We were in desperate need of book storage. My design books and The Man’s teaching books had a home in the office bookcase, but we didn’t have any shallow shelves to store our small but growing collection of novels. In my desperation, I ignored my normal ‘be patient and wait til you find the perfect item’ mantra and went out and bought an emergency piece of furniture.

Big mistake.

Sure, the shallow shelves of the bookcase (it’s actually a pair of CD/DVD towers) are the perfect size for holding paperbacks and the unusual staggered format is eyecatching and provides cute little display niches. But the honey-coloured laminate veneer? Not so hot. In fact, it looked cheap and nasty.

Enter the transformative power of paint:

landing bookcase beforelanding bookcase after

So much crisper and classier, don’t you think?

landing bookcase during

How did I go about it? Thanks to Centsational Girl, I’ve learnt that you can paint virtually anything if you use the right product for the job. In this case, I needed a primer that lightly ‘eats into’ smooth surfaces such as laminate so that paint can adhere to it. I used the spray version of ESP (Easy Surface Prep) to get into the nooks and crannies of this piece. You just spray it on, wipe it off after three minutes, and paint after 90 minutes. I followed that with a few coats of satin black spray paint.

landing bookcase after 2

I’ve still got a lot I want to do with this little space at the top of the stairs, but I’m loving this as a start.

Have you ever had a ‘what was I thinking?’ moment with a purchase for your home?


10 Responses

  • I have never heard of that surface prep but considering I’ve got a lot of furniture to paint (sure beats buying new!) I will have to check it out! Love your blog! Found you via IHeartOrganizing!

  • It turned out great! I’ve been wanting to try my hand a spray painting makeover for a while now but I’m honestly terrified about it. Plus I don’t have a good space to do it in. I’d have to commandeer my parent’s garage or something, haha.

  • @Jamee – From your profile it looks like you’re in the US so you may not find the exact same brand, but I’m sure there would be an equivalent.

  • Don’t be scared Christina! Seriously it’s easiser than any other kind of painting and there are no brushes to wash up which is always good.
    I live in a unit so I don’t have a huge garage or lawn. If you’re painting something small, put it in a cardboard box to contain the overspray – you’ll need a much smaller area this way.

    Happy painting!

  • Liz

    Oh my gosh! That looks so good!

  • I stumbled upon your blog and this post in perfect timing. We have this ugly light “wood” laminate nightstand that we inherited back in our college days. I’ve been thinking of painting it, but thought that chipped peeling paint would look tackier than it already is. Now I’m headed out to buy some version of that ESP so I can give it a much needed makeover! Love your blog!

    • Good luck! I’d love to see a photo when you’ve finished, I now have a reader project album on my Facebook page.

  • Jesse

    This is a little off topic – but I love the look of those shelves. Especially after you’d painted them black. I was wondering where you bought them.


A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

read more…

New? Start Here!