Home » A Curbside Bookshelf Makeover and Restyle

A Curbside Bookshelf Makeover and Restyle

This past Thursday my home computer was hacked and is now undergoing some TLC from my I.T. friend, which means I don’t have access to the thousands of pictures that are hopefully still safe and sound on my hard drive. I still have my laptop and my new camera, so I decided to do some updating of some older posts that you may have missed, like this curbside bookshelf makeover and restyle.


bookshelfrescueMost of you are aware by now of my obsession with trash cleanup.  You can read a little more about it here.  I passed on this bookshelf at first glance, then turned around and brought it home.

finishedshelfI am so glad that I did because it has become one of my favorite things in our bedroom.  Bookshelves are ALWAYS a good idea in any room because not only do they add great storage, but it is just another way to show off your personality and style, depending on what you put on them.

blankwallThis was where I started, nice family pictures, but pretty bland and boring.

bookshelfcleaningBefore using the bookshelf, it needed some TLC.  This thing was dry and dirty.  I used almost a whole can of Pledge to clean and polish it up.  You can see where I applied the furniture polish and where I didn’t.

woodstainpenThen I used this stain marker to fill in the chips and scratches.

goldpaintpenThe bookshelf came with one of these brass tips for the legs, but was missing the other three, so I used a gold paint pen and painted all the legs the same.  I have used this paint pen on multiple projects thru my home, a little bit goes a long way.

paintedlegI love these kind of details.  They give the bookshelf some style and personality.

paintedlegs2Once I had it cleaned and ready to use, I first gathered the necessary things like my sewing machine, and then all of the fun stuff like books and personal treasures that I hoped to work into the space.

bookshelfaccessoriesI have found that if I gather all of the things first and look at them as a group it is easy to see what will work and what won’t.  Most of the things in this picture have been thrifted believe it or not!

stylingstartStart first with the largest item.  For me, it was my sewing machine.  It was one of the main reasons for bringing this into my room in the first place and normally your largest item will narrow down how much room you have for your other things. Once I had the sewing machine on the shelf, I realized that I had to do add something to both sides of the bookshelf to fill up the wall a little bit more, so I went back up to my attic to grab a few more larger items.

firsttryI tried these first.  I didn’t like it because the ottoman and garden stool were too similar in shape and height.

secondtryA little better.  By this time, I knew the garden stool was going here after a coat of white paint.  I tried the branch because it was unusual, but it kept falling down, not a good idea with 4 children running around.

thirdtryThen I tried this piece of salvage railing I found at a flea market.  Not right either, too much brown going on for my taste.

fourthtryFinally!  I started to stack my design books and magazines to make a tower.  I had to flip them around a bit to keep it from leaning, but I really like how it turned out.

magazinestorageI recently found this white and gold basket and now they sit inside, neat and tidy.

Now being a lover of books, old and new, and being that this IS a bookshelf, it only seemed appropriate to fill this baby with them right?  When choosing what books to use, I consider the colors of the room.  My bedroom has grey, blue and some yellow, so I kept that in mind as I rearranged over and over.


I made sure to mix my new books with my old ones and used a bookend that belonged to my grandparents.

oldbooksOnce again a mix of old and new.  I added a bit of green, in case the plants I had died, which they did.  My green thumb is still a work in progress.

ladybustI have been wanting to use this lady bust for sometime, now she has found her place.  The weird stick with the lumpy mass on it is something that my hubby found on a job.  It is a type of tree cancer, yikes! I added a yellow piece of salvaged architecture in the back for some height and color.

finishedshelfHere is it all put together. Simple, easy to clean, and a little bits of my favorite things.

gardenstoolpaintedThe garden stool got a fresh coat of white paint and I use it as a charging station for my electronics.

electronicsspotI used a brass tray I found at my local mission.  It also goes with the legs of the bookshelf, the brass bowl, and the old books.

kidsartlayoutAt this point, I was really happy with my bookshelf, but now my wall was naked! I framed my children’s artwork a while ago, and never got around to hanging them, so now seemed like the perfect time to do so.  I arranged them on the floor until I was happy with the layout, then found the center of the bookshelf and starting hanging them up.kidsarthungMy favorite one is the painting of the birch trees by my oldest son, Shawn, he even added a tiny bird.

curbsidebookshelfmakeoverI have a slightly large collection of milk glass candle holders and vases, and I have found them all at thrift stores.  Three seemed to be the perfect number here.

curbsidebookshelfmakeoverTwo of the plants I had in my original post have since died.  So I purchased some new ones with hopes of improvement in the green thumb department.  I have learned that I am an “overwaterer” so now I wait about 2 weeks before watering and that seems to help.

curbsidebookshelfmakeoverI painted two of the pots white, and added some gold to go with the rest of my accessories.  One day I will write a post dedicated to white paint, there really is something magical about it, especially if you frequent thrift stores as much as I do.

curbsidebookshelfmakeoverThis little cast off bookshelf has really added some personality to my bedroom and I love seeing my children’s art everyday.


Here are some things to consider when styling a bookshelf:

Practicality doesn’t mean ugly.  The charging station has worked out fantastic and the sewing machine is stored in a safe place.

Consider the colors in your room.  I used a lot of white to help offset the dark brown of the bookshelf, and used blue and yellow in the books and accessories to go with the colors I already have.

Add something unusual!! So many times a bookshelf is either all books or all framed pictures, try stacking the books in different ways and maybe hang your photos on a wall to save space for treasured heirlooms.

Don’t be afraid to keep rearranging until you are happy.  I smile every time I walk by this little space and that is what decorating is all about.

City Wide clean up is next month, so I hope this encourages you to either give something you already have a second chance, or makeover something you find curbside.

Thanks for visiting!




  1. Amanda says:

    I love this post!! Love your step-by-step instructions on how you made decisions for putting everything together 🙂

    • Sarah-Marie says:

      Thanks Amanda! I wish my pics were a little better quality, but I am glad my decision making steps came across well. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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