DIY Built-In Bookshelves

We added built-in bookshelves to our living room that double as an entertainment center. I'm so happy with how they turned out! Here is the simple tutorial.

Save money by building bookshelves yourself. Here are a few tips to keep expenses down.  Cost Saving Tips  – Use pine for the wood as it is the least expensive. You will be painting it so the type of wood isn't top priority. – Use leftover paint or stain that you already have. – Use just one bracket per shelf.

Green Bulb

- Casing 9/16 X3-5/8 MDF  – 1×2 6′ Select Pine Board  – 1×6 6′ Select Pine Board  – 1×2 8′ Select Pine Board  – 1×4 6′ Select Pine Board  –  1×10 8′ Select Pine Board  – Stain, Paint – Screws – Kreg Pocket Hole System

– Shelf sides: 1x10s cut to the height needed from the countertop to the ceiling. – Shelves for the exterior bookshelves: 1x10s cut to the width desired for the bookshelf. Each shelf was installed with pocket holes and a Kreg Jig.

Cut Wood for Built-in Shelves 

Stain Wood

Lay the cut wood out on drop cloth and stain or paint it the color that you like.  I used a paint sprayer to save time.

Light Yellow Arrow

To get the white washed look  that I show, use a dry brush technique to paint over the stain with white paint. Let the paint dry then add one layer of water-based polyurethane.

Dry Brush Built-in Bookshelves

Attach each shelf to the wall using an L bracket. Be sure the screw is attached to a stud. This is important since you are only using one bracket per shelf.

Install the Shelves

Once the shelves are on, it's time to add the trim. Start by cutting 1×6’s with an angled end. These meet up at the front with a longer piece for the top. Use clamps to hold the shelves in place while you screw them in.

Install the Trim 

Add the trim to the front of the shelves and the sides using a nail gun. The trim makes a big difference in the finished look of the bookshelves!

Add the Front Trim 

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Danielle Pientka

Danielle is a DIY/craft/sewing blogger on  She loves to write about projects that she makes for her small farm, her children, and her home.