Painting A Wood Bookshelf Soft Green

We asked. You voted. We listened.

I’m talking about the ballot we put out a couple of weeks ago to elect a new color for our blah bookcase.

Painted Bookcase Options

While there was support for all three subtle color options, as well as a few new hues thrown into the mix, we let majority rule. Here’s the resulting GREEN bookcase:

It’s not as subtle and grey as the green we originally considered in option #3, but after falling for the kitchen that inspired us in Kristy’s Design Dilemma (and growing some color cajones) we decided to go a little brighter and bolder. That’s how we landed on Glidden’s “Zen Mist.” A purer green, with a hint of lime-y yellow. All it took was a coat of primer and two semi-gloss coats of our new favorite color and presto.

We love it. And we owe you all a big “thanks” for your suggestions as we stepped outside of our white-washed comfort zone. We think its a huge improvement over the reddish wood color that didn’t match anything else in that room. And now it totally compliments all the green accents on the dining room wall (as many of you pointed out) while still allowing all the white objects on the shelves to pop.

But what do you guys think? Happy with the vote? Demand a recount? Do tell.


  1. Kimberly says

    Oh, guys, I dig it! I am enjoying how the color you chose brightens that space not to mention the drastic difference in the appearance of the reflective pearly/gold-ish accessory on the right side of the top shelf; looks like 2 different objects in each of your pictures just because of the color it is reflecting. You should totally add a long shot to your flikr house pics with the bookcase in the foreground and your dining area in the background just so we can enjoy those greens complimenting each other.

    “Why, dining room green, look at you today”
    “Well, bookcase green, I pop even more because of you…how can I ever thank you?”

  2. says

    I really love it! Great choice going brighter – you guys are visionaries :) Quick question for you – do you mind posting the process of how you painted it? Did you sand? Did you prime? I’m planning on painting some Craigslist chairs white soon and I’m pretty clueless on how to do it.


  3. says

    I didn’t vote, but I have to say the new green looks great! It looks very fresh and so cute!
    Id say your readers picked a great colour!

  4. YoungHouseLove says

    Glad you share the love for our new green. Kate, you’re right, our readers picked very well. We should let you guys design more of our house for us!

    Bryn, Sherry’s got a system down for painting wood furniture with no sanding involved (even if the wood is varnished). For your chairs we’d suggest:
    – First, use one coat of an oil-based primer like Kilz
    – Then go over it with two coats of flat paint
    – Finally, do two thin coats of a clear, water-based polyurethane (oil-based will discolor your paint)

    That system is great for things that get lots of wear and tear like chairs or tables. For this bookcase, however, we skipped the poly (since it won’t get regular use) and just used a semi-gloss paint to give it some shine. Either way, it’s a pretty simple process.

    Be sure to let us know how those chairs turn out. We painted the white chairs in our sunroom (which I’m currently sitting on) using that method and it worked like a charm.


  5. Kristy Hall says

    Of course, I love the green. Looks great.

    We’re moving ahead sprucing up the kitchen. Selecting our granite, ordering the dishwasher and checking out the zen mist swatch in person. I will keep you updated…

  6. Elizabeth says

    wow, that’s a great color and it looks fantastic with all of the things on your shelf! did you try other shades of green before choosing that one? we are trying to find the perfect shade of blue for our master bath and are stumped. we wanted palladian blue (same color as our bedroom) but it is really washed out looking in the bathroom. the shade darker than palladian is really green looking, so now we are looking for new shades o’ blue. does anyone have any suggestions or favorite blues?

  7. YoungHouseLove says

    Alyssa- They’re actually cards with different parts of NYC on them. They’re called City Walk cards and you can get them from a variety of cities to find a bunch of scenic places to walk in a particular area. After we left NYC we didn’t know what to do with them, but loved looking at certain ones that reminded us of our past, so we took our favorite five and framed them and used them throughout the bookcase. Easy art in a second, huh?

    Kristy- We’re so excited that you’re moving forward with the kitchen makeover! Definitely take lots of before, during, and after pics to document all the hard work. We can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

    Elizabeth- We luckily stumbled upon the right green on the first try- but it’s taken us a while (and a lot of repainting) to become pretty good paint selectors. As for the perfect blue, Gentle Tide by Glidden is our absolute favorite (it’s the calming gray-blue with a hint of green that we used in our bedroom and our kitchen- and it would be so spa-like and soothing in a bathroom). Good luck with the paint hunt!

    Paula- We didn’t sand the shelf first but we did use one coat of oil based primer followed by two coats of semi-gloss paint. And if you want extra durability you can swap out the semi-gloss paint for flat paint and add two light layers of water-based polyurethane at the end. Hope that helps!


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