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Short and sweet: A Fixer Upper-inspired bookshelf refinish

I’m so excited to share this project! I was able to tackle this DIY from start to finish in just a few weeknights. It was super easy, and only takes a few products.

This wooden bookshelf has been in our bedroom for years, and without a real purpose, it became a catchall for all different kinds of things: our daughter’s toys, electronics, jewelry, and various mementos. I wanted to clear out the clutter, and make it more of a design piece. After researching a few design ideas, and only one shopping trip to Target and Lowe’s, I was able to begin my shelfie makeover.

Shelf before: clutter and chaos

I was so eager to complete this project that I forgot to take photos along the way, but it was so simple and only took a few steps. Here’s how to recreate your own:

1. Use sandpaper to sand down the wood (shelves, inside/outside, top/bottom) especially if there’s a previous coat of paint or varnish on the wood. This will help the new paint color “stick.” Have a dust rag nearby to wipe off sawdust.

2. Apply two coats of paint – I used Valspar Chalky Finish Spray Paint in White for a matte look.

Valspar Chalky Finish Paint

3. For a distressed, barnwood-style look, wait 24 hours after the paint dries and get out your sandpaper again. Start sanding in random sections until you have the distressed finish desired.

4. Wipe off any sawdust with a dust cloth, and apply a furniture sealant with a clean cloth to protect and lock in the color. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax. (The product is great but smells bad and has a lot of chemicals, so it helps to wear disposable latex gloves.)

5. You could stop here, but to add some color and even more farmhouse appeal, I added contact paper to the back of the shelves that was shiplap-inspired and reminiscent of weathered barnwood: Devine Color Peek & Stick Wallpaper in Mirage. Just measure, cut, and stick. So easy! It’s a large roll but can be used on other projects.

Farmhouse barnwood distressed DIY shelf

And that’s it! It took only one Target run to find the perfect pieces to finish and style the shelf.

Farmhouse barnwood distessed DIY shelf home decor

Shop the look:

Ampersand Paper Weight

Hearth & Hand Home Bud Vase

Hexagon Glass Jewelry Box in Polished Nickel

The small wire basket was a score from the Target $1 section.

I added the Hearth & Hand Storage Box in Charcoal to house any electronics, trinkets, and cards.

The vintage keys were a favor from a friend’s wedding, and the baseballs are keepsake gifts given to my husband: one as a wedding gift written with all of the ways he is a great “catch” (wink wink), and another with our newborn daughter’s hand and foot prints.

Add some of your favorite books, flowers (fresh or faux), and a framed photo to personalize and make it your own, and you’re done!

Farmhouse style DIY barnwood shelf

I love that the piece is now functional but beautiful, and fits more with the overall aesthetic of the room. So simple! And now, so lovely.

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