Category Archives: Before and After

Thrift Store Bookshelf Makeover

I found this solid wood bookshelf at our local Habitat for Humanity for $12 and snatched it up quick.  It wasn’t in amazing shape, but bookshelves are usually not hard to revamp and being solid wood it was well worth the money.  Most importantly, I already knew where I wanted to use it from the moment I spotted it.

bookshelf beforeAt first glance I figured it would need another shelf to even out the large gap at the top and several of the shelves would need replacement trim.  I also knew the scrolled detail at the top would have to go bye bye.

bookshelf in progress 1Here it is with a new shelf added to even out the top area (I just eyeballed it’s placement since none of the other shelves are evenly spaced), wider trim placed around each of the shelves to make them match and the top trimmed out fix the odd extension of the legs above the top shelf.  Loads of wood filler filled all the gaps.

side view book shelfSide view.  The detail on the legs were one of the things that drew me to the shelf in the first place.    All the new trim was attached with wood glue and nails.  Also,  I was able to use scrap wood for everything on this project, so my out of pocket for the revamp was zero which is always nice.

book shelf 3This is it after top was added and lots and lots of sanding.  With the big mix of all the woods (some of the original shelves had been replaced with different wood in addition to the new trim) I knew staining it was out of the question.

side view bookshelf 2Side view with the top in place.  The top is actually a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood finished with veneer edge banding,  I love that stuff.  Super easy to apply using a household iron and then you just trim it down with a box knife.  After a little sanding it looks just like a solid piece of wood.

black paint bookshelf

A few coats of Deep Onyx paint from Behr later.  I really love this black and will have to keep myself from painting everything in the house my new favorite color.

distressed bookshelf

To bring out a little bit of the detail in the legs and keep it from being just another painted piece I did just a little bit of distressing.  The distressing helped to age the newer wood to match the older more worn original wood.  I applied a little stain to the exposed wood and then wiped it down.   A good tip for applying stain to those smaller distressed areas is to use a stain pen which will help keep the stain just where you want it.

finished bookshelfI finished the shelf with a coat of wax before relocating it to it’s new home in the downstairs half bath.  It’s a small, windowless bathroom which makes it fairly difficult to get good pictures, but I was genuinely too lazy to stage it somewhere better lit only to remove everything and move it again.  No thank you.

finished bookshelf 2An up-close of the distressing.  I had to play with the stain colors on the shelves to match the legs.  The original wood stained darker and absorbed the stain more quickly than the new wood, so I played with the colors I had on hand until it darkened to a similar color.


Not bad for $12 and a couple hours on a Saturday, huh.  I love it when I find bargains for real wood items at our local thrift stores, which doesn’t happen very often up here.


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Hope Chest Makeover

This poor old hope chest had definitely seen better days.  It’s lived at the end of our bed for at least 5 or 6 years and slowly accumulated more scratches and dings over time.  I never really paid much attention to it, even in it’s sad, pathetic state, until I started working on our bedroom and then it really began to stand out.  I realized I couldn’t ignore it any longer and would need to decide on how to revive the piece.

IMG_8476I actually remembered to take some before photos on this project .  Woo-hoo!  That is an accomplishment all on it’s own.

hope chest beforeThe cherry wood color really didn’t work in our room any longer (you know cause it totally worked in the completely mis-matched anything goes style I had going on in the room before :) ) and with all the scratches and dings I figured painting would be an easier fix than attempting to strip and refinish it.  If it was made from real wood, I would have definitely been more inclined to take the more difficult route.

I had plenty of the Deep Onyx paint leftover from the Media Cabinet, so the base color was an easy choice.  I love the deep, rich almost black color.  To prep the piece, I sanded and de-glossed it to ready it for paint.  It took 3 thinly applied coats to get really good, smooth coverage.

hope chest makeover2The next step was to hide the curvy trim around the base.   I used some of the leftover baseboard pulled out from our bedroom to trim out the bottom of the chest.  Adding this detail beefed up the bottom of the chest and helped it to coordinate a little more with the TV cabinet.

hope chest makeover 3And, finally I added the boards to the inside of the trimmed out boxes on each side of the chest.  The boards replicated the pattern used in our headboard.  The main difference being I used 1/4″ thick scrap pieces and cut them to various widths vs 3/4″ used in the headboard.  The pieces were glued into place with wood glue after the stain was applied.

hopechestmakeoverI still need to apply a wax top coat to the lid, but have to wait for the paint to fully cure before I can finish that step.  This makeover was completed over this past weekend (minus the waxing), which makes it a short and sweet project in my book.

I really love the finished piece and am so happy that I was able to take something that I chose to ignore most days and turn it into something worth looking at everyday.

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