It’s no secret that paint can transform any piece of furniture, and this built in bookcase makeover proves -yet again – that paint is an affordable option that really makes a statement.
Thank you to my friends at General Finishes for providing the paint for this project!
Built in Bookcase Makeover: Don’t be Afraid to Paint
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Can we agree that this beautiful piece needed some updating?
Overcoming the Fear of Painting
There is a level of fear when painting built ins. I get it.
It’s a commitment.
What if you don’t like it? Or worse, what if you mess up and ruin it?
I understand. Painting built-ins is not the same as painting the free furniture pieces you buy at the thrift store or find on the side of the road.
But, with some determination, hard work, and the right tools, you can get professional results on a DIY budget. Using the right paint is key! It may also help to practice on a smaller piece before you tackle larger areas.
I am so glad my sister was brave enough to give it a go. Granted, she had just purchased and moved into this house a few months prior, so she was in no way attached to the finish, which makes it much easier to pull out the paint brush.
Much better right? Doesn’t it look professional?
The desk top and hardware remained the same color. The yellow actually looks great in small doses. You can actually see and appreciate the chair now!
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- 1 coat of General Finishes Stain Blocker
- 3 coats of General Finishes Driftwood
- 2 coats of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
- Fine Grid Sand Paper
- Foam Brushes and rollers
Built in Bookcase Makeover
Step 1: Lightly sand the entire piece and apply the stain blocker
This product is a primer and it helps to seal the wood, keeping it from bleeding through over time. If you are on a budget, you can probably skip this step, because the paint on its own is pretty amazing in terms of coverage. However, if you are covering very dark wood or knotty wood I would definitely use it!
Step 2: Apply 2-3 coats of the paint color of choice
The beautiful color used for this built in bookcase makeover is called driftwood, which is a dark grey shade. My sister used foam brushes and foam rollers to apply. It dries fast, which is a blessing and a curse. You can apply multiple coats quickly, but you also have to be on your toes and fix any drippings as soon as they happen. My favorite thing about it is that it dries without brush marks.
Step 3: Apply 2-3 coats of high performance top coat
Warning: DO NOT skip the top coat. You will be so tired and cranky after all the painting that you will be tempted to bag it.
Trust me. Don’t.
It will protect the piece and it give it that smooth shine. One of my favorite things to do after it’s all dry is run my hands across the surface. So smooth.
General Finishes carries a flat finish too, if you like less of a sheen.
Tips for getting the best results on your top coat
- Apply at least two coats (preferably 3). I’m telling you, it’s worth it!
- Use a foam brush and brush it on fairly thick in only one direction.
- Wait for it to dry completely(2-3 hours), then lightly sand before applying the next coat.
It is a long, tedious process but you will love the result in the end!
If you have been following the blog for a while, you know I am a huge fan of this paint. I love using it on old pieces of furniture or new pieces I build. After using it on my master bedroom armoire , my mudroom bench, my oak bench, just to name a few, I knew it would be perfect for the built-ins!
Are you ready to tackle your project?
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Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!