DIY Built-In Bookshelves

I’ve been meaning to share an update on these for a while… But I’m pleased to say that no “update” is needed, as they are finally finished!  I give to you our new office built-in bookshelves:

After leveling and installing hardwood flooring in Mr. Pax’s office, I painted the room this beautiful charcoal gray.  And Mr. Pax got to work on some built-in bookshelves.  We considered converting Ikea Billy shelves (like we did in our master closet) as a base, but ultimately decided that a longer-lasting, real wood unit was better.  So he started from scratch.  Did he do an amazing job or what?!?!  The trim work makes the integration seamless.

I love the arched tops.

And the cozy window seat.

We plan to put doors eventually on the cabinets below the window seat, but for now, I’m he’s just so glad he has his office back.  And better than ever, of course!  The rest of the room still needs some styling (actually, in the interest of full disclosure, the only “styling” I did on these bookcases was adding the photo of Mr. Pax and me – which I found in a closet – to fill an empty spot… these are purely functional shelves for our book hoarding problem love of learning).

So a reveal will come.  Eventually.  In reality, this is mostly a brag post.  Mr. Pax not only leveled the floor (seriously, this is what it was like before, it was a huge task!), but he built these things from scratch.  And. they’re. beautiful.

I can’t wait to show you how far this room truly has come.  And I’m so thankful Mr. Pax is not only willing to put up with encourage me in my DIY exploits, but he’s willing to take risks and try some new things for himself.  I’d say it was a pretty successful first attempt at building cabinetry… wouldn’t you?

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  1. Jeni Land says:

    Hey, friend! I was googling ideas for built-ins because we are turning our formal dining into an office space, and I saw your pretty shelves. I had no idea it was YOUR blog. I saw the framed picture of you and your husband on the shelf, and I thought… that sure looks like Rachel… and it was true! Ha! Hope you are doing well. Your home and your blog are beautiful! – Jeni Land

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Haha… So glad I could surprise you! 😉 And so glad you like it – thank you for your sweet comment!! We’ll have to get you guys over here sometime. :) Hugs!!

  2. Fantastic built-in shelves. Would you mind sharing instructions/plans so I can build my own? Thanks so much.

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Hi John, I’m so glad you like the shelves! Unfortunately, I don’t have instructions or plans (mostly because they were done over several months almost a year ago…), but if we ever get it together enough to share, I promise I’ll post them on the blog! :)

  3. Omg! these are beautiful. Do you have a step by step how-to? what was your overall cost? what kind of tools did you use? how long did these take you?

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Thank you so much, Cat! Unfortunately, I don’t have a step by step. I had every intention of doing one, but I realized when my husband was finished that he had pretty much done it all while I watched the kids, and I never took any pictures! Oops. It probably cost us ~$400. Not the cheapest, but we LOVED them. We used a table saw, and chop saw, and a router (to fit the adjustable shelving pieces in the sides). I hope this helps!

      • LOVE these! A few questions:

        Do you have some shelves affixed/supported by wood braces instead of sitting on adjustable pegs?

        Are the shelves finished with a strip of molding on the front?

        What type of wood did you use?

        Thanks for the info!

        • Rachel Paxton says:

          Hi Louisa,
          I’m so glad you like them! Unfortunately, we built them over two years ago in a home we no longer own, and I did a very poor job documenting. I’m going to try to answer your questions, though: We did have some affixed with wood braces – one or two per unit, if I remember right. Yes, we used a strip of 1×2 molding on the front of our shelves (which I believe were made with 1×10’s). We used a combination of woods: plywood for the frame, basic 2×4’s for bracing where it was hidden, and the nicer, paint grade ash or poplar for the shelves and facing. I hope this helps!

  4. I love the bookcases.
    We have carpet in the bedroom sitting area where I’d like to build them.
    Do I pull the carpet back or just build right over it??

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      I guess it’s technically your choice, but I think the better move would be to install it on a hard surface because you may have trouble getting it truly level on the carpet. It will also be difficult to keep it from shifting later (which will break your caulk lines) on the carpet. Hope this helps!

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