Saving and Upcycling a Small Shelf

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upcycling easy

It felt really good saving and upcycling a small shelf we’ve had for many years. It would have been easy to donate it to Goodwill or Salvation Army, but instead I spruced it up and gave it a new purpose.

A little history.

This piece of furniture was made for us many years ago by a sweet neighbor friend. It’s purpose was to cover an old radiator in our first-born’s bedroom.

We lived in an apartment and wanted to protect her from accidently burning herself, and it was much appreciated.

As I watched our friend put it together I remember being fascinated by his ability to measure, cut and build this radiator cover from scratch. Still makes me smile.

After we moved to our first home we took the radiator cover with us and another friend turned it into a bookshelf. It worked perfectly for the truckload of small children’s books we owned.

At the this house it held the kid’s shoes but as their shoe size grew it became to small to hold them. Along the way this little shelf got a beat up, colored on with markers and very dirty from the shoes.

Saving and Upcycling a Small Shelf

With all this sentimental history surrounding this old piece of furniture, I couldn’t part with it.

Plus it still had great value.

We could use it for something, right?

I found a way guys.

I almost always do.

Why Save an Old Piece of Furniture?

Despite all of the work I would need to put into it, my sentimental feelings for this shelf won out.

It was made just for us. Just for our baby Mary really.

And it was made out of kindness, then restructured again for us. Again, really for little 3 year old Mary at that point.

Although small this little shelf is sturdy.

It can support a great deal of weight so it could someday be used even as seating.

It’s also very well crafted, and made mostly of solid wood. You’d be hard pressed to find a solid wood bookshelf anywhere these days.

I didn’t want to see it go, but it needed a makeover and a new purpose.

How to Save and Upcycle a Small Shelf

Supplies used for this project:

The natural wood finish of this shelf works well with our home so I decided to keep it the same color. Spray paint had to be used on the sides which are made of metal screen from back when it was a radiator cover. Instead of trying to match a spray paint to a latex paint I just went ahead and spray painted the whole piece. I usually don’t do this put it only took one can of paint to do the whole shelf.

Spray paint is also very easy to apply as well as fast drying, This makes it possible to finish a project in an hour. Let me say for the umteenth time, I love quick projects and the instant gratification they bring!

DESIGN TIP: Never, ever spray paint indoors. The fumes are bad for your lungs and it gets everywhere. Also, wear a mask when spray painting outside. We use this one here.

1. Fill in nail holes and cracks for a seamless look to your furniture.

2. Lightly sand your piece with 100-120 grit sand paper. This allows your paint to stick to the wood well.

upcycling with spray paint

3. Shack your bottle vigorously then cover your piece with two thin coats of spray paint.  Allow paint to dry for at least half an hour in between coats.

Repurposing Your Furniture

Part of keeping older furniture is having a use for it. Get creative with how a certain piece could function in your home. Think about how you live, what you need, and what would make life easier. Then imagine the piece of furniture you now use for job A and how you could use it in a similar way for job B.

Envision it in others rooms of your home than the one it currently is in.

DESIGN TIP: Save your energy and measure it first before moving it around.

We now use this low shelf as a decorative bookshelf. It’s the first time it’s been used for such a shall we say, fancy purpose. I think it likes it!

xo maria

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Disclosure: Affiliate links in this post allow me to receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

8 Comments

  1. MaryLynn

    It is lovely. I appreciate your focus on repurposing as opposed to giving or throwing away!!!
    It is a job well done.

    Reply
    • Maria Kamara

      I’d never throw it away, but you know that. Do you remember this from Mary’s bedroom in Connecticut?

      Reply
  2. Anna Price

    Hi Maria! What a fun post. I love how you repurposed this piece of furniture and gave it a new life. Refurbishing furniture is one of my favorite activities. Thanks for the great tips and step by step instructions. I tried to pin one of the graphics – but wasn’t able to (???).

    Reply
    • Maria Kamara

      Hi Anna, thank you so much for letting me know about the graphic not pinning. I’ll have to look into that.

      Reply
  3. Felicia

    Totally worth saving! The flip looks amazing!

    Reply
    • Maria Kamara

      Hi Felicia! I appreciate it and fully agree my friend.

      Reply
  4. Edward

    Do you have a specific vision for how you plan to transform and repurpose the shelf?

    Reply
    • Maria Kamara

      I usually don’t start until I have a vision of what I want to accomplish. This shelf needed a new finish as well as a new purpose. It got both!

      Reply

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Welcome to Pure Happy Home! A home design and DIY blog encouraging and helping you to design spaces you love. Here you’ll find budget makeovers, design tips and creative ideas you can apply to your home. Follow along as our family of 7 works to make our home more beautiful and our relationships closer.

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