too late: the bookshelf had gone from caterpillar to butterfly!

After serving faithfully as a lowly pantry, this little shelf deserved a makeover.  It had done so much for others; it was time for it to have a little time for itself.

My first issue with it was that it lacked serious drama.  I hate drama in real life, but I love me some furniture drama!  I found little legs at Lowes for under $3, drilled a pilot hole, and attached the legs.


Tada!  Instant drama!  Then, I gave the whole shelf a quick coat of Paris Grey Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I always paint furniture upside down; it makes reaching awkward places, like the back of legs, less cumbersome.

Bookshelf Gray paint

I painted one full coat and a very lazy half-coat.  Annie Sloan paint dries so fast that I could finished both coats within 45 minutes.  Because I like a textured finish, I distressed the paint just a tiny bit using 220 grit paper.

I have little experience with dark wax, but I wanted to give it a shot to give the piece an antiqued look.  I’ll be honest: it’s more difficult to work with than clear wax.  I brushed it on lightly with a paint brush (see below) and then buffed it into the wood.


The key to dark wax is to put it on pretty lightly and to buff in small sections.  If it goes on too thickly, it is difficult to spread it out somewhat evenly.  I wasn’t going for a totally even look, but I also didn’t want big streaks.

Close Up

This is how the finish turned out after wax and distressing. It has a textured, slightly worn look.

Bookshelf After

Boring 1980s bookshelf no more!

Bookshelf After2

PS – If you look closely, you’ll see really sloppy paint on the wall.  Taping off the wall when I painted the baseboards didn’t seem like a good use of my time since the whole wall will get painted soon.  Until then, it will remain apologetically messy!

Isn’t it amazing what legs and a little paint can do?  This makeover took less than 2 hours from start to finish.

Time to find more junk to paint!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s