Curbside Finds: Bookshelf Makeover

5 years ago
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I have a confession: I am a curbside looky-loo.

It's a breed of person that slows down their vehicle, possibly holding up traffic, just to see if there's something good on that curb full of unwanted items.  I do this to find a great project for the most part, but often it's because I know that sometimes trash is just treasure waiting for a coat of paint.  I consider it my duty to the Earth to roadside rescue and save those items from the landfill.  Recently, I found a great curbside rescue and wanted to polish it up and take it a step further.

I wanted to make this project not only energy-efficient, but efficient enough to pay for itself with energy savings. We live near a college town, which means that every August, people move out of the apartments nearby to head back to college life.  And that means they throw stuff away ... I mean, a lot of stuff.  I found this bookcase on the curb around the corner and knew that this piece had potential.  I HAD TO SAVE IT FROM THE LANDFILL.

It was dusty and in need of some love.  I said supportive, nurturing things to it, and then I gave it a wash-down to clean it up a bit.  Once that was done, I scoured the Internet for inspiration. The idea here was to turn junk in to something amazing while staying energy-efficient. I had the husband drill two holes in the top.

After that came the priming and painting.  After a quick trip to the hardware store for some paint and supplies, I started the sanding and priming.  With laminate furniture like this, priming is essential. 

That's my best side, right there.  I painted the outside white and the inside blue.  Well, not just blue ... the prettiest blue in the whole world. 

Once the paint dried (I'm so patient in every area of life except when I'm waiting on paint to dry, and then I'm like a kid at 3 am on Christmas morning), I installed the lights where the hubs drilled those holes up top.

These lights are so simple ... they have a four-foot cord that we plugged into a timer.  We just popped them into the drilled holes and secured them.  No wiring or anything tricky!  And with the timer, I can program it for the hours I want it lit, and they turn off automatically ... such a great way to use energy efficiently!  These lights are bright enough that we didn't need another lamp in that area of the room.  We were able to take out two other lamps and still have enough lighting ... so we will actually be saving energy with these lights.  This project is going to pay off sooner than we think!

I put the freshly painted shelves back in my beautiful bookcase, and I stood back.  And I panicked.

I have nothing beautiful to put in this wonderfully redone piece.  And I don't want to spend a lot of money to decorate it.  What's a resourceful gal, who wants to rescue more castaways, to do?

She hits the thrift stores.  I found these pieces that I just knew I could turn into something great.


I filled in the bookcase with my Goodwill rescues and some thrift store items that just needed some cleaning, like this little lovely jar, the marbles inside, and the glass bowl behind it:

Here's a shelf-by-shelf replay for you:

In the end, I had a roadside rescue that made me a little more Earth-friendly and that my husband thinks is my best project yet.  And you know something? I do, too.

Going green was never so fun.

Thrifty Crafty Girl