Cheap Bookcase Makeover that Doesn’t Look Cheap

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I am currently in the midst of renovating my home office, and one project I have wanted to tackle is this cheap bookcase makeover project. The project was taking a bit longer than anticipated because my almost-one-year-old is more mobile than ever and is keeping me occupied. Fortunately, my hubby and I had a block of time where we were able to knock out this cheap bookcase makeover project.

This easy and cheap bookcase makeover is one project of many in my home office renovation series. My end goal is to create an inspiring home office space where I feel excited to work in everyday. My hubby recently created a DIY board and batten grid accent wall in my home office which I am loving. It’s so serene and beautiful, and it only took us a weekend to tackle.


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I also recently created an office design board filled with Fixer Upper-inspired office furniture and decor finds all from Amazon. One of the furniture pieces on my design board is this holland bookcase, which I absolutely adore. I thought about purchasing it but decided I could use it as inspiration instead to makeover my standard 6′ bookcase. Here’s the holland bookcase I used as inspiration for my DIY project:


Bookcase from Amazon

Holland Bookcase

I love every aspect of this bookcase, but instead of making over my old, standard bookcase exactly like the holland bookcase, I decided to pick a few inspirational ideas and use those ideas to improve my bookcase. The main reason I stuck to tackling just a couple of inspirational ideas is I wanted to keep my makeover budget-friendly while still achieving the style of the holland bookcase.

I chose to focus my cheap bookcase makeover on the two-tone color combination and the crown molding at the top. I also decided to put my own spin on it and add four legs at the bottom instead of installing more molding.

Here’s the end result of my cheap bookcase makeover project:

A Brick Home: DIY cheap Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

I’m very pleased with the result! I think it definitely looks similar to the holland bookcase while still having its own look.

The below image is what my bookcase looked like before the makeover. I received this bookcase free several years ago from an employer. It was originally brown and very 70’s. I don’t have any pictures of the original brown bookcase because it didn’t stay brown very long. I decided to paint it white soon after I received it. It’s been a few years since I have done anything to it, and it was in need of a serious makeover.

You can see that it was in need of another coat of paint, especially at the bottom. You can also see the back panel board was bowing outward leaving gaps between the back panel board and each shelf.  

Here’s a closer image of the gap between the back panel board and a shelf:A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

I could have easily tossed this bookcase out and bought a new one, but I am so glad I decided to do a cheap bookcase makeover instead. I saved some serious money and still achieved a beautiful look.

Here is side-by-side of the before and after shots:

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

HERE’S AN EASY DIY BOOKCASE MAKEOVER TUTORIAL: 

1.GATHER MATERIALS 

For this project, you’ll need:

  • your bookcase 😉
  • four table legs (I used these)
  • four table leg brackets (I used these)
  • white paint
  • grey paint (I used Behr Sterling in Satin, which is the same paint I used for the board & batten grid wall that’s beside the bookcase)
  • 2 paint brushes
  • drill
  • caulk & caulk gun
  • crown molding
  • miter saw
  • wood filler
  • hammer
  • nails
  • sand paper

 

2. ADD LEGS

To give my standard bookcase a little more height and an additional esthetic element, I decided to secure four square legs to the bottom. Below are the legs I chose. I went ahead and painted them the same white color that I planned on painting my bookcase. That way, I wouldn’t have to try to paint them after they were added.A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

To secure the legs, Jason used his drill to screw on the four table leg brackets to each corner. From there, we simply screwed in each leg.

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

 

3. FILL HOLES WITH WOOD FILLER 

You’ll notice in the above picture that my bookcase is adjustable. It’s easy to move the shelves to varying heights just by moving the shelf clips to different holes. To give it a built-in look, I decided that I wanted to fill in all the holes and caulk the shelves to remain in a permanent position.

I spaced out the shelves exactly where I wanted them to sit, and then I used wood filler to fill all the remaining holes. The below image shows how the bookcase looked after I filled each hole with wood filler. Much cleaner! After the filler dried, I then sanded it a bit to eliminate any roughness.

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

 

4. INSTALL CROWN MOLDING

Now comes the fun part of my cheap bookcase makeover! Crown molding makes a huge difference. Jason helped cut and install the crown molding for this bookcase. He measured the three sides that show and cut 45 degree angles with a miter saw.

He then used a couple small nails and hammered them in the ends. You could absolutely use an air gun, but this was such a small project that it didn’t make sense to lug the compressor upstairs just to shoot a couple nails in. So, we opted for the old fashion hammer and nail combo.





5. CAULK CROWN MOLDING AND SHELVES 

To give it a finished look, Jason caulked the seams. We did have to hammer in a few nails to secure the back panel board to each shelf before caulking the shelves to the back panel. It was bowing so bad that caulk alone wouldn’t do the trick.

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

 

6. PAINT

You can tell in the pictures that I had already done one coat of paint prior to Jason caulking. See the grey paint on the back panel board above? You can be impatient like me and paint in between tasks, or you can wait until the caulking is complete and dry to paint. I ended up doing a final coat of paint everywhere after the caulk dried so it didn’t really make sense for me to paint beforehand. I’m just so impatient! I’m trying to work on that… 😉

I tuned in the holland bookcase look and decided to opt for a two-tone look. While the holland bookcase has a darker grey on the back, I chose a bit of a lighter tone. Actually, I chose the same exact color that we used for our DIY board & batten grid accent wall for a couple reasons. First, I had some paint leftover so it was a budget-conscious choice and, second, I wanted them to match. I love that the grey tone on the bookcase is the same one on the board & batten wall.

Here’s the final result:

A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

I am swooning over the result! So pretty. Now, time to decorate!A Brick Home: DIY Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

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A Brick Home: DIY cheap Bookcase Makeover, bookcase ideas, how to upcycle bookcase, diy bookshelves makeover tutorial

Marly Dice
Marly is the founder of A Brick Home, a blog about home renovation, DIY projects, and decorating ideas. A Brick Home helps readers create their version of a beautiful and thriving home on a budget. Marly has had a passion for beautiful home living since she can remember. Even when she used to work in the corporate world as a marketer, she spent her evenings and weekends creating an inspired home space one DIY project at a time. Marly also has a passion for everything blogging-related. She often outlines blogging tips and strategies to help others achieve their blogging goals.

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