Amy Meier Design
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Journal

Custom Bookshelves

Peanut is taking her sweet little time!  So while we wait for her arrival, why not dive into another detail in her room.  If you’ve been looking for bookcases recently, I bet you’ve noticed the industrial trend.  The market is full of bookcases made of metal and glass, often with open sides like etageres, or else tall library-style pieces that look like built-ins. If you find wood, it’s most likely laminate or a cheaper pressed wood. We wanted something that would hold a lot of book weight and withstand the wear and tear of toddlers learning how to stand (and climb). That ruled out the flimsy particle board options we saw everywhere.

What’s a girl to do when she’s looking for a durable, all wood bookcases?

Your best bet is an unfinished furniture store.  While the process isn’t entirely custom, they do offer a wide range of measurements to choose from. There’s a lot more flexibility because they’re creating a piece just for you.

I got to choose from a variety of options for molding, leg shape and over-all dimension.

Some stores will finish the piece for you, but they have limited paint colors.  I prefer to have my decorative painter paint mine because the options are limitless! I painted our bookshelves the same color as the room trim (Benjamin Moore Carlisle Cream).  That way they almost feel like a built-in.

The most fun touch was adding wallpaper to the interior of the shelves. Here’s a tip: make sure to prime and paint one coat before you put the wallpaper on.  If you ever want to take the paper off, it will remove easily rather than sticking to (and corroding) the wood.  The wallpaper I chose works well with the trim color and the white walls.  But it also has a wavy line in it that ties into the window treatments and bedding.  There’s something satisfying about having a design motif repeated in small doses throughout the room.

When it comes to unfinished furniture, have fun with it!  Do something a little bit different, and find ways to customize it.  Taking the design one step further keeps the room fun and interesting.  Think of unfinished furniture as a blank slate, and put the freedom it affords you to good use.

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Behind the DesignAmy Meier