Way back when I was redecorating my little girls room I had a lot of emails asking for instructions on how we did the decorative trim and built-in bookshelf. We actually added those details years previously (before I took 50 pictures of everything :))and that is why you see them in the before pictures. It was the perfect solution to an awkward corner, and added a little character and charm to the room. I never put up the Diy, and just emailed people with what I could to help them out. Well, while cleaning out my pictures I realized I had a enough random shots of the trim and bookshelf that I could write up a basic how-to. Wahoo! It was pretty easy and very inexpensive to do – catch me after the jump for all the details!
Diy Built In Bookshelf And Trim
Before we get into the how-to, let me explain how it came about. We had originally added the trim and bookshelf for my first baby’s nursery. We painted a solid color on the bottom and then added stripes above the trim – so the trim acted as divider of the two. We repainted the room when we moved and rented the home. Then we moved back, and that is when I redecorated it for my little girl. I forgot how much I loved the little built in shelf, and actually when we sold the home that was a favorite feature in showing it. The best part is that it was safe. Littles like to climb, and this built-in was solid. Second best – it was off the floor for easy vacuuming. Okay now the how-to:
Trim and Moulding Used:
- Quarter round moulding
- Chair Rail Casing
- Trim Molding
- Inside and outside corner blocks (similar, just not for baseboards)
- MDF shelving board – or any size you want
We wanted a white built-in so we bought primed mdf materials. All except the quarter round – and I wished I would have. You can also make this out of all wood and stain, just make sure you choose boards that are nice and straight.
- Table saw
- Hammer and nails (I can’t remember the specific nails, but you can ask for assistance at the hardware store. I do know we used finishing nails for the trim parts)
- Wood glue
- Tape measure and pencil
I am sure if you do any type of woodwork you have more handy tools than we did – use what you’ve got.
Now this is the part where I’ll wish I had pictures – you will have to excuse my lack of proper wood working lingo :).
Built-In Shelving Steps
You can see the parts of the shelf in this photo – quarter round trim, shelving on top, decorative trim added to the front. This should help you visualize what I’m attempting to explain.
- first cut the wood shelving to fit the corner you will be using it in – check as you go, most corners do not have perfect angles
- cut the quarter round trim to length – they will run underneath the back of the shelves against the wall acting as a brace. You will cut the inside corners with a 45 degree miter cut
- using a level, pencil, and tape measure mark where you want the shelves – we had 12 inches in between the bottom three, and then the top we left a little more room for a larger item. The first shelf was about 1½ feet off the floor, with the top about 2 feet from the ceiling to match where we had added the chair rail.
- nail the quarter round in place, run a thin strip of wood glue on top, then place the shelf on top of that. It was easiest to work from the bottom up
- next we nailed the shelves in place on the ends of the face straight into the wall
- once we had all the shelves in place, we added the decorative trim to the sides, cut to length accounting for the top moulding.
- then we added the trim to the front of the shelves. You can see in the photo how we cut the ends at an angle to overlap the side trim.
For the top, you can see how we incorporated it with the chair rail we took around the room. We just took that side trim up to it, and then added the chair rail to the front of the top shelf using the corner blocks on the sides. If you are not adding the trim around the room, I would just miter the corners to match the wall.
Here is a side view, you can see how it all lined up.
To finish it off, I just used painters calk to fill in all the gaps along the trim, at the back of the shelves where they met the wall, and anywhere else I saw one. Then I painted it all the same color as the trim throughout the room, including the wall inside the built-in.
Now for the trim around the room. I remember this being pretty easy, although my husband might tell you a different story. What made it easy was using the block corners. They made it so no mitered corners were necessary.
You just nail the blocks in place on the outside and inside corners of the room (we even used them on the window corners), and then cut the chair rail to length and nail in place. Then I used a little painters calk to cover the nail holes.
Just a little tip: paint first, and then add the trim. Then all you have to do is a little touch up.
So there you have it! I am sure someone else could have made that clearer, but you get the general idea right? If I ever have a room with an awkward little corner again, this will be the first project on my list – so fun with the perfect amount of charm.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will answer them there!