updating a book shelf, no money needed! Just a dust cloth….

updating a book shelf, no money needed! Just a dust cloth….

Today I am sharing a small example of what you can do with no money. Yes, zero money. I have this big book shelf in the corner of our room. And we have set some pictures on it here and there. Used a few random nick knacks, to fill the space. Truth be told, this book shelf is in our room for one reason. We have a really big bedroom. And when we first bought the house we had a bed and two nightstands. The room felt cavernous. So I added some “stuff” to make it feel more lived in and loved.

Here is how it looked.

Three shelves with some pictures, a few figurines, some books, a few old camera’s from Dale’s Grandpa, some wood carvings from his other Grandpa, and don’t forget the dust, lots of dust! There is some great elements in this book shelf. I just had to arrange them, make this space add something to the room. Other then filling the space.

So I am giving this book case a face lift. Well really a botox injection. A face lift would be a whole redo, sanding, painting, new hardware. All that. That would be the equivalent of a redo face lift. This is a botox version. Quick, cheaper, and a little less painful. You following? Ok then, off we go. To start clear everything. It is better to work on a blank canvas. Always.
Blank canvas, a blank dusty canvas. Next step….
….Dust, this is bad and slightly embarrassing. But I have no shame. Just don’t judge….
Once the dusting, and scraping of semi permanent dust was off it was time to start placing things. I had these three pictures of the kids that were on a wall in my hallway. I put up a coastal/shell gallery wall in its place, you can see itย here. So I have had these three pictures in the basement, collecting dust. It is time to put them in some dust upstairs now. Ok, I will drop the dust references. I started by placing these three pictures on the shelves and planned to build the remaining decor pieces around the pictures. My life revolves around my kids, and so should this bookshelf.
Ok, first; no you are not seeing things. The book shelves changed. I got rid of one. It was not in my decor plan to remove a shelf. But the pictures would not fit in the shelf with the individual shelves all in place. So I removed one, moved the middle one down. And now I have larger shelves. But my kids lovely pictures are in and on display.
The first shelf came together really easily. I used two different pictures. One vertical and one horizontal, it gives a difference in visuals. I also used three random books to set the horizontal picture on the right to bring it up a little for even more effect. I like to add tall and small heights with middle ones as well. All different focal points. I also situated the left picture at a angle . All of the decor is situated at a angle to maximize different visuals. I added two wood carved bears, a old camera, and some old binoculars. Like I said, this shelf happened very quickly. Using what was already there, with the addition of the two pictures.


The bottom shelf, for some reason that one I struggled with. I put the other picture in the center, set some books. Spine in the back against one side using a book end to hold them up. I set the books in this position because they are books that have very busy covers and spines. So, aesthetically they do not mesh together. But, turn them backwards on the shelf and it is a seamless look. I also added the remaining old camera.
The reason why this shelf did not work for me, one; it was all mainly one direction (no not the singing group). All objects were facing straight and out. Not much change. And two, there was not many variety’s in heights. No staggering. Also, and most importantly. It did not feel done. Yes, my scientific and oh so important conclusion, it was not done.
So, I added a small framed picture to the mix. Bringing in a round visual to break up the straight shapes on here. Also a lower one. This picture was sitting on the mantle of the fireplace in our bedroom. I liked it, but it needed “Oomph”.
I found the “Ooomph” in two photo books that were in a drawer in our living room. This allowed a visual to break up the somewhat mundane setting. It also added yet another layer of dimension. I did it! I will say that my dear sweet husband was standing here with me during this trial and error approach, and he gave a few recommendations to me. I politely declined his ideas, he is good with tools. Great really, I can’t do what he can do with a saw. But, BUT, I am the “man” with the plan when it comes to staging and decorating once the piece is in the home. He was a emotional supporter for this solo project.
Here is where I put the figurines. I have been given these from Dale and the kids in the past. This shelf is quite high so having any books or any pictures don’t work up here. Too high to see or reach. So these work great up here. I put them in order, going right to left. Couple, pregnancy, baby, father with baby, and mother rocking baby. No reason I put them right to left instead of left to right. I am just crazy like that.
I stood back once all done and admired my botox-ed up book shelf. In fact if you had visited my house before and then visited after I am not even sure you would notice I changed up this book shelf. But isn’t that the goal of botox? So my botox version of a furniture redo is subtle and almost unnoticeable. Nailed it!










I am so happy I figured out the bottom shelf problem. It is so weird to me that the first shelf came together with not one hiccup. But the bottom made me scratch my head, stroke my imaginary beard, and shop my home for just the right items to add to it.

It changed it up just enough to make it seem done and thought out. Instead of a piece that was put there just because. Yes, that is exactly why it was there. But now it feels like so much more. And I have a new home for my kids pictures. I am also taking this as the first step in my dusting program. Admit I have a problem, and seek help. This is my making it public version. I am airing my dirty laundry, or dusty shelves for you all. And hopefully with this public shame I will be guilt into keeping a better tab on this dust issue. I can break the cycle!
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  1. I love book shelves! I love how you can update them, just like you said, at no cost. I love how it turned out!!!

  2. great job! for some reason i'm also envisioning this book case with a coat of white paint ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Very nice could stain it a new color and not paint some thing.

  4. OMGosh i love how it looks! I love the little add ons you did to add the pop. I so want the camera ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much! The camera's are pretty awesome. We inherited them from my husbands Grandpa, I have seen some similar in antique stores. I am not sure how pricey they are. But I adore the little vintage flair they add.

  5. I love how you changed things up and are now enjoying your children's pictures. I think removing the one shelf was a great idea and really opened it up. Thanks for sharing with Creative Spark Link Party. Have a great week!
    Glenna @ My Paper Craze

  6. I love the arrangement, and what a difference dusting can make! My house could definitely use some dusting… Thanks for sharing at On Display Thursday!
    -Leia @ Eat It & Say Yum

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