Kitchen Cabinets Turned Into a Bookcase

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I’m so happy to report that the new bookcases at the beach condo are finished!
Because we live four hours away, it wasn’t a quick project.  We dedicated every single weekend that we were at the beach since early March to building these.
The wall where they are located was a big blank space and was boring, boring, boring.

Bookcase wall collage

The bookcases are filled with an assortment of thrifty items that I’ve been accumulating for the last few years.  Yes – I said years.  I’ve dreamt of having bookcases on this wall ever since we renovated our beach getaway.

A painting by my Auntie Syl inspired me to use orange as an accent color.  I love orange and any shade of blue mixed together.
Let me show you around just a little.
My sweet stepdaughter, Ms. B, surprised me with this painting that she did of a seagull for my birthday a couple of years ago.  I finally found the perfect place to showcase it!
I love adding a small lamp to a bookcase.  It really adds so much ambiance at night.  I found this little one lamp at Maxway for a mere $12.  I thought that I’d be repainting it somehow, but I think I’ll just leave it alone.

The little rattan tray filled with a combination of shells that we found ourselves and a bag of beach filler is sitting atop a book that has a lot of sentimental value to me.  It belonged to my mother who had such an adoration for the ocean.

I found the large coral looking thingy at Goodwill.  I “stole” it from the bookcase in my master bedroom at home.  And the metal painted container came from One Kings Lane.  I sure do wish they’d have another sale on these containers!

 Because the walls in this place are a little wonky and because I wanted to make sure that both ends of the bookcase were flat against the wall, we chose not to put any kind of backing on them.  Instead, we just painted the wall to give it the allusion of having a back.  Worked like a charm.

Now here’s a question for all of you.  Should I put knobs on the cabinet doors?  I haven’t so far because I’m concerned that it will look too busy.  I would use some sort of simple decorative knob if I were to add them.  What do you think?

 This wall has come such a long way, baby.



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  1. It looks fabulous! Love the colors you chose. I think simple knobs would be okay to use on the cabinet doors. 🙂

  2. LOVE it!!! I just love beachy things…they bring me back to nature. The bookcases really open up and completes the space! You have so many wonderful things to reuse of your Mom and aunt’s that make rooms so special. And you’re one lucky girl to have a handy man like Pookie!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You were right, they look great! You are very talented and have a terrific eye for color and detail. I’m very lucky to be married to you!

  4. Love everything about your new bookcase! It looks awesome.
    I probably wouldn’t do knobs on it, due to the way you have furniture arranged you would see them anyway. But then again I’m a person full of cabinets throughout the house without a knob on anything.

  5. Pookie rocks…err, shells, or is that nails. At any rate he is fabulous. I also thing I saw a sweet anonymous note from a rocking carpenter.
    The books are over the moon. They are beautiful, fabulous job. I love the color on the back of the shelves and you arrangement is perfect. I really love those beachy items and the touch of coral color, Wow. I have been trying, reasonably priced, coral items to add to my bedroom. I have searched the net for real coral but couldn’t find the right thing. I do love that color combo.
    Kudos to sweet Suzy and Pookie, Ginger

  6. I need to start blogging again. I’m always amazed when I look at your posts to see how similar our tastes are. We have so many of the same accessories. In fact, I bought the same bird for my beach house as well as those plates and shell filler. And, I was thinking of painting the door of my beach house that color. Love the original art work! Pookie did an amazing job! My vote is for knobs. Anthropologie has some aqua glass knobs that would coordinate nicely. I won’t tell you how I know. ;o) I heard a designer once say that every room needs a touch of red (a/k/a orange). I think it coordinates perfectly!

  7. What an amazing transformation! I love these bookcases so much! The pops of orange really make a difference!

    Thanks for sharing!


  8. Lisa @ Before Meets After says:

    That looks amazing! I want my hubby to build something very similar like that for me too!

  9. Shirley@Housepitality Designs says:

    Hi Suzy….they came out incredibly gorgeous….tell “Pookie” he did a fantastic job….Will be showing this to my hubby…Love the color combinations!…I am with Kim…a white or clear knob that would just “blend in” with the cabinetry would be great…

  10. Hi Suzy, your bookcase turned out great. I also love orange and blue (colors of my fave baseball team). xo

  11. So beautiful – could I borrow your husband for a week or two??? He is certainly a talented guy. I love knobs and would probably look at clear crystal type knows or maybe white to match the bookcase. I would live with it awhile until you definitely know which path you want to go!

