I once read that when painting furniture, you should choose decent pieces to begin with. I’m not entirely sure what the definition of decent was, I suspect the author was referring to the overall shape and style. But when it comes to substance … they don’t get any more solid than my pine bookcase. Functional, practical, but uninspiring would be an apt description for the little place where my books are kept. So here is my simple guide on how to makeover a pine bookcase.
Unfortunately I don’t have a before photo but here are some pretty close examples of what it looked like before I painted it. The orangery pine colour has had its day – it was time for a change. But as we had just replaced our hot-water system, there was no way I was getting a new bookcase … time to makeover what we already had!
Once I had sanded off all the varnish, I started with a decent undercoat as I was concerned about bleed-through from the pine wood. Priming is also an important step to ensure the paints bonds properly with the wood.
This was the first makeover I had attempted on a large piece of furniture, which would sit in a prominent position in our lounge room. So I stuck with basic white (I experimented with colour on my daughters bookcase, which didn’t go as well but I’ll share that story another time).
I applied two coats of paint, lightly sanding in-between each coat using 210 grade-sandpaper to help give a smooth finish.
I had a good feeling about painting this bookcase. I really loved the detailing … the fluted panels down the side and the tiered base and top, which gave to bookcase character. I knew that I would be distressing the bookcase (see here for more detail) … for a more relaxed, rustic feel.
When distressing, rub with sandpaper gently at first, then harder if necessary to reveal more of the wood. Sand the prominent areas of the bookcase, such as the edges and corners … which would naturally get knocked over time.
I finish with two coats of clear polyurethane, gently rubbing with very fine steel-wool between each coat.
The end result? Wow … what a difference! I was so pleased with how this makeover turned out. My next step to work out the styling. In the meantime, I love having a functional, practical … and now stylish space to display all my books.
Any bookcase styling tips you’d like to share?
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