How to Create Stylish Built-ins from Simple Inexpensive Bookcases

04 April
Part of my living room makeover was to find a way to make it look less... ummmm... scattered?

I have a lot of decor items that I love but they were scattered all about the room... on a shelf here, a side table there, and it just felt a little disheveled and haphazard... and it was, to be honest!

I would find things while I was out thrifting, fall in love, buy it, bring it home and then think... now, where am I going to put this? And it just ended up somewhere without a whole lot of thought.

I found several inspiration pictures on Pinterest that featured long, low bookcases. See them HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE

So, I wanted to use these inspiration pictures and create my own bookshelves but give them an updated, more expensive, built-in look.

Create stylish built-ins from simple inexpensive bookcases

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I purchased three relatively inexpensive, white 3-shelf bookcases from Walmart.

inexpensive bookcases from walmart

It took about 20 minutes each to put them together, very simple!

Mainstays bookcase

Then I lined them up on the wall like the inspiration pictures.


Then I purchased two white laminate shelves from Home Depot and had them cut in the store so I could build a top for my bookcases. They didn't have one board that would be long enough and even if they did it would have been way too long to haul in my pickup! So I had to buy two and have them cut so the seam would be in the middle of my bookcases.

joining shelves together

I glued the two pieces of wood together at the seam and then used this plate thingy with some screws to attach the two shelving pieces together to form one.

joining two pieces of wood

I added some molding around the edge and put it on top of my bookcases!

bookcase top

bookcase top with molding

I put a couple of screws inside the bookcases mostly to keep the fronts lined up, they wouldn't sit evenly on the carpet. I just put the screws into a couple of the predrilled holes for the shelf brackets.

screw the bookcases together

Now was the fun part... and the hardest too! I suck at decorating bookshelves! This took me 2 days! 😬

styled bookcase

I started by hanging these baskets I found at the thrift store. I really like the basket walls I'm seeing all over Pinterest!

Baskets on the wall

Then I added two large jars with some twinkle fairy lights inside. These lights are remote controlled too! I'll share a link below the post.

twinkle lights in jars

You might remember this vintage Harnett picture from Treasure Trove Tuesday. I also had this old frame. I had them stored in my spare bedroom for awhile and I had leaned the girl up against the wall and then was trying to get to something else and had to move the frame so I leaned it up in front of the girl and they just looked so pretty together that I decided to do the same thing here!

vintage picture and old frame

bookshelves styled with boho treasures

I made the shell display here: Repurposed Fish Tank.

bookshelf decor

bookcase decoration

boho styled bookshelves

bohemian bookcases

styled book shelves

I took my plants out of the window and put them on a couple of vintage stools.

plants on stools

As a reminder, here is what this same wall looked like before I started my living room makeover!

living room wall before

And here it is after! Whoa! What a change right?!

You can see the faux brick wall process posts here: Living Room Makeover - Faux Brick Wall and Living Room Makeover - German Schmear Faux Brick Wall

living room wall after

If you like this look and want to copy cat, you can shop my living room here!

Brass Candle Lantern (I got mine on clearance at Home Goods, there are similar ones HERE)
Vintage Baskets
Harnett Girl Picture
Wooden Ampersand (TJMaxx find, THIS one is cool!)
Poseable Artist's Hand
Large Jars (from a garage sale and thrift shop, there are lots HERE)
Fairy Twinkle Lights (with remote control!)
Glass Grapes (from a garage sale but there are so many colors HERE!)
Deer Antler (gifted from a friend, similar HERE)
Wood Bead Garland (I made mine but there are similar ones HERE)
Footed Glass Globe Planter
The New Bohemians Book
Domino Books
Pottery Barn Books
Butterfly Specimen (garage sale find, similar HERE)
Wood Inlaid Tray (thrifted, lots of pretty trays HERE)
Brass Planter (thrifted, tons of beautiful ones HERE)
Cactus Figurines (TJMaxx find, lots HERE)

How to Create Stylish Built-ins from Simple Inexpensive Bookcases

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