diy : how to refurbish a bookshelf
our refurbished bookshelf keeps the space light and bright, while providing needed storage & a display of our personalities
When I originally bought this bookshelf, I was in a dark browns with bright yellow stage of my life (seriously, we had a bright yellow & orange accent wall in the living room). And then we moved into our mid-century modern house with windows everywhere, the griege trend came in, and all I wanted were light & bright pieces to brighten the room. The best part about paint, is it can completely change the look at a reasonable cost and you get to pick the exact look you want.
So, I'll be honest with you - this project took me much longer than I originally expected. Some of it was simply because of my inexperience with working with a paint sprayer. But after a couple of full weekends and a lot of sanding, it ended up coming out exactly the way I had envisioned.
First, I highly recommend a paint sprayer for large pieces of furniture. It will give the piece a professional finished look, rather than having visible brush strokes. If you do end up brushing the paint on, I recommend using a paint conditioner that thins out the paint without diluting it. Here are the steps that we took:
1. Take out the shelves & the back panels if they come off. This will make it easier to paint.
2. Sand the entire piece well. You want to make sure that you get off all of the top coat varnish, otherwise the paint will end up peeling over time.
3. Pick out a paint color that works well in the space. If you can, test it on the back panels and place these in the location that it will be in in the house to test the color in the lighting & against your other furniture. We tested out quite a few colors, and ended up going with baltic grey, by Benjamin Moore. I used a semi-gloss because I wanted something that was easy to clean.
4. If you want a contrasted back panel, which is what we did, pick this out now to tie back to the paint color. I wanted a little bit of shine & absolutely love the look of grasscloth, so I picked a gold-silver, slightly metallic grasscloth from joann fabrics.
5. Next, lay down as much plastic as you possibly can before spraying. The spray will blow much farther than you expect.. Trust me, our driveway is now speckled grey. Make sure you are spraying on a day with no wind, because even the slightest wind will affect the spray.
6. Start spraying. You will want to use fluid movements to prevent drips. The key is to start & stop before & after the piece so the spray is even across the surface. The process will require some patience as you'll want to wait for the paint to dry between coats to avoid drips. If you do get a drip, I would suggest wiping quickly with a rag before it dries - these are very hard to sand out.
7. Once the paint has dried, lightly sand with steel wool to create a smooth surface. For rougher areas, I suggest a medium to course grade. Once all of the roughness is taken down, follow-up with a fine grade steel wool. I buy these in an assortment pack from ace hardware or home depot.
8. Next up, wallpaper the back panels. Each wallpaper has its own instructions, so make sure you reference those before starting. Cut the wallpaper to size with an exacto knife before starting on the paste. We used zinsser sure grip heavy duty wallcovering adhesive, a heavy nap paint roller, and a wallcovering smoothing tool to get out all of the bubbles. Add the adhesive to your paint tray and roll directly onto the wallpaper. Make sure to get all of the corners and edges well. Then flip onto your board, matching up the edges. Slowly "scrap" the wallpaper from the middle to the edge with the smoothing tool. Do this across the entire board.
9. Once everything has dried overnight, reattach the back panels to the bookshelf and add the shelves back into place. You may want to change the levels and space in-between once you start styling.
10. Now the fun part. Style away!