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DIY Built in Bookshelves

Hello World,

In a previous post, I blogged about how my parents installed custom cabinets in the dining room and saved themselves $5,000.  My parents also recently installed built-in bookshelves in the living room.

Check out below for pictures (thanks to my mom):

Here is the living room before. My mom thought the TV looked weird with the way the room looked. We also have a stove because we live in Idaho... and the winters can be rough! (The National Guard actually had to shovel snow off of my high school a few years ago because the roof was starting to cave- and the school was only 10 years old.)

My parents bought unfinished cabinets from Home Depot.  (4 upper kitchen cabinets were bought total)

They bought a discounted fireplace mantel. (Note from my mom: Double check the measurements you need for the fireplace- including cabinet spacing and trim.) 

They also bought a discounted gas fireplace insert. My dad sells stoves/BBQs here: www.stovesdirect.com.

They picked a fireplace that was narrow- so it wouldn't eat up too much space.

My dad build the top frame out of 2x4's and plywood.  His piece is sitting on top of the kitchen cabinets. He cut them to size and made the back panels with thin plywood sheets.

He installed the fireplace and added trim to finish the edges.

My mom painted all the trim in our garage on saw horses and over drop cloths.

My mom used one gallon of primer on the build-ins. She also would sand a little between paint coats.

My mom used 1.5 gallons of semi gloss paint- with 2 full coats of cream paint.

My dad also cut oak plywood to size for the shelves.

Because it is chilly in Idaho, they primed and painted the shelves inside.  This actually is our basement with drop cloths on our pool table.

Almost finished- still needs to be staged/put items on the shelves.

My mom doing final touchups.

My parents bought these hammered metal knobs at Habitat for Humanity for $0.50 each.

Check out how the living room looks now here: link.


  1. This is exactly what I want to do and I figured out but no thinks I can do it. Now I know I can. Any help...how much did it end up costing? I know you saved 5k...how long was the wall etc. so excited now. Thank God my daughter found this......

    1. My parents saved $5,000 for the Dining room. The estimate for the dining room cabinets, counter, shipping, trim, ect was almost $7,000 (Not including installation). For the living room they bought: four 36" x 30" wall cabinets of unfinished oak. (SKU 534-097) from Home Depot. They cost $97 each. They also bought a gallon of primer, wood for the shelves (not particle board), $22 of semi-gloss paint, knobs, and the fireplace mantle.