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12 Best-Looking Refurbished Bookshelves

You found an old bookshelf at a garage sale, in your basement or on craiglist, but it needs a little TLC. Whether you use paint, stain or some creative contact paper, here's a look at 12 of the best-looking refurbished bookshelves to inspire you.

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bookshelfLittle City Farmhouse

Plaid Bookshelf

Cait Miller from Little City Farmhouse gave this old bookshelf a new look with some fresh paint. She painted a plaid pattern on the back which is a good contrast with the gray-blue color used on the outside and the shelves.Learn how to refinish furniture from a pro.

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Family Handyman

Flipped IKEA Kallax

We love this reinvented basic, ready-to-assemble bookshelf. It started out as a standard 4-shelf Kallax unit but after turning it on its side, wrapping it with plywood and adding legs, it’s so much more stylish. Here are the complete step-by-step how-tos so you can make one of these yourself.

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book urbanfactoryclassics/Etsy

Metal Barrister Bookshelf

This metal bookshelf has been reimagined into a sleek and stylish design. Use it to store books along with other items you want to display.Check out these 33 bookcase projects and building tips.

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whiteTheGreenSceneAntique/Etsy

Victorian Bookshelf

This Victorian-style bookshelf was painted white for a fresh look. It would not only work to store books, but also to brighten up a dining room where it could be used to store cookbooks and decorative mugs. The beveled mirror insets add to this bookshelf’s uniqueness.Here are 12 ideas for organizing with open shelving.

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greenRehabVintageLA/Etsy

1970s Steel Bookcase

This tall, steel bookcase with adjustable shelves is refinished in lime green. If you’re looking to bring some bright color to a room, try painting an old bookcase in a bold, unexpected hue.Try these top paint colors for 2018.

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pinkHomeLoveCharms/Etsy

Children’s Bookshelf

This refurbished bookshelf is hand-painted and would work great as an end for a child’s bed. If you’re feeling creative, try painting animals or a fun design on a bookshelf for your child’s room.Here are 11 great DIY bed frame plans and ideas.

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shelfLeonsFurnitureShop/Etsy

Chalk Paint Bookcase

Here’s a DIY bookcase that was made 20 years ago and recently refurbished with white chalk paint. Chalk paint gives furniture a distressed and antique look, perfect for some decorating styles.Learn how to finish and protect your chalk paint projects.

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blueRusticFurnishings/Etsy

Turquoise Bookshelf

If you find a perfectly sized bookshelf that needs a little TLC, try experimenting with different paints and painting techniques. This bookshelf is finished with a bright base coat and then has a top coat in a different hue. Milk paint can give your furniture a similar look.Check out these 11 ways to use old fashioned milk paint in your home.

Photo: Courtesy of RusticFurnishings/Etsy

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blackArtbyJillBrown/Etsy

Patterned Bookcase

This refurbished bookcase was finished with a rich, glossy black paint and features a patterned backing. Depending on the finishing method you choose, you can make an old piece of furniture fit in with your classic decor.

Wait, look closer. This is actually a piece of refurbished Barbie funirture! Gotcha!Here are 14 not-tacky ways to use contact paper.

Photo: Courtesy of ArtbyJillBrown/Etsy

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smallBettysBootiqueShop/Etsy

Shabby-Cute Bookshelf

If you’re looking for a shabby-chic project, here’s a refurbished bookshelf to inspire you. The photo is a little blurry, but we like this bookshelf because it features a light coat of paint that will work with any decorating style, and it’s a good size for a child’s playroom or bedroom.Check out these 12 awesome ideas for storing toys.

Photo: Courtesy of BettysBootiqueShop/Etsy

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tinyCreationsRedeemed/Etsy

Upcycled Drawer Bookshelf

With a little creative thinking, this DIYer created a bookshelf by using two drawers. It’s a perfect size for an entryway or an apartment living room or office.Learn how to build suspended bookshelves.

Photo: Courtesy of CreationsRedeemed/Etsy

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Hidden bed behind bookshelfPhoto: Courtesy of Brandon Dempster

Bookshelf/Bed Combo

This bookshelf wasn’t just refurbished, it was transformed! By connecting the bookshelf to a bed frame and adding casters, the bed can be rolled away into the unfinished attic space where it is covered by a wooden box, so it doesn’t get dusty! Here’s more on this clever project.

You might also enjoy making these invisible bookshelves.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.