Bringing The Beach Inside: The Shabby Chic Book Shelves Makeover

shabby chic bookshelves refinish

I’ve been busy beaching up our new home, and with four kids in the mix, it sure isn’t an easy task. After finally painting all rooms a beachy blue except for the bathrooms and the kitchen, I finally moved on to the first pieces of furniture that needed a shabby chic makeover.

This is my first time refinishing furniture, and the task seemed daunting at first. I spent hours sanding down the first old bookshelf only to realize that I could not sand everything down as some of the particleboard was too thin. When I began painting with the chalk paint, everything seemed to turn out the same.

book shelf refinishing

So, when it came to the second bookshelf I simply just painted it, and they turned out the same without the messy, time-consuming work of having to sand it down.

I used an antique white chalk paint that I bought at ALDI a while back. I used four cans at about $4 each, so for $20 and a lot of work I got the job done.

We bought the bookshelves on Craigslist at $30 for the set, and they made it up here in the moving truck. Most of our furniture is second-hand furniture, because it seems that we can get better quality furniture for a better price than purchasing some of the new junk that’s out there.

book-shelf-refinishing project

We used to have the bookshelves in a dark hallway, but in our new home we’ve turned the open concept dining room into a much more needed office, and the shelves had to be lightened.

I am now on the hunt for a third book shelf, but I want a quality wood one that I can paint blue of some sort to match the decor. It feels so good to be rid of some of the many boxes we had the books in, but there are still boxes that need to be emptied, as we got rid of a third bookshelf before we moved.


My husband was not too fond of the new look initially, but then I showed him a few shabby chic photos of what I wanted it to look like, and he’s begun to warm up. On the other hand, the kids love it, although they were skeptical when I first started painting. They are all on board with bringing the beach inside though, so now that the job is done, they’re ready for me to attack the next dark piece of furniture.

What do you think of the new look?

7 thoughts on “Bringing The Beach Inside: The Shabby Chic Book Shelves Makeover”

  1. Very nice! Love the beachy feel. As a book lover, I love a nice set of bookcases. I just re-did a set for our “study” in a darker wood color to flow with the desk and table in the same room.

    1. Mary I agree, bookcases are a big love of mine too, and my oldest son is a constant reader, so we’re filling them up quickly. We turned our “dining room” into an office, and now we have almost all books in one place. The kids call it the library.

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I agree, I thought I had to sand everything, but it was a lesson learned that I don’t regret. I’ve refinished tow pieces of furniture since, and it was much less time consuming without having to sand.

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