the great shelving makeover

I’ve been planning this post since last year now, (since September to be exact – where does the time go?) and I am sooooo pleased to be able to finally write it. It’s probably literally my most anticipated post (for me, anyway. Possibly not for you lot!).

On a thrifting trip last year, I stumbled across an old, tired set of shelves – at the time we were looking for something to make into a toy shop or market stall for Benjamin, which for various reasons didn’t quite work out the way we planned. I ended up with them stuck in the conservatory, in their sorry state, and spent quite a long time considering sending them to a furniture charity shop just to be shot of them.

Poor Adam.
Date stamp alert!
Imaginative graffiti.
You might be surprised to know that this hook was the first thing to go.

In the end, I decided that I wasn’t going to give into my laziness, and that since I’d bought them, I was going to bite the bullet and clean them up to use in the house. They were covered in scratches, graffiti, chips and gouges, and someone had welded the tackiest (but not in a good way) hook onto the side. Out came the sander, and off we went.

I thought about buying some Annie Sloan chalk paint and almost succumbed to the lure of the ready-made, but when they tried to charge me £7 for delivery, my tightwad tendencies just wouldn’t let me pay. I ended up with a tin of paint from good old Wilkinsons (2.5 litres for the same price as 1 litre of Annie Sloan), some tile grout and a baby milk tin to mix it all in – and I made my own stinkingly cheap chalk paint, a la the ace Lucy from Lulastic (honestly, that girl has saved me a packet with her nifty thrifty ways). Three coats of paint and two coats of varnish later, I give you, the shelves……

I’m so pleased with them, I can’t even begin to tone down my enthusiasm. I actually kissed them when they were finished. The colour was ace, the paint went on evenly and the varnish sealed the deal perfectly (literally, guffaw). They’re now home to various lovely things, namely two vintage tins that I’m planning on using in the garden as planters (this might actually not happen, as the thought of them rusting terrifies me…) and my vintage sewing boxes. This seems like a good time to share the little corner of the conservatory that I’ve clawed back from the sticky grasp of the kiddos – it was a playroom, but I seem to be amassing so much crafty stuff that I decided I was going to give it all a home. (Just so you know – this side of the camera was impeccably neat, but the other side looked like an explosion in a toy factory. Real life, people!)

It’s such a light, bright space, but man alive is it cold in the winter. I’ve got a little fan heater, but in the depths of Winter I’ll probably be curled up back on the sofa with the laptop – it’s hard to sew with frostbite.


  1. Lisa-Marie
    March 19, 2013 / 4:19 pm

    It's beautiful. That teal colour is glorious. And you saved them from obscurity! 🙂

  2. Kate
    March 19, 2013 / 4:22 pm

    Oh they look fab, really love that paint colour, good old Wilkos!

  3. Miss Moopette
    March 19, 2013 / 4:45 pm

    I love teal! Teal is my fave. In fact my front room is generally teal, orange and brown! Strangely works well together!

  4. Kate Pirouette
    March 19, 2013 / 8:31 pm

    Wow! They look amazing! Well done for not giving up, they were very definitely worth it in the end :)Kate Just Pirouette and Carry On… Follow me on Bloglovin?

  5. Jade D
    March 19, 2013 / 8:36 pm

    that looks lush. and the colour is devine. im of charity shopping tomorrow. might go have a goosey gander for a doer uper lol.

  6. Carolyn Carter
    March 19, 2013 / 8:51 pm

    They look fab! It's so satisfying when you complete a project like that, isn't it? Great colour choice too. I also did up an old 70's dolls cot for my little girl with good old Wilko paint – in fact I just bought the sampler pot for a pound and it was enough! I also love your crafty space.. i've recently set up a little corner for all my crafty bits & bobs, so far just a shelf that needs a lick of paint but it's just so nice to have a corner that is not dominated by kiddies things. 🙂

  7. my little red suitcase
    March 19, 2013 / 9:10 pm

    what an absolute success! also love that colourful granny square cushion I can spy! Heather x

  8. Helen - sittinginthekitchensink
    March 19, 2013 / 9:16 pm

    They look fab! Gorgeous colour and lovely to have crafty things amassed together. I'll be hunting out how to recreate the chalk paint too, the price of annie sloan paints makes me wince! (And noooo, don't put those tins in the garden, keep them rust free!)x

  9. Swallow Barn
    March 19, 2013 / 9:33 pm

    beautiful – I love the colour. I'm actually halfway through a shelf makeover myself but mine is nowhere near as imaginative as yours – making your own chalk paint etc. I'm well impressed!Nikki x

  10. The Dress Tree
    March 20, 2013 / 1:08 pm

    Nice one! Seriously those shelves are a thing of beauty! I love things like this that just give you a little lift each time you see them and it's sooo much easier to make time for crafting when you have an inviting space to work in. I hope you've congratulated yourself with cake?

  11. LandGirl1980
    March 20, 2013 / 3:05 pm

    You *should* be pleased with them! They are awesome! Fab colour 🙂

  12. The Beach Hut Cook
    March 20, 2013 / 4:44 pm

    Perfect and so much better than anything you could buy. A one off! BHC x

  13. KatGotTheCream
    March 20, 2013 / 4:54 pm

    What a gorgeous spot, I want to be there now. That Annie Sloan cheat sounds ace (we need to paint our kitchen table). I'm with Helen above, I'd hate to see those gorgeous tins rust in the garden – the colours look perfect against the teal shelves.

  14. Jessica
    March 22, 2013 / 7:10 pm

    That turned out great! What a pretty color.

  15. Alex
    March 26, 2013 / 3:50 pm

    Very clever and so pretty! Well done 🙂

  16. Anonymous
    April 13, 2013 / 9:20 pm

    Absolutely love these shelves!!! What a fantastic job!!

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