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.
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.
PS: Looking for a next-level furniture painting project? Check out this DIY herringbone pattern we created on a thrift store desk.
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?”
I love it! It looks really fun and still subtle enough not to be too dramatic/harsh.
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.
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!
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.
yup, green was the way to go! it looks awesome! :)
The green looks awesome! :)
Are those street maps in the frames? What a great idea!
I think that’s my new favorite color too!
love green! love it!
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…
Mrs. Querido says
Beautiful! I love the contrast!
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?
Paula Santos says
Tell me something: did you sanded the shelf first?
I want to paint some doors and i have this doubt.
Paula, from Portugal.
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!
Thank you so much John (and Sherry!) Those steps sound easy enough, check out my blog for updates when I get the chairs done!
great color! what a difference it made!
also thanks for posting the steps for repainting furniture. I would have never thought to start with a coat of oil based primer.
Cecily T says
That’s so crazy. We used ‘Zen Mist’ in my husband’s office. It’s such a bright, cheery green, especially for a basement office.
I have the exact same shelf in my daughter’s bedroom and love the idea of painting it. Did you brush or roll the primer and semi gloss paint? Her bedroom is bubble gum pink (of course) with zebra bedding (http://ah.pricegrabber.com/product_image.php?masterid=75716938&width=400&height=400). Now I need to figure out what color to paint the shelf. I also want to tackle your DIY headboard and am wondering if I should use a darker pick for that or green for both like yours for a pop of color??? Decisions, decisions (yikes)!
We always use a paint brush when it comes to priming and painting furniture (unless it’s a huge armoire). A roller might seem like it helps things go on evenly, but a brush actually creates less bubbles and prickles in the paint for a smoother finish when everything dries. Just be sure to apply thin even coats so nothing gets gloopy or drippy and give each coat ample time to dry between applications. Hope it helps! Happy decorating…
I LOOOVE the idea of painting without sanding. I wonder if this system will work on laminated furniture too? (the ikea ones)
Using a good oil-based primer like Kilz followed by a few coats of semi-gloss latex paint should do the trick on laminate furniture as long as it’s not too high traffic (like a kitchen table for example) but if it’s a semi-used bookcase or something it should work like a charm!
I love your site–it’s so inspiring! Quick question about all of your furniture painting projects. . .Do you recommend disassembling the pieces before painting (like this bookshelf) or do you just paint the intact piece? Just wondering what is the best way to go. Thanks!
You can definitely paint things like chairs, bookcases, headboards, and benches without disassembling them first. Just be sure to use thin and even coats of paint to keep from getting drips around area where two planes meet (corners, legs, etc). Hope it helps!
Hi I found your blog when I was surfing Real Living online. I fell in love with Real Living magazine while at Borders so I bought it. Then I got itchy fingers and decided to go online and check it out and clicked on their Fave Blogs and ended up on yours. What a gorgeous surprise! I love the makeovers you’ve done for your clients. Your style is practical and I love the clean looks. My husband and I got our own little home finally (after years of looking!) and I’m inspired by the IKEA -like looks. Your newest fan from Penang, Malaysia….
Hi guys, I live in Mexico City and am a huge fan of your website. I need your help with something, I have a small wooden table and wish to make it look mhh a lot modern, like the pink one you made for Olivia. Please tell me step by step how did you do that. Do I need to remove the (I don’t know if this is right) varnish? or…?
Here’s a step by step tutorial for you: https://www.younghouselove.com/how-to-paint-furniture/
Hope it helps!
Tiffany E says
What about staining the bookcase a darker color? I have the exact same bookcase but it’s an even lighter wood and I’d like it to be a dark espresso color. Is this a much more difficult process?
Just grab a gel stain at Home Depot or Lowe’s and follow the super simple instructions. Easy!
I love the print that you have above the bookcase (it reminds me of stuff my husband and I draw for each other at the end of notes). You aren’t by chance going to have that one for sale in your store? I would love to get a copy for the holidays.
That print isn’t actually one we made, it’s one we snagged online. Here’s a post with more info so you can grab one for yourself: https://www.younghouselove.com/you-and-me-baby/
I’m going to do it! I’m going to paint a bookcase! What is your opinion on the topic of paint sprayer v. paint brush?
I love your designs and advise and your house is so cute! Great website, you younguns!
Here’s our recommended furniture painting technique. We believe that a brush (and even a foam roller) are far superior to the results you can get with a paint sprayer unless you’re an expert in that area (otherwise you can end up with drips and uneven areas while a brush or roller are a lot easier to control). As you’ll see when you follow the link, our preference is for a regular high-quality brush (which we use for almost all of our furniture painting endeavors). Hope it helps!
I’ve been inspired! I’m going to snag my parents old wood microwave cart and give it a new, pretty coat of paint. Maybe put a butcher block on top!
Just wondering what to do about the exposed hardware. Is it ok to prime and paint over the raised bolts on the sides?
Great question! It’s totally personal preference. Some people like to cover those raised bolts with painter’s tape so they remain the same metallic tone (for an it’s-always-been-this-color look) while others prefer to paint ’em to help them blend in (metal generally takes regular paint really well, so it’s a great way to quickly make them “disappear” if that’s the goal). Hope it helps!
I’m thankful for finding your blog. You have great ideas! I recently painted a Goodwill find using kilz primer and semi-gloss paint. How long should I wait before I apply a polycrylic finish? Thanks in advance .
You can’t be too careful. We’d give it at least 24 hours before the polycrylic. And after the poly, don’t forget to give it a looooong time before placing anything on it… just to be safe. You also could skip the poly step altogether (as long as you used semi-gloss or gloss paint it should be pretty protected). Hope it helps!
Sarah K says
Just found your blog, and I have to admit, I’m a little obsessed! I love your home & thanks for all the decorating tips. With your tutorial I now have the guts to paint an unfinished pine cabinet that’s been staring me down for the last, oh 4 years or so.
So glad you found us! Good luck!
First, I love, love, love your blog! I can’t get enough of it. Quick question, when painting furniture do you use a brush or a sprayer? I am so inspired by your ideas. I have an old dining room table/chairs and side board. I would like to paint them a cream or black. The existing finish is a glossy dark wood. Can I paint the table top, will it leave brush strokes? How would I go about this? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much :).
Here’s a post full of info for you: https://www.younghouselove.com/how-to-paint-furniture/
Hi John and Sherry!!
My comment is a little late to this post but I actually just scored the same exact bookshelf at a garage sale for $15!!! So of course, I came to your blog for inspiration :) Do you guys remember the names of the top two color swatches? I’m going for a very light gray/blue-ish color.
Thanks so much…love your blog…completely obsessed :)
Wahooo! Congrats on your score! As for the top two color swatches, we don’t remember at all, but you might want to try Benjamin Moore’s Quiet moments because it’s a light gray-blue. Good luck!
i just love it:)
I need help with a project and all I keep asking myself is what would Sherry and John do??!! (I need a “WWS&JD?” bracelet)
We have 2 hemnes bookcases from ikea (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00176264/#/20176263) that we want to use side by side as a room divider. The problem is, the backs of the bookcases are HIDEOUS! I don’t think just painting them would make them look presentable. I was thinking we could wallpaper (or stencil or something) a large piece of plywood and nail it to the backs so it covers both backs. My husband thinks that will be too heavy. Do you have any insights?? Any advice would be so appreciated! Love you guys.
Oh yes, I would check out the lightest veneer or paneling or plywood they have and see if that works. You could even get pegboard or paneling but then cover it with wallpaper