DIY Industrial Bookshelves

by Sarah
3 Materials
4 Hours

Still trudging along on my son's bedroom update and I have now officially completed week five of the One Room Challenge! Man, that really makes me realize how much I need to get done in the next week. Yikes. Anyway, these DIY industrial bookshelves were fast and easy. They are also the perfect complement to the platform bed Ikea hack and upholstered headboard that I made over the last couple of weeks.

Inspiration Stalking

I don’t know about you, but I like to make scouting trips before I start a project. Basically I go to different home stores and look for products I can use as inspiration for my designs. At a recent IKEA scouting trip, I came across some unfinished outdoor bookshelves. The side pieces were very close to the height and style I was looking to build...and they were already assembled. Oh, and $10 each!! I just couldn’t pass up such an inexpensive already assembled option. I picked up four of these side pieces and two of the metal X braces used for support. The Ikea shelves were too long and a tad too pricey, so I skipped those. Besides, I figured I could fashion those from boards from Home Depot, allowing me to customize a bit (while saving some money).

Bookshelf Side Braces: Ikea for the Win

The preassembled side pieces were painted using black chalk paint, the same paint I used for the platform bed update. I mistakenly tried using my paint sprayer but I ran through a ton of paint and didn’t get a great finish. So, I finished these up with hand brush painting. I would recommend either hand painting or picking up actual spray cans to get a better finish. Maybe chalk paint can’t be thinned out for a paint sprayer?? Or maybe my paint sprayer decided to be defective for this project? I don’t know, but either way I wasn’t happy with how they turned out using that for application.

Creating the Shelves

I picked up two 1 x 12 boards which were the perfect width for this project. Initially I was planning to attach them on the inside edge of the side pieces using pocket holes, but last minute decided to notch out the corners to create an inset fit.

1 x 1 inch squares were cut from each corner of the shelves using my jigsaw. Once all the corners were cut I sanded everything down and applied a coat of stain (Varathane Briarsmoke, my go to stain of the moment).

The boards were set in place and attached using inside corner braces. The X's were then attached to the back using a couple of screws and the bookshelves were done! Well, almost. I'm still looking for the perfect storage bins to go on the bottom shelf. I also picked up a couple of clamp mounted lamps from IKEA and attached them to each side of the bookshelves for some nice evening reading lights.

This project was super quick, easy, and such a great way to customize the size and colors of the bookshelves without building everything from scratch (gotta love a good shortcut)! I love the way they turned out and really feel like they work perfectly with the bed and all the other industrial elements in the space. Definitely head over the the One Room Challenge blog to check out all the other guest participants and all the amazing room updates happening! And come back next week when I will share the final reveal!

Resources for this project:
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Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • N. G. Londonderry N. G. Londonderry on Aug 18, 2020

    good idea BUT those cutouts don’t look like 1”X 1” “squares “

    Is that really the correct measurement?

  • Pam Galicki Pam Galicki on Aug 18, 2020

    Does that drawer or trundle on the bottom of the bed pull out? Or is it decorative only?

  • Gail Gail on Aug 18, 2020

    just curious? how much did you save by not buying the Ikea shelves and could you have purchased the whole unit and just shortened the shelves? Cut one side off? had leftover shelving wood material for future reference? Just wondering the cost savings. The room Looks very cool for a boy!

Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • CJ CJ on Aug 18, 2020

    Great job!

  • Carol Carol on Sep 21, 2021

    What a great idea! You did a wonderful job on that bedset and shelves! Thank you for sharing.