  12. love it – the colors are so vibrant! Love the little coral lampshade – but what is Maxway??
    I’m building a tiny beach house this year and I’m collecting art on Etsy. Love your stepdaughter’s painting.

  13. Hi Suzy ~ I think your bookcases turned out beautifully and add so much to your room. The colors you have chosen are just so much fun. I vote for knobs too, white would look nice.

  14. Suzy, Suzy, Suzy … they look AMAZING !! You and your sweet hubby make a fabulous team because you guys knocked it out of the park. I love the color you chose to paint the back of the bookcases, and the coral accents are fantastic !! I just had my parents bookcases (the backs of them) painted blue, too … truly makes white accents pop, doesn’t it? LOVE what you’ve done !!

  15. Olga@Stardust-Decor&Style says:

    Such an amazing transformation! I can feel your excitement! Great job!

  16. chateau chic says:

    Suzy, your bookcases are beautiful! I LOVE the color of the inside, especially for a beach house. You’ve styled them perfectly. I can just imagine how much you’re enjoying them.
    Mary Alice

  17. Sharon @ mrshinesclass says:

    I love the new look! Looks like the perfect getaway. I don’t know how you’re able to tear yourself away from the condo…or the beach. I’d never want to leave.

    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

  18. I love the bookcases! They fit the room perfectly, and how you “styled” them — wish I had your eye for arranging things. I think plain white knobs on the doors would be practical and disappear basically, but my personal preference would be for burnished gold or sparkly cut glass 🙂

  19. Pat@Back Porch Musings says:

    Gorgeous bookcases. I love how you’ve accessorized them too.

  20. Debbie@Mountain Breaths says:

    I love the colors you chose, and the construction is perfection. (Tell your hubby) I think clear glass knobs may work on the cabinet doors.

  21. Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes says:

    Your husband did a great job making the bookcases and you did a great job making them look beautiful. That color is perfect for a beach condo and all the accessories are the finishing touch. I like your drapery fabric that is slightly showing. Thank you for showing your finished bookcases at Your Cozy Home Party. Hope you can join us next week for the Grill, BBQ and Picnic Party. There will be many categories not just food. Hope you can join us!!——— Shannon

  22. The colors here just sparkle and beckon us in. Adding that color to the back of the bookcases was perfection. Thanks for sharing this week on BeColorful

  23. It all looks wonderful. The colors are beatuiful. Congrats for a job well done!

  24. I love each and every corner of this living room, you have made magic on it, all the colorful sea theme, it’s really beautiful, I love the photography as well, what do I not love from this?… It’s gorgeous.

  25. Linda @ it all started with paint says:

    The bookcases are seriously awesome! I just love and adore and the ASCP color and the accessories … how clever to find coral from the aquarium section …



  26. Wow ! Beautiful… Love the shell painting on the wall… .the collection of shells brings back many memories down the sea shore… and I luv the metal container that contains the succulent… Beautiful color combination !!!

  27. Laura @ cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot says:

    Looks good Suzi! Lovin’ the pop of blue background.


  28. Sooooo fantastic!! I can almost hear the waves lapping onto the shore. LOL! It truly looks incredible and the colors are perfectly coastal. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  29. Love them! I’ve been craving ocean-themed decor since before summer even started! I definitely would not have thought to find accessories, like your gorgeous coral, in the aquarium section! I think I need to go to Walmart…

  30. Taryn @ Design, Dining + Diapers says:

    This is so beautiful! I love the vibrant colors together. Fabulous job!

  31. Connie@shabbyforsure says:

    Everything looked so good I thought you had even added new chairs. I had to take a second look at them. Great job…Connie

  32. Madge Bloom says:

    Gorgeous transformation! Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #35!

  33. What a gorgeous room! I want to hang out there!! Very nice color combo…I’m impressed.

  34. Nellie's Cozy place says:

    I am in love with your shelves. I love white and I love that color of blue,
    they are fabulous and look wonderful in that space, and you also did a marvelous job of accessorizing them as well.
    Know you have to be enjoying them so very much.
    Great job!!

    blessings, Nellie
    This is my first time to visit with you.

