I was looking to brighten up my den, so I painted a dark shelf off-white and organized it. Here’s how to organize & remodel large built-in shelves.
Remodeling is a fun task that I love to get into. We have this large built-in shelf in our den that has become an eyesore. It really needs some love and care, especially some organization. I’ve been wanting to do something new for a while but didn’t know exactly what I wanted. It being right in our den where we see it every day, I wanted something that was pretty and nice to look at – NOT a storage area. Yep, these shelves were mainly used to house things like my son’s toys, drawings, puzzles, crayons…you name it, anything was game. So here I go planning on my remodel.
How to Organize & Remodel Large Built-in Shelves
Painting the shelves was not even in my thoughts until I saw a well-organized white shelf in one of my home decor magazines. It wasn’t as big as my shelves here, but it looked so nice and pretty and something I could do myself…so off I go to decide on the color.
Before I start, I want you all to know that I’ve never done this before and I made a few mistakes. Aww, the lessons we learn by listening to store clerks tell you how to do it and not doing your research first. I’m being snarky, because I got some wrong advice. Also, my husband was out of town and I wanted to surprise him with beautiful shelves, so he never even knew I was doing this, so I couldn’t ask him for his opinion or help.
Steps I Took
First, I sanded the whole shelf with a mild sanding brush. This is a crucial step, because later, after I finished, I realized I didn’t sand it enough and I didn’t get all the varnish off. How do I know? Because the paint is already coming off when I sit something down on it. Be sure to sand down your shelves, and I would go with a rougher sanding brush or block. Don’t be afraid to sand the varnish all away.
Second, as you can see one coat is not enough. The store clerk talked me into buying paint that already had primer in it and said this would save you a step, and that it should only need one coat. NOT. The next time I paint something like this, I’m using a primer first, like KILZ.
I chose an antique white, but after applying this first coat I realized the color might be too light. After the second coat was applied, I was right – too white for my walls. UGH.
I had some light brown paint leftover from when we painted the kitchen, so I mixed it with the antique white, slapped on a third coat only to find it’s still too white. So off I go to Ace Hardware to see if they can match the brown color I had, so I could mix more of it with the antique white. Ugh…this is taking way longer than I expected!! The clerk said it may not be a good idea to mix our paint with what I had because they use different chemicals. Well, hogwash, I did it anyways!
After four coats of paint, here’s the final color. Not even sure what to call it. A little off from what I wanted, but it looks nice and my husband likes it. After all that, I still got it finish before he got home.
Now to gather up all my favorite things around the house. I was trying to keep the colors white, off white, & ivory, but as you can see below, it didn’t work out that way this time around. Right now, I’ve got Christmas cheer up, and will change it all around after the holidays. I absolutely love to find vintage decor to mix with new decor. I’ve got plenty of small decor pieces to use first, then I will go shopping for new decor…that’s the fun part.
Our New Organized White Shelf with all our pretties
I’ve included a few family photos, my best decor, and as many vintage things I could find that I already had. A picture of my dad when he was just a boy (we lost him this past Sept, so this picture means a lot to me), several vases, stands, plates, candles, etc. I do plan to add to this!!!
Well, my mom came over for the holidays and said it was too busy!!! After the holidays it will look different. I’m sure I’ll constantly be changing things around.
How to Organize & Remodel Large Built-in Shelves was something I’ve been wanting to do for years and finally did it! What do you think of my shelf remodel? Are you working on any remodeling projects?