Bookcase Makeover for Baby Nursery

2 Materials
8 Hours

This antique bookcase makeover for a baby nursery was a project near and dear to my heart.

Our first grandchild is due soon, and when my daughter told me they needed a bookcase for the nursery, I excitedly volunteered to take on that project.

You guys know how much I love furniture makeovers, so getting to make a special project for my daughter/granddaughter was so much fun.

I am partnering with the Dixie Belle Paint Company for this post. Paint and supplies were generously provided to me by Dixie Belle, but all ideas and creations are my own.

I showed my daughter the many color choices available in the Dixie Belle Chalk Paint line, and she selected Tea Rose, which is a beautiful dusty rose color with a vintage vibe– perfect for a little girl’s room.

Finding the right bookcase turned out to be harder than I expected. Since this was a special gift for my granddaughter, I wanted something that was solid wood, so it would stand the test of time.

Plus, there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room with the dimensions they gave me for where it needed to fit in the baby nursery.

Finally, after visiting nearly every thrift store, flea market, and antique mall in our vicinity, plus stalking Facebook Marketplace for a couple of weeks, I finally located this listing for an “Antique Solid Wood Bookcase”.

The seller was asking $75. Via messenger, I offered $50 and she agreed to meet at the storage locker where she had it stashed.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with this…

The original shelves were missing.

Instead, she handed me three pieces of pine that had been badly stained in a mismatched color, and didn’t even fit correctly, along with a package of shelf brackets (that I later discovered didn’t fit either.)

But, I did like the sweet curvy lines of the bookcase on the top and the bottom, plus the ridge detailing on the edges.

I reduced my offer to $40 because of the shelf situation, which she accepted, so off we went with my new, old bookcase.

Maybe I still overpaid, but I was determined to give this little old lady a brand new look, fit for a princess.

Bookcase Makeover for Baby Nursery


First things first, we shored up a couple of separated joints with Gorilla glue and some clamps, and allowed it to dry overnight.


Next, I gave this old piece a good cleaning, using Dixie Belle’s White Lightning cleaner and some shop towels. I wanted to make sure the paint would adhere properly.

White Lightning comes in a powder format, which you mix with water. I like to mix and then place it in an old spray bottle for easier application.

New Shelves

The sad shelves that the seller gave me were just not going to work, so off to Home Depot we went for wood, trim moulding, and new shelf pegs.

I chose an edge moulding with similar lines as the edges of the original bookcase, for a cohesive look.

My husband cut three new solid wood shelves to the correct size, I gave them a good sanding, and then attached the trim moulding to the front of each shelf using Gorilla Glue again.

Scotch Blue Painter’s tape held the trim in place while it dried overnight.

Looking better already, don’t you think?


One more important step before painting, especially if you’re painting a light color over a dark stain, is to prime. It would be a shame for the tannins in the stain to seep through the pretty pink on this bookcase makeover for the baby nursery.

Better safe than sorry, and Dixie Belle’s BOSS is the perfect solution to block odors, stains, and bleed-through.

I used two coats of Boss on the inside and outside of the original bookcase, because of the dark walnut stain that was on it.

On the raw wood shelves, I applied one coat of Boss, to make sure they accepted the paint in a similar way as the walnut.

In the end, I wanted the shelves to look like they had always been a part of this old bookcase.

Dixie Belle’s Tea Rose Chalk Mineral Paint

I was “tickled pink” when my daughter chose this beautiful Tea Rose pink for the baby’s bookcase.

Pink has always been my very favorite color, and I was excited to get to work with this beautiful s hade.

One thing I especially love about using Dixie Belle Paint Chalk Mineral Paint is that it is water-based, so by spraying my brush or my furniture piece lightly with a water mister, I can move the paint around easily, and keep it from drying too quickly while I’m working.

This helps prevent brush strokes and ensures a nice, even finish.

You can find these handy little painter’s cones HERE.
The cones keep the shelves suspended so they can dry.

Sand with a Finishing Pad

After the second coat of Tea Rose Chalk Mineral Paint had dried overnight, I gently buffed the whole bookcase with a Dixie Belle Finishing Pad.

This helps knock down any rough spots or little bumps that might be in the finish, and smooth everything out.

Peel & Stick Wallpaper

To give this antique bookcase makeover an extra special touch, I added peel & stick wallpaper with a beautiful peony floral pattern to the back, behind the shelves.

I placed the bookcase flat on its back to make the wallpaper application easier.

I unrolled the approximate amount, and then used a razor blade to cut along the edges for a precision cut.

I pulled back a little of the backing at a time, using a plastic putty knife to smooth as I went, to avoid wrinkles.

Isn’t she pretty!?

The floral wallpaper is such a nice complement to the Dixie Belle Tea Rose pink chalk pain t, and adds extra visual interest.

Easy Peasy Wax

Almost done!

The last step was to apply a generous coat of Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy Wax.

Dixie Belle’s Chalk Paint does not require a topcoat, but I like the extra silky smooth matte finish you get by adding a layer of this easy-to-use spray wax.

Just spray, allow to sit for a minute, then buff.

Definitely easy-peasy.


The shelves are back in and she’s ready for books!

Let me just remind you how far we’ve come….

Finished Bookcase Makeover for Baby Nursery

Now, this little beauty is now fit for a princess.

This is what I love about furniture makeovers…

I don’t know what this little bookcase’s past held in her previous 100 years, but I love that this makeover has given her a new purpose.

She’s been cleaned up, refreshed, and is now ready to start the next phase of her journey in our sweet little granddaughter’s nursery.

If you want to see her loaded with books, as my gift to my daughter at her baby shower, you can check out THIS post.

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Suggested materials:
  • Dixie Belle Paints   (Dixie Belle website)
  • Floral wallpaper   (Amazon)
Niky | The House on Silverado
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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