Hi there! I’m Kristin and I write the DIY/design blog Bliss at Home where I share my Do It Yourself projects and my obsession with all things home. I love to share how to achieve high-end looks on a budget. I think no matter what you can afford there are things you can do to make your home personal and comforting. I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on Style Spotters today to share with you more about my “I Did It” Library Wall.
Being creative has its faults. Let me explain…
My husband and I bought the house I grew up in and have been taking on the challenge of remodeling it from top to bottom. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel, a bathroom remodel, an exterior overhaul…and the list goes on and on. I have a million ideas floating around in this creative head of mine. So, when I decided we needed to have built-in bookcases in our living room, I shook the piggy bank and not a lot came out. This is a creative hiccup, but one I felt I could overcome.
I priced out building materials so we could build our own custom library wall. The cost was way out of what I was comfortable spending at the time. It came out to be over $2500. My library wall dreams seemed to fade.
Since I like to get the look for less, it was Ikea to the rescue! I started to hatch a plan to get that library wall. The Ikea Billy Bookcase was the perfect answer to my library wall woes. Four Billy bookcases, good hardware and quality wood to make them look built-in, paint and painting supplies, brass library lights on remote, and installing a sound system and speakers all came in under $600!!
We picked the bookcases up on a Saturday and got to work. It took the rest of the weekend and four evenings that week to complete the library wall. Don’t you love how I was already playing around with styling the shelves before they were even finished!?! It’s a sickness, I swear!
Once we built the frame to attach our wood panels, we went ahead and wired up our speakers and placed them on the top of the bookcases. The speakers run to the sound system that is cleverly hidden on a bottom shelf. We left the top panel open to the ceiling and it is great for sound quality.
We also made the center panel a pop off panel so we could access the cords to the speakers and the library lights in the future. Roller ball and hinge hardware made that possible and just a side note here– we use this to hide presents from the kids too!
The brass library lights were a great online find. They are actually brass picture lights and were only $14 each. The cords all run to a power strip that is hidden in the pop off panel. We purchased a power strip that came with a remote and VOILA! – lights on remote!
By adding details like baseboard and crown molding, the bookcases have a built-in look. To finish it off even more, we chose to fill in the pre-drilled shelf holes. We used a product that can easily be removed if we ever choose to change the configuiration of our shelves. Details like this really finish off the bookcases.
You can see every detail on how we made our library wall here: DIY Library Wall
To date, this is one of my favorite projects. It has enhanced how we use our living room. The kids love to read their books in here. My husband and I have coffee and listen to music here on the weekends. When we entertain, it is our go-to room. The library wall adds charm to our home. The shelves hold our memories and favorite things. Definitely time and money well spent!
Having one of my favorite projects featured in Better Homes and Gardens is definitely a dream come true! Getting that first email from editor Kit Selzer saying they would like to feature it was a pinch-me moment for sure. Stylist Lindsay Berger and photographer Greg Scheidemann were a joy to work with and I would gladly have them back anytime. I loved seeing them in action and it is an experience that has made me more and more passionate about what I do. I’d like to thank the entire BHG team for all their work! It was an awesome experience!
Trend: Concrete Furniture!
Need an update to your backyard, but you’re on a small budget? I’m right there with you. That’s why I made this concrete table for my patio! With about $15 and a bit of time, you’ll have the perfect piece to work as a stool OR a side table.
Let’s get started:
- 1 bag of Quikrete 5000 Concrete
- 8 inch wide by 15 inch high Concrete Form Tube
- 1 or 2 inch thick foam
- 3 Quarts Water
- Duct Tape
- 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket
- Shovel/stick to mix the concrete.
- Large container to mix concrete (we used two 5 gallon buckets)
- Optional: 2 sticks to support the concrete form tube during pouring
- Optional: spray paint and acrylic sealing spray
- Cut a 15 inch long section off of your concrete forming tube.
- Mark the concrete tube about 3 inches from the top. This will be your concrete level spot.
- Set your concrete form tube on the foam and trace a circle. Cut out that circle.
