Friday, February 20, 2015

Knocking off Pottery Barn

Oh Pottery Barn, everyone loves you. But unfortunately not everyone can have you because of your hefty price tag. Nothing like a little "elbow grease" to fix that problem. Put in the time and the effort and you can achieve a trendy, well decorated home for super cheap. The above bookshelves cost me $80 total ,and with two white bookshelves you could do something like a library or something like
this awesome built in entertainment center from The House of Rose.
I had pinned something like the above picture, (there are a ton of ideas on Pinterest on how to take two bookshelves and make a custom entertainment center), and have been on the lookout for two matching bookshelves that are affordable. Then I figured that once I found the bookshelves I was going to get a dresser and do something like this from At the Park's

to be the center section of the entertainment center. All I would then have left to do is add bead board above the dresser and between the bookshelves, make a wood ledge to go over that space, and hang the tv. Sounds so magical doesn't it?

Well I found these bookshelves on Craigslist for $60, and got all excited. $30 for a tall bookshelf that I liked was worth getting excited about x2. Plus, I only really buy things within 20 minutes and these were within my comfy driving distance range.
We picked them up that night...I was all worried someone was gonna get them before me...and then started the brainstorming process. I knew that there was truly no space in our house to really accommodate these so I knew these would be a for sale type of project. I thought about getting a dresser for the center part of the entertainment center, and even had a free one down the street lined up to transform. However, there was a large chance this would be limiting my potential customers, since most people don't have that amount of room for their TV area.

So I wanted to go generic enough that it would appeal to a large audience. In the end I kind of regret not going a little more unique, but oh well.

I was deciding between java gel stain (or the espresso look) or painting them white. I asked all of my FB friends and surprisingly the espresso won by a landslide. However, I was lazy and thought that since I had the paint already, and my trusty Wagner paint sprayer, that painting would be the easier route. Then after I saw the below picture on Pottery Barn's site for over $400 for one shelf, my decision was made.
Like I said earlier though, I kind of regret going with white on white. I should have done a gray backing with the white, or heck the gel stain might have been easier too. Who really knows. But I think they turned out cute with the bead board replacing the cheap backing; and white is classic, right?
 Here is a shot of the backing prior to unscrewing and replacing with two cutouts of bead board.
First, I took out all of the shelves, except for the ones that I couldn't, and did a very light sanding of the entire unit, and the tops and bottoms of the shelves (used 150 grit). After wiping them all clean I screwed the bead boad to the backs of the shelves and went to spraying the shelves with an interior latex semi-white paint. Because I was dumb (lazy) I didn't prime the shelves first. According to articles I read I didn't have to in this case, but in retrospect I could have gotten away with less coats of paint and probably wouldn't have had to use polycrylic over the top. Oh well, live and learn.

So in the end I spent $60 (shelves) + $20 (bead board sheet) = $80. If you don't already have the paint you can add in about $30 for a gallon of paint which would definitely allow you to have plenty of leftover for future projects.

I was happy to see them go to a wonderful lady not far from me who had room in her home for them. I love craigslist and facebook selling sites. I have met so many cool people through buying and selling things locally.

And once again, here they are in all of their glory.

Have any of you used bead board for a project? What did you use it for? Doesn't it just add so much! Please comment below because I love hearing (and learning) from you!



  1. Hi Mimi, I just love your idea of using Bead Board for the backing; I would have gone for some fabric or wallpaper covering - but LOVE your idea of the Bead Board. I can't tell if there is some sort of trim board on the front (top) or if it was there already. Either way, LOVE the finished product and white all around was a great idea!.

    1. Thank you so much! Compared to the flimsy backing furniture from Target and other big stores have, the bead board adds stability and strength.


Comments make my day so please say hello and let me know what you think!