Bookcase Makeover – Traditional Cherry To Farmhouse Fab!

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I am sharing my step-by-step directions for giving an old cherry bookcase a farmhouse fab makeover.From Traditional Cherry To Farmhouse Fab Bookcase Makeover || Worthing Court poster.PinAffiliate links have been used in the post.  See my full disclosure HERE.

I usually don’t put an exclamation mark in my blog post title, but y’all – I am so stinkin’ thrilled with the bookcase makeover for our home office!  A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working on the bookcases and was concerned with how they were going to turn out.  Thankfully, I’m in love with the end result and find myself stopping often just to stare at them!

Did you notice that the dining room is striped bare of all its fall finery?  That’s because Christmas is in the house!  LOL  I’ll be sharing my Christmas dining room soon!

A home office with a grey desk and fabric chair, and a farmhouse style bookcase.Pin

To fully appreciate the change in the bookcase, take a look at the before picture.  These are cheap-o bookcases that had a waxy, fake looking cherry stain on them.  Their most redeeming quality is that the open shelves are solid wood, so they don’t sag under the weight of a lot of books.

A traditional cherry bookcase in the office with books and pottery on it.Pin

Here they are today, after giving them a couple of coats of primer paint (to completely cover the red’ish stain) and brushing on gray stain.  I used one of those cheap chip brushes to apply the stain and allowed it to dry without wiping any of the stain off.  Primer paint used: Kilz 2 Latex Primer in Gray.  Stain used: Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Weathered Gray.

Farmhouse style bookcases with a sliding diy barn door.Pin

This closeup shows the weathered looking finish that was created by brushing the stain on top of the wood and allowing it to dry without wiping it off.

Weathered wood look finish using gray stain on top of gray painted wood.Pin

I know that the gray of the barn door and gray of the bookcase doesn’t match, but I think that it makes the door look more authentic.

You might wonder why I chose to cover half of the bookcases with a sliding barn door.  Well, it’s because I needed more storage space, not more space to display tchotchkes.  The shelves behind the sliding door are filled with boxes that hold all sorts of home office paraphernalia.  This side of the bookcase is only open when we need access to something in one of those storage boxes.

Hidden storage behind a diy sliding barn door on bookcases.Pin

I was a little scared of the door, because I was convinced that installing the sliding door hardware was going to be complicated. Nothing could have been further from the truth!  After much research and shopping around, we ordered the hardware from Home Depot.  CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE SAME HARDWARE.

The smallest size available was a few inches longer than what we needed, so the hubs used our Dremel to cut the slider bar down to the correct length.  I touched the end up with a black magic marker and now you’d never know that it had been cut.

The open shelves on the bookcase with plants and books on them.Pin

We built the barn door out of pre-painted rustic lumber which is sold at Home Depot.  Each piece of lumber was 8′ long and had a rabbited edge on each side.  One rabbited edge faces the front and other faces in the back.

I was unable to find the lumber online, but our store had it in stock the last time that we were there.

Rabbited edge of lumber for a diy barn door.Pin

Having those rabbited edges made building the door a dream!  First, we determined how wide we wanted our door to be.  Then the hubs laid the lumber out on the floor of our garage, using wood glue along each rabbited edge, and allowed it to thoroughly dry. No nails or screws were used in this part of building the door.

After the glue had dried, the door was cut to the length that we wanted and other boards were cut down to be used to frame out the top, sides and for a middle brace.  Those boards were attached with wood glue and wood screws.

Laying out the wood for a diy barn door.Pin

Thankfully, Home Depot had a label on the backside of each of the pieces of lumber with the paint formula that was used to paint the wood.  I had a small container of that mixed at the store and used it to touch up the few places that needed it after the construction was completed.  A wrought iron gate handle, also from Home Depot, finished the door off.

Wrought iron gate handle used on diy sliding barn door.Pin

Unless I come up with something else, this office makeover only has one project left to do and that’s getting some artwork up on that wall behind the desk chair!  You can catch up on all of the projects that have gone into this makeover, from start to finish, HERE.  UPDATE! CHECK OUT THE FULL BEFORE AND AFTER OFFICE REVEAL HERE!

Up close picture of the desk and the barn door bookcase.Pin


Traditional cherry bookcase makeover with a diy sliding barn door || Worthing CourtPin

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  1. That is totally amazing! What a great idea and your husband’s craftsmanship is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Katherine says:

      Wow, what a great idea!! I have 2 bookcases that I was going to get rid of .
      Thanks for the great details and inspiration!

  2. Lori Wheet says:

    Charming! What a clever makeover. Your husband did a wonderful job. I love the whole room. Well done!

  3. Lisa Kissner Cooper says:

    Wow! Love the barn door! What I wouldn’t do for a handyman that could build something like this for me!

  4. I really like this! I’m redoing my house – on a much smaller scale – but I always get a lot of good ideas. Thank you so much for all the inspiration!

  5. OMG genius! This would be perfect for our office, sewing, art room! Thank you for a great idea and complete detailed instructions. Your office looks amazing. Love the gray stain.

  6. That looks great! I love the weathered look.

  7. Shelley Valentine says:

    You are so clever ! This completely changed the look of the bookcases to a fresh design. What a perfect accent to your office

  8. What a transformation!! You have great ideas – not to mention the energy to complete your tasks!! Good job!

  9. Oh my gosh, Suzy. I love, love, LOVE it. I would never have guessed that fabulous bookcase started out looking the way it did. It’s perfect !

  10. Anne@DesignDreams says:

    Beautiful job! I love love love this look!!

  11. Melanie Winter says:

    Amazing!!! Absolutely love it! What a transformation!

  12. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Your office has to be a favorite spot in your home. The colors you have chosen for everything are at the top of my list. Just wondering… you think finishing the wood with the stain the way you did will help the finish be more durable and resist chipping, even though there is a paint primer under it? I might want to try this technique and wondered if this would be a fun perk.

    1. Hi Patty. To be honest, I’m not sure. It feels durable to the touch and hasn’t chipped or scratched, so far. I’m not sure how it would hold up under heavy use. To be sure, I guess you could apply a coat of polyurethane if you wanted to protect it.

  13. Beautifully done. Love the sliding door idea. Kudos to you and hubby.

  14. I LOVE the barn door on the bookshelves! I’ve been hunting for a place to add a sliding barn door in my home, but all my doorways are arched and I haven’t wanted to loose the arch. I think this could be my opportunity to finally be able to add one. Thank you so much for all your clever ideas.

  15. This room is wonderful and has such a perfect flow with the rest of your home – something I am trying to achieve in my own home. I absolutely love the bookcases – fantastic idea!!!

  16. Wow! from me too! I love this idea! The creative use of the barn door is perfect for hiding your storage.

  17. These bookcases are beautiful! Now I know what to do with the two crummy, cheap bookcases we have to hang on to for storage. The barn door is
    stunning-cheers to your Pookie! Home Depot here I (we) come!