DIY Built-In Shelves in Joey’s Room

A while back, a long while back… holy moly, it was an entire year ago(!)… we mentioned that we wanted to add a wall of built-in shelves to Joey’s room, and they’re finally finished!

You can see a mock up of our plans from April 2018:

One of the walls in her room is set back about a foot, creating a little nook the length of the wall. It was the perfect place for us to have a credenza with her changing pad on top when she was a baby, but once she outgrew the changing pad, we moved the credenza to the living room and were left with an empty wall that was just begging for built-ins. It was meant to be!

We started with two Ikea Rast dressers. At less than 12″ deep and only 27″ tall, they’re the exact right size to fit into the nook, and the $35 pricetag is just the right fit for our budget!

The hardest part was deciding on whether to paint or stain the wood. The Ikea Rast dressers come unfinished, so you could leave them as is, but they’re perfect for paint or stain. We had a really hard time deciding… so we ended up splitting the difference and stained everything white! The white stain gives them a really nice whitewashed effect where you can still see the wood grain but they aren’t brown or grey, so they aren’t too beachy-rustic, which isn’t the look we are going for. I would have liked to do a fun color like Joey’s favorite blue, but I wanted to keep the wallpaper as the focal point. Plus three-year-olds are notoriously quick to change their minds, and I don’t want to repaint the built ins every time she has a new fave color.

The dresser came with some plain wood knobs before we replaced them with some inexpensive gold knobs from Home Depot. (I didn’t even notice when I was taking these pictures that there’s a sticker on one of them, spot it?!)

To build out the shelves around the dressers, Andy cut a board that fits on top of the dressers across the entire width of the wall, and screwed that directly onto the dressers. Then he screwed the vertical pieces up from the bottom, which act as both support for the top shelf and as storage dividers. We purposefully put them off-center to give a more midcentury feel. The top shelf he installed from the top with a nail gun. (I don’t have photos of any of that process, unfortunately.) We sanded and stained all of the wood pieces before installing them, which is so much easier than once they’re in.

To complete the built-in look, I went around all the edges and gaps with white caulk. I’m convinced caulking is the most satisfying part of a project. It really takes everything from “ok, that’s nice” to “WOW, that’s amazing” with so little effort and really makes everything look finished, as you can see in the shot above that’s half done.

The finished shelves are so adorable! They look like they’ve always been there, and they provide a nice amount of storage, both closed and open. In the drawers are most of Joey’s clothes and on the shelves she keeps her books, stuffed animals, jewelry box, a bin of shoes, as well as pull-ups and wipes. We also left a nook to hold her laundry basket. On top I put a few family photos and nicknacks that I thought she would like.

I asked Joey to pose in front of her shelves and pretend to look at her animals… but three year olds don’t really take direction and next thing I knew ALL the animals were on the floor!

But it was super cute.

We recently picked up this cute owl nightlight at Ikea and Joey named it Hedwig after Harry Potter’s owl. So I’ve successfully created a Harry Potter fan and my work as a mother is done!

The paper flowers were actually a decoration from my baby shower that I put up in Joey’s room before she was born. I never intended on them being permanent, but they’re still there!

I’m so happy with how this project turned out… even if it did take a while! The in-progress photos start all the way back in August and we finished just a few days ago in April, haha. But that’s just how things are for us right now while we have two small kids and jobs and don’t want to spend every weekend only doing projects instead of spending time as a family. We can’t get projects done as quickly and frequently as we used to, and that’s ok! We actually already have another project in the works for this room: Joey’s big-girl bed!! Wooo! It’ll require a bit of a room rearrange and some fun new accessories. I’m excited to get started soon and stay tuned for more!

One thought on “DIY Built-In Shelves in Joey’s Room

Leave a Reply to Linda Grand Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *