Design isn’t just about things looking pretty. It’s also about helping your home function better for you and your family.
This built-in bookshelf was born out of my observation that there were always books and magazines strewn haphazardly though out our living room. And anytime I put them in a basket, it was out-of-sight out-of-mind, and my kids wouldn’t read them. I wanted to encourage my kids to read while also having a designated space for books. So I knew a bookshelf was needed, BUT I didn’t want to take up much square footage since our living room isn’t very large to begin with. So we needed something that would serve a purpose but not take up much space. This corner of our living room was still very bland and basic, so we decided this was a good place to start…
This corner lacked both style and functionality. So we figured adding a built-in bookshelf would give this corner of our 90’s builder-grade home a more custom feel and added some much-needed character, while also providing a storage solution for the books and magazines we were currently reading. I came across this image on instagram and was instantly inspired:
As you can see, we modeled our bookshelf after this image (I mention this because I will never take credit for an idea that is not actually mine!) Thankfully my husband can look at something and build it, so he used this picture as inspiration to then determine what materials he would need and how he would construct it. It took about 4 hours total (not including time in between for paint to dry.) Here are the steps we used to build this stylish and functional bookshelf for our cozy corner!
3 – pine 1 x 6″‘ boards in an 8 ft length (used for the frame)
3 – pine 1 x 8″ boards in an 8 ft length (shelves)
2 – 10 foot copper pipes and a pipe cutting tool
10 – wall mount pipe fittings
black spray paint
40 – 3/8″ wood screws (for the pipe fittings)
table saw and chop saw
pneumatic brand nailer
paint for the bookshelf (your choice of color – I used the same white as my trim)
BUILDING THE UNIT:
Cut things to length. Your measurements will vary depending upon the size of the space you are installing your shelf.
Cut several of the boards in half and use a pneumatic brad nailer and wood glue to attach them so that you create the “L” shape that you see on each shelf.
Prime and paint all the wooden boards and “L” shaped shelves and let them dry.
Make the rectangular frame of the bookshelf using counter sunk wood screws and 2″ brad nails.
Place the shelves in position and attach them to the rectangular wooden frame with wood screws and brad nails. Make sure to account for light switches or electrical outlets that may be on the wall where your bookshelf is going to go. You want to make sure to space the shelves to go around those items, not to accidentally cover them up and render them useless.
Affix the unit to the wall by running brad nails into the studs with a nail gun. (FYI – This next part is optional, but my husband put a “nailer” into the bottom of the wall before affixing the bookshelf unit, which basically means he put a strip of wood on the wall that was about the length of the bookshelf and then nailed about 5-6 nails into it at the bottom.)
After the unit is affixed to the wall, replace the baseboard trim piece on the front. This enhances the custom “built-in” look of the shelves.
Adding personality to this space was important to me, so I opted to add peel n stick wallpaper to the back of the shelves. I used this wallpaper from D. Marie Interiors. You could also paint that part of the shelves a different color, or leave it the same as the wall color.
Spray paint the pipe fitting matte black. (Spray painting these is optional but if you don’t spray paint them, they may oxidize and change color or rust over time). Let them dry.
While they are drying, pre-drill holes for the screws that will go into the pipe fittings. This is an important step because pine splits easily so I highly recommend doing this if you are using pine wood).
Attach 1 pipe fitting by screwing it to the inside of the bookshelf frame, insert the copper pipe (cut to length with a pipe cutting tool), and then put the other pipe fitting onto the other end of the copper pipe, slide it into place, and screw it into the frame.
And there you have it! A custom built-in bookshelf that is BIG on FUNCTION and STYLE while also SAVING SPACE!