- Use the duct tape to attach the foam circle to the base of your concrete form tube. Make sure the foam/edge is completely covered by duct tape.
- Optional: Drill four holes, at the 3 inch mark you made, into your concrete form tube. Push two sticks through the holes to support the tube during pouring.
- It’s time to pour some concrete! Safety note: I recommend wearing gloves/eye protection/dust filter mask for this process. I also suggest doing this process with a friend, makes it so much easier (also, the concrete bag is 80 pounds and I am not even able to lift it, ha, my husband helped with that). Mix your concrete together with the 3 quarts of water. If you’ve never mixed concrete before, I really recommend watching this video by Quikrete.
- Pour roughly 2 inches of the prepped concrete into the bucket. Base first, put the concrete form tube into the bucket. Center it. While someone holds the tube steady, pour the concrete along the side of the tube. Pour to the top of the bucket. To get the air bubbles out, gently pick up the bucket and tap it on the ground. Add more concrete to fill to the top, if needed.
- Place something heavy on top of your concrete tube form to get it down to the 4 inch level mark. We used some extra tiles we had. Bricks or even rocks inside the tube would work.
- Let the concrete sit for about 30 minutes (or when there are no longer little puddles of water on the concrete). Smooth out the concrete.
- Let this sit (out of the rain) for 4 + days. The longer, the better. There’s a lot of concrete in there and it needs time to dry.
To remove the bucket:
- Tear out the concrete tube and scrape out the foam.
- Use a rubber mallet to tap the sides of the bucket. Turn the bucket upside down and tap the base.
- If the concrete doesn’t easily slide out, use a blade to slice a hole in the base. This should release some pressure. Use a crowbar if it needs a little extra help.
- You now have a concrete stool or side table!
- Optional: If you’d like, add a bit of color to the piece! I used some gold spray Paint to the top (sealed with acrylic sealing spray).
You are now done! Enjoy and you now have a super cute inexpensive piece to dress up your outdoor space. Good as a stool or side table. I ended up making 2 of these. I can’t wait to start using them this summer! I made both of these stools for under $30. Just needed one extra bucket and bag of concrete.
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
P.S. if you loved this, feel free to share!
The Spring 2013 issue of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers is coming to a newsstand near you any day now! The theme is “Before and After,” so today I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes peeks of a few furniture makeovers from the issue.
When we produced the Budget Kitchen makeover last summer, we hit up consignment shops, thrift stores, and Craiglist for affordable dining room furniture and frames. After some searching, here’s what we found. While some of our pieces needed a deep cleaning, they had good bones.
Here’s a peek at how we used these pieces in a dining room. Hard to believe they’re the same pieces, right?
The chairs and bench each got a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Medieval Times. We removed the rush seats first before priming and painting to keep them their natural color.
The homeowner already had the IKEA cabinet shown in the after photo, but it’s now discontinued and we wanted two storage units for the dining room for balance. We found a used IKEA cabinet that was a close match, but a little large. We trimmed the legs down with a circular saw to make it more closely match the scale of the existing cabinet and removed the door before priming and painting them both in Benjamin Moore Grey Mist.
The frames were a great deal! We found a bunch of them on Craigslist, so we tested out lots of configurations until we were happy with an arrangement. If you’re having trouble deciding how to hang art, try laying out the pieces on the floor first before you put holes in the wall. Snap photos of various arrangements and compare them to decide which one you like best–you’ll also have a guide to help you remember how they looked as you start hanging them. If your frames are really big, you may want to get out a ladder like I did to take good photos from up high! We used a spray primer to quickly coat the intricate frames, and then applied a couple of coats of Benjamin Moore Henderson Buff, Woodstock Tan, and Medieval Times.
If you’re on a budget, I encourage you to consider finding some quality used pieces that you can give a new lease on life. Not only is it an affordable solution, it’s also rewarding to have a customized piece that you refreshed yourself! Check out these furniture makeovers for more inspiration and watch this video for tips on painting furniture.
—Maria Charbonneaux, Associate Editor, Kitchen + Bath Makeovers