Friday, October 31, 2008

A wall of built-in bookshelves for less than $200

So far I've focused more on the clothing side of savvy shopping. Today I will do a post on one of our recent savvy home improvement projects. Homeschooling means LOTS of books, combine that with the Superstars' need to keep all their leisure reading books on the floor of their bedrooms, in their bed, under their bed and in their closets (regardless of having had bookshelves in their respsective rooms) we figured we could kill two birds with one stone with a wall of built-ins in the bonus room.

With a few ready-made MDF bookshelves from Big Lots (2 for $50) we were able to built this bookshelf in one weekend...well, uh, two weekends if you count the trim work we still have to do to finish it off!

AS A NOTE: this project is great for both a homeowner seeking to improve their home's value or for someone who leases or rents and needs the storage but A) doesn't want to spend a lot and B) can't make permanent changes to the house. No carpet was ripped out, and besides a few holes in the wall for securing the shelves, it will be easy to take out when it's time to move on and made to look "normal" again with just a little spackle and paint. If you can't paint because of the renter rules, you can always use the backboard pieces that come with this kind of shelf. We opted not to because we felt it looked more "built-in" with paint.

This was the empty space at the back of our bonus room where we had put a little play area for the girls. The cabinet and the kitchen set were thrift store finds that I paid less than $20 for...for both! I'll do a segment on that on a later blog.

Usually $29.99 each, they were on sale 2 for $50. As a bonus, we got the 5th bookshelf for $25 too, which isn't always a gimme. Sometimes they will only give you the discount if you buy the amount specified.

I loaded all 5 bookshelves in my van and drove home. They were easy to assemble and I was able to finish it all off in about an hour. All it took was my mini battery powered screwdriver.

The bookshelf came unassembled in a long, heavy thin boxes (top left of picture). Don't pay extra to get them assembled. Besides the obvious pain of trying to get them all home, it's so easy to do that even my 3 year old was able to help.

The girls fought over the screwdriver were happy to help.

And in no time we had all five bookshelves propped up against the wall for show!

I painted the back wall with some white semi-gloss paint we had in the garage.

My husband fastened the bookshelves to the wall with L-brackets (so the girls couldn't pull them down should they decide to use the shelves as a ladder to get to books higher up).

And Viola...built-book shelves for a fraction of the cost of custom made. Now all we have to do is add the trim at the top and bottom to make them look more finished.


This was a relatively easy project that I probably could've done without my husband's help, but it made it go much faster with his help...and of course my Superstars' help.


  1. You have inspired me to go check out my local thrift store. Maybe I will have an awesome store to tell!!