What do you do with paint samples that aren’t exactly the right color and leftover spray paint from previous projects? You paint a piece of furniture that sorely needs an update. So this is less of a how-to and more of a “my story with pictures” deal.

The story: My next big update is my home office. At first, I was just going to organize all my crap and purge old files. Then  I rearranged my bedroom and traded a chair in my office for a bench in my bedroom. And that’s how this whole cockamamie idea to update/renovate my office came about.

With every big update I do, I do it in parts as I can afford things and when I have time. The first part was rearranging furniture.  I moved  2 of my bookcases to the empty spot my chair left. This gave me a whole wall, a bulletin board, and a small filing cabinet to work with.

After my idea for chalk paint fizzled out ( I wanted to use a blue-green they didn’t make for chalk paint–plus the stuff is seriously expensive for such a large area), I decided I would paint the wall as an accent wall (for now, I may paint the whole room later). After 2 sample colors, I’ve found a totally different shade closer to blue. So now what I do I with these  sample paints?

Repaint a  bookcase that sorely needed it. Plus, this also let me experiment with colors.

The interior color is a mix of some of the sample paint shades.  The exterior of the bookcase is spray paint I used on the legs of my Footstool Upcycle. While I probably would not have picked these colors out  for this job, they will blend nicely with the other colors in my home office update.

In addition, I spray painted my bookends with some leftover gray spray paint to get them closer to the new room color story (scheme).  While black will work with a lot of color stories, here things will be lighter: beiges, tans, oranges, and light blues/blue-greens. The black bookends would look too heavy in comparison.

Want to do this bookcase renovation? Here’s some tips/ Lessons Learned:

  • The bookcase pictured is laminate  over particleboard. The back is a cardboard-covered laminate. In other words, it’s cheap and not exactly real wood, so the prep is not the same as real wood. I dusted this, wiped it off with a damp lint- free (microfiber is best)  cloth, and let dry before painting.
  • I didn’t do any sanding here (mainly because I was doing this in a hurry), but  if you have nicks, bumps, etc., you can use wood filler and you can sand particleboard as long as your paint choices provide complete coverage. Most Laminate is essentially a plastic  sticker with a wood grain design on it , so any sanding will just sand off the wood look. (Nowadays, some laminates are printed onto the material.)
  • Bookcase with spray-painted outside, primer inside for latex paint.

    ALWAYS use primer on laminate! As I said, laminate is essentially plastic, so most  latex paints will not stick to that.  Most spray paints will stick to plastic, but for good measure, you can buy spray paints with primer added.  That’s what I’ve used here.

  • Paints usually take 30 days to cure, especially water- based latex paint. While you can use a freshly-painted item right after the instructed drying time, waiting until paint cures may be necessary with some objects. With this bookcase, I will give it the full 30 days, because I don’t want my books to stick to the paint.
  • Bookends sprayed to compliment bookcase color story

    If you know nothing about color blends/stories, the easiest thing to do is get a color wheel. Google it. If you only have 1 color  you want to use,  on a color wheel you can easily find complementary and contrasting colors.  The one opposite your color on the wheel is the best contrast. The two on the right and left sides of your color are the best complements. Also, use Pinterest and the paint aisles of your local home improvement or paint stores. There are a lot of color stories already put together so you don’t have to think about it. Paint swatches are usually free in stores. Live with the swatch for a while. If you need a bigger sample, buy a  can of sample paint mixed with your color. You may also be able to get the sheen you want in the sample, too. (high gloss, satin, etc.)

  • This took me an afternoon, mainly because I used 2 colors–one of them not  spray paint–and I had to bring it inside to avoid the rain.  If you’re spray painting this and using one color, you could be done with this in as little as 2 hours.

Have fun!


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