  35. Creative Raisins says:

    How fun is that I love all the bright colors you used

  36. Meg I am..... says:

    Love, love your color combination! Walls and back of bookcase look so HAPPY together!! Have you seen the post floating around blog land that uses pottery barn crystal vase filler as a drawer knob on a bookcase?? WISH I could remember who’s post that was….. But I bet it would look great on your bookcases. (They’re not shiny, just soft white & texture-y)!

    Anyway – I vote for a pull of some kind!

    Stopping by from Never a Dull Day

  37. Barbe @ Beez Rental Designs says:

    What a lovely space. Your bookcases are outstanding as is your decor in them. I would vote ‘no’ on the knobs if you don’t need them to open doors. Since they’re almost hidden why spoil the beautiful doors. But sometimes you just feel the need and in that case, I would say white or glass as mentioned by others. I found you at Savvy Southern and a new follower. Hope you’ll stop by for a visit.

  38. You did a wonderful job on the bookcases and a perfect assortments in accessorizing them. HGTV would be delighted! Your room is lovely and I adore the colors you chose.

    Thank you for sharing your creativity at Potpourri Friday!

  39. I adore your bookcase and the way you styled it. Clear glass knobs would look precious on this and wouldn’t make it look too busy.

  40. Domesticable says:

    This looks wonderful! I just finished ours. We looked at doing the base cabinets also but the one’s we found were not tall enough for what we were wanting!!! Great job. I’m just waiting for my hardware to come in and ours will be finished.

    Thanks for sharing. Love your blog–I’m your most recent follower!


  41. Jocie@TheBetterHalf says:

    I love these, Suzy! I’m debating painting the backs of my bookshelves too, although I won’t be building them too. 🙂 Found you through the saturday Social. 🙂

    Would love if you came and linked up with us. We’re giving away one free week of ad space for one lucky feature, and our blog gets thousands of hits per day! Hope to see you there!

  42. Nicely done! I especially love the BASES! I have a heater vent beneath the spot I want to put my wall of bookcases and you just gave me a great idea as to how to work around that obstacle! Thank you!

  43. Is there a supply list? This is lovely. thank you for sharing

    1. Hi Kay. We started with off-the-shelf, unfinished kitchen cabinets from Home Depot and used plywood to build out the shelves on top. They are painted with Sherwin Williams Extra White in a semi gloss finish. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the exact color of the paint that we used on the back of them. Hope this helps!

  44. Nancy Comperry says:

    I would leave them alone.
    Where did you find the shelves? We have a wall I would like to put shelves on.

    1. We built the shelves on top of the cabinets. There’s a photo in the blog post of the in process stage. 🙂

  45. The shelves look nice. The tv wedged in looks ridiculous and distracts from the overall look.

    1. Sorry you don’t approve of the tv. There isn’t anywhere else to put it in this tiny beach condo living room. I don’t like it either and would love to not have a tv in any room at all, from an looks perspective.

  46. Anne from Maryland says:

    Gorgeous!! If you add knobs, either white or a light wood, but the shelves look beautiful without them.

  47. What an amazing transformation!
    I love the colors you used to pull everything together. It just makes the whole room feel light, bright and inviting. I personally wouldn’t put knobs on the bookcase, due to the furniture placement, but that’s just my preference.

  48. Y’all built an amazing bookcase, and so smart about not putting in a back! The colors are fabulous. NO KNOBS. It would be cool if you could find some pillows or pillow covers to match that orange/white metal container. Maybe some orange/white zebra stripe or pillows with orange coral in them? Also I really LOVE the draperies that you chose for this space. I usually like a breezy white linen for beach houses but those are beautiful. I think the whole space looks perfect! (Of course, are spaces EVER perfect for someone who loves to decorate, style and stage!!???)

    1. Haha – I agree! Spaces are NEVER perfect for someone who loves to do all the things.

  49. So much better than the blank wall, Suzy….and yes to the knobs. Something simple would be just the ‘jewellery’ it needs. Great job!

  50. Oh, it looks lovely! I am a sucker for anything beachy. I love the paintings. Great idea to paint the wall behind the shelves. I like knobs on cupboards, I think it dresses them up, but that is just my preference. It’s gorgeous.

  51. Knobs will be fine since the cabinet doors are simple and partially hidden by the chairs, and even a patterned or color knob would work… It will be much easier to open the doors and prevent them from getting grimy from the oil on your hands opening and closing them.

    Beautiful job on the shelving and love all your shelf treasures!!