$11 Makeover: Painting The Back Of Our Built In Bookcases

We’re back with the after pics of our freshly painted built-ins. As we mentioned in the last post, we went with an inky blue color with hints of green called Dragonfly from Benjamin Moore’s Affinity line (color matched to Lowe’s No-VOC Olympic paint for the bambino). We only needed a quart, and since we used objects that we already owned on the shelves this entire built-in makeover only ran us $10.97. You can read more about how we planned the shelf placement here. Oh and here’s a poorly lit progress pic from last night, just for fun. Yes John’s shirt does say “Talk Nerdy To Me” on the back. I love it.

But here’s what you really care about. The bookcases all painted! Picture us twiddling our thumbs while we waited for them to fully dry so we could put the shelves back on and load them up.

Of course by then it wasn’t as bright in our north facing room (hence the slight color variation from the last pic) but we LOVE it. It’s bold and high contrast and nothing that we would’ve have the guts to do in our last house.

We’re enamored with the color because it’s super moody and it reads as greener or bluer or darker or lighter depending on the time of day and the angle that you glance at it.

And of course all of my white ceramic animals (and other not-kid-friendly-so-I’m-glad-they-fit-up-there treasures) really pop against the saturated background color (which also makes the cabinets look crisper and whiter by comparison).

These two pics are probably the most true to life when it comes to the color (but of course how you see them really depends on your monitor):

Mr. Rhino (and his ceramic twin on the other side) likey. And we do too. Especially for under $11. In fact we love the color so much that we plan to work it into other parts of the house when we can (you know, to try to keep our whole house color scheme cohesive but not too “yawn”). We’re thinking it might be the perfect color for the base of the future island that we’d love to someday add to our kitchen – and would even work on a bathroom vanity. Should be fun…

Psst- Learn how we made those two fabric covered boxes on the right side of the shelf here.


  1. Kayla says

    Love it so much! Way to go taking a risk…I think it turned out wonderfully and it adds a lot of character to an already charming room! :)

  2. Molly says

    I love the color you picked! I never would have thought of that. Looks amazing, Sherry—-can’t wait to see what other projects you guys have up your sleeves!

    If I sent you some pictures of my living room, would you have any time to help me out on some decorating advice? I know you are really busy.

    • says

      Hey Rebecca,

      Hmm, that’s odd. Are you at work? Maybe they’re blocking them for some reason? Is anyone else having an issue seeing the pics? So sorry!


  3. Katie says

    Beautiful!!!! I love the new look and boldness you are starting to go with in the new case. Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the house! I get so much inspiration from your site, haven’t decided if my husband likes it or not… ;)

  4. Andrea says

    I love it! Totally a different vibe from your other house, but in a really great way that still works with what you’ve got.

  5. Rosanne says

    Love the color it sure make the fun stuff on the shelves pop! Great job! It’s funny my niece just moved in a new house and when I asked what color she’s doing…she said “teal & brown” Really!? But I guess you and her are more up on the now. When I think if teal, I think of the color from the 80’s…and I say “no, thank you” But I do love this deep teal.

  6. says

    Looks great you guys! Excited to see you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in this house.

    Did you do two coats on it? And just out of curiosity – do you do one or two coats on the walls you paint? I know painting is time consuming and have heard the painter + primer in one can allow you to get away with one coat, but I’m leery of that.

    • says

      Yup, two coats always seems to be the trick for us! One always looks streaky. But we do like to avoid primer when we can (for the fumes) so two coats of no-VOC paint works for us.


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