From Blah Bookcase to Basket Bonanza! Add a Shelf to Your Bookcase Top

Stacy Davis
by Stacy Davis
6 Materials
2 Hours

I have a bookcase unit in my dining/craft room and lately it has taken a downward spiral in being aesthetically pleasing. Now, my bookcase if you are looking at it, looks like it has a smooth top across the top but it is just an illusion. If I set anything on top, it sinks down below the crown molding probably 3 or 4 inches. I have stuck boards on top to set decor objects up there and sometimes I have set boxes on top to prop up items but it has always come out looking less than stellar. So, I decided to make a more permanent solution to the bookcase top.

Believe it or not, I had three options hanging out in my dining room. Now, I knew that none would fit the entire length but I was trying to get an idea for the direction that I wanted to go. So, I put all three up on top of the bookcase and stepped back to take them all in.

One was way too big, it went from the back wall and hung way over the front edge. One was too small, it didn't ever come close to covering the top. But, my stair tread was just right. It didn't go all the way back to the way but I would say it went 90% of the way and that bullnose edge on the front looked amazing on top of the crown molding.

I needed equal overhang on each end of my wall unit. Enter my new favorite toy... a digital tape measure! I don't know why but after all these years, I still have trouble reading a regular tape measure. This one is so awesome! I love it! But still "Measure Twice. Cut Once."

So, using that digital tape measure, I put the stair tread on top and moved it to the correct amount of over hang.

I made a cut mark with a piece of chalk.

I used my sliding miter box saw to cut my stairtread.

I used my little mouse sander to get it nice and smooth all over.

I set to staining it. I love disposable nitrile gloves to protect my hands and fingernails. My son bought a box of 50 and every time I stain something, I am thankful that he had the foresight to do that.

And if I am working on a project, my chicken supervisor always shows up to inspect my work.

Here it is before the stain.

Here we have the Before shelf topper picture...

And After! It isn't super noticeable but when it comes to decorating the top, it makes a huge difference. I ran around my house gathering baskets and in no time the whole unit looked phenomenally better. I am calling this little fix up a success. I had one stair tread and only needed to buy 2 more. They were about $12 a piece so all in all budget friendly fixup. Do you have some pieces of furniture that look like they have a top but don't? I have several pieces through out my whole house.

I also tried putting galvanized tubs up on top but I liked the baskets best. What about you? What would you put on top? Now, I didn't permanently attach these to the top because it didn't seem to be necessary but if you do decide to more permanently attach them, I wouldn't use glue just screws or maybe brackets because they are beaucoup heavy!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

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  2 questions
  • Barleysue Barleysue on Jan 05, 2019

    Where did you find $12 stair treads? Even the link to Amazon shows the price to be $24 for one even if you bought a set of 10 treads.

  • Lisa Cuddy Lisa Cuddy on Jan 07, 2019

    This is your craft room, right? Where are all your supplies? We lovingly call my sewing/painting/craft room ‘“The Warehouse “. Because that’s what it does; it houses wares needed for all my projects. BTW, it looks really nice. Just can’t figure out where your supplies are. Blessed be

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  • Laurie DeHaas Laurie DeHaas on Jan 23, 2019

    Every house I’ve moved into has this problem so why are they built this way in the first place?! They are impossible to clean and difficult to decorate! Nice job doing something I’ve always meant to do!

  • Chandra Chandra on Jan 29, 2019

    U did a wonderful job young lady👏👏