Bippity Boppity…Bookshelf

Picking up right up where I left off yesterday, Mom and I were stuck twiddling our thumbs (aka doing a bunch of other projects) and prepping for the bookshelf’s much anticipated arrival.

We had a pretty busy afternoon after purchasing the bookshelf and setting up delivery. We hit up all the other thrift stores in the area and ended up with new Target curtains from Salvation Army, a curtain rod, paint chips, and painting supplies from Home Depot, and solidified plans for our weekend sewing projects.

Choosing a color for the new bookshelf was a really tough decision (especially because I didn’t take a photo of the bookshelf at the store and I was having trouble picturing it painted). We contemplated white, navy blue, light grey and dark grey. We considered a contrasting back panel, but ultimately decided against it. If we changed our minds, I could easily go back and add a fun color later.

After bringing our paint chips home and comparing them to the walls, the new grey chair and the rest of the decor, we decided that the light grey was the way to go. The color was actually something we considered for our walls when we first moved in, but it looked so dark next to perky Rocky Mountain Sky that we crossed it off the list right away. We actually used the remainder of that test pot for the kitchen stencil. (We hate to waste things around here…besides I don’t have room to store it all!)

The winning color was Behr Pewter Mug.

Pewter Mug

Mom and I were sitting around desperate to paint something that hadn’t arrived yet, when Mom had a brilliant idea, “Why don’t we paint the TV cabinet?!”

We were both less than enthralled by the current TV cabinet after seeing the far superior antique pieces at Housing Works, and this was a perfect solution! It was an odd orangey stain that didn’t really mesh with the rest of the room and I would have been happy to get rid of it, but I was quickly realizing how quickly furniture acquisition can add up in NYC.

We had already purchased all the supplies we needed to paint the bookshelf, so why not break them in on this guy?!


I had to go WAY back to find a photo of the cabinet. I think this side of the room was the last side to develop and I wasn’t into photographing it…yet.

As you can see the cabinet has good bones and pretty lines. It was just the color that wasn’t exactly jiving with the rest of the look I was trying to achieve.

We immediately jumped into DIY mode, taping the floor, detaching doors and hardware, lightly sanding over the glossy top coat, and wiping the dust away with a soft rag. This way our paint would have a chance to adhere to the once resistant surface. Oh, and then after we were halfway done painting I remembered to take a photo:


We decided to leave the top of the cabinet its original color (which really toned down the orange next to the grey). I think it turned out looking very classy.

We sanded and painted the doors on the kitchen table. We added a tarp over the wood and a plastic sheet under our feet. Miraculously we did not get any paint on the floor or the table!

By the time we finished, it was dark outside and my photography was suffering, but it’s still worth sharing the first true “after” photo.


Doesn’t it look like an entirely different piece of furniture?! It’s now one of my favorite items in the room…which is convenient because it sits under the item we stare at most often for the majority of our time spent living in this room.

I feel like this post should stop here, but then I haven’t even covered the rest of the bookshelf debacle and I promised a reveal yesterday.

Here goes…

Monday morning (the day we had been waiting for), I had my phone volume turned all the way up so that I knew the moment the movers arrived.

Naturally, I still missed his first call. He left an alarming voicemail letting me know that the bookshelf was broken when he went to pick it up and he wanted to know if I still wanted it. What?!!!!

By the time I was able to connect with him, he had decided to go ahead with delivery and was on his way to my apartment. He said that a shelf was broken (but since he was an outside entity not affiliated with Housing Works, there wasn’t anything he could do to help me out (like offering me a discount), and I said not to worry we would figure it out when he got here. I can deal with replacing a shelf, right? (Trying to take deep breaths at this point).

Delivery went pretty smoothly with only one mover, and to my frustration he seemed extremely surprised to receive a tip on top of his requested fee (110 dollars – almost as much as the bookcase…I know!). I never know when to tip in NYC, so I usually err on the side of over tipping. In the end, I was relieved to have my new treasure in my home and I guess it was good karma that I made his day by over-paying him.


Mom and I used a slightly different technique to prep the wood this time around. I dug out my Rustoleum cabinet painting kit’s “de-glosser” (intended for my kitchen – but still hiding in the closet until I got up the nerve and made a decision) and we scrubbed away.

We also used a putty knife to remove the odd curly metal pieces and then filled the holes with wood filler and sanded it flush before applying any paint. Getting rid of those guys made a big difference to me!

The Rustoleum process went fairly smoothly with our rubber gloves and scouring pads. We could see the finish dull and once the stain started to come off the wood we knew we were getting the job done. It required a lot more elbow grease than the sanding block method we used on the tv cabinet, but there was far less dust and mess to clean up afterward with this method.

We used small rollers and foam brushes to apply the paint, and at the last minute decided to leave the back panel in its original wood tone (hoping to pair the shelf and the tv cabinet). Besides, my husband loves rich wood stains and I think he would like this contrast better than none at all.

The details in the wood really started to pop with the lighter color allowing them to show off. All of a sudden, this bookshelf that once looked so dark and burly (as if it came from a pirate ship) felt airy and classic.


As you can see, we left off the broken shelf and luckily that allowed our tall barware to live on the bottom level. The bookshelf styling was far from finished in this photo, but it was a start.

I have more details to share about the finishing touches and my adventures in bookshelf styling, but it looks like that will have to wait to tomorrow since I’m already over 1100 words AGAIN!

I’ll leave you with some “Classic Melissa” room photos with clutter abounding. You’d think I would have learned, but as I always condition these – I was NOT dreaming of blogging at the time. Otherwise, I would have tried a lot harder! ;)




6 thoughts on “Bippity Boppity…Bookshelf

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