An Accidental Epiphany

bookshelf before after collage

So remember the little wooden bookshelf that I bought for really cheap last March as I frantically tried to make our house look inhabited before anyone saw it? I actually bought it for between the trapezoid windows in the living/dining room, but when I got it home it looked super dwarfed in that tall space. So, it got thrown next to the couch, sideways as an end table until about last month when I scored a night stand at Goodwill that I painted purple.

I didn’t really have a place for the bookcase, so I threw it in the yellow spare room and didn’t really think about where else I could put it at all. Then I took house tour pictures this weekend and I shoved it out into the hallway under my paint chip “art” while I photographed the yellow room. I got lazy and left it there for a day or two because I was way more excited about uploading my pictures than moving stuff back to where it belonged. I was totally planning on moving it back to its for-now home in the yellow room, but then Kreig asked me what I was going to put on it. Huh? What do you mean put on it? He thought I was leaving it there…. Oh my goodness, what a good idea! The size was perfect too.


The funniest thing is that this summer, when I decorated the hallway, I wanted a console table right there. I couldn’t find anything for a decent price that was narrow enough, so I spent a good two weeks brainstorming how we could make one. I had this whole idea of using pipes for the legs, with a painted wood top… and we even went to Lowe’s specifically to look for supplies for it… but Kreig and I couldn’t agree on it, and apparently my design wouldn’t have been structurally sound or something (that’s life married to a shop teacher). I ended up being discouraged and sick of trying to figure it out, so I gave up and haven’t thought too much about it since then. So I think it’s hilarious that I found my table (bookcase) by moving something out of my way…. and that I needed Kreig to say something for it to slap me in the face!

So anyway, after I had this husband-induced epiphany, I knew right away I needed to paint it black. So I roughed it up with some sand paper.


And gave it two coats of Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer semi-gloss paint in black. I don’t know what the actual paint name is — I just asked for “black black.”


Then I knew I wanted some kind of backing for the shelves, because the cold air return stuck out like a sore thumb, and I generally think that shelving units look more expensive and finished if they aren’t open. I had some wallpaper that looks like bead board laying around, and I knew that would look good but I was worried about the durability. So I glued it to poster board just to add a little thickness and structure. Cardboard would probably be a better option, but I couldn’t find a piece big enough.

I just measured the size of the opening and cut my poster board to size. I had to piece two sheets together to get the length I needed. Since this whole thing was inspired by my man, I figured I should use duct tape in his honor too. :-) So here’s my poster boards taped together.


Then I cut my wallpaper to size by tracing the posterboard’s dimensions onto it.


I needed two pieces of wallpaper as well, so I trimmed it right in one of the little indented lines (is there a proper name for those lines?) to hide the seam.


Then I rolled boarder adhesive all over the posterboards and stuck the wallpaper pieces to it. I actually think the wallpaper has adhesive if you remove the backing, but I am terrible at getting stuff like that to stick without bubbling up. Don’t ask me to put a screen protector on your phone. Or vinyl on your racecar.


And there you have it… looks like beadboard, right?!


I rolled that with two coats of my black paint as well.


I didn’t get any pictures of the attachment process, but I just used a staple gun to staple the paper to the back of the stand. And I painted the back of the paper once it was on as well, because I could see white peeking out from behind and it bugged me.

So here’s the finished product! I threw some random stuff on there to fill space, so who know’s what will actually end up there…. but I am definitely diggin’ the plant and books.


Here’s the view down the hall now.


And here’s a little side-angle that you see if you are standing in the doorway to the purple room.


What do you think?

bookshelf before after collage

Doesn’t the backing make all the difference in the before and afters? And don’t worry Dad, the cold air return still has space for air to flow out because the quarter-round molding creates a little gap between the bookcase and the wall.

Linking up with Serenity Now Blog, Tatertots and Jello and Thrifty Decor Chick

7 thoughts on “An Accidental Epiphany

  1. hannah stockledger says:

    Good job toots,i’m impressed with your resourcefulness once again.just love ya.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Your house is super adorable! I am nominating you to recieve the Liebster Award. Head over to my blog at to get all of the details. I hope you join in the fun!

  3. Aunt Mame says:

    You crack me up! You made the piece look soooo much better…and you know how much I love black furniture! Grampa Dauphin is smiling down on this one…because that is how he rolled…he once incorporated a cardboard florist box into a vanity makeover for your mother when she was younger. I saw him do it…and I thought he was BRILLIANT! I definitely get those genes from him…so you probably have an extra scoop of his DNA too! He would have loved all of your creativity! <3

  4. danandmariel says:

    What a great tutorial! I would love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at ‘Or so she says …’ Hope to see you there!

  5. Heroth Home says:

    […] to notice them on his parents’ porch last week — the same day I was going to paint my bookcase.  As we walked by them he said “we should do something with those bricks… what can we […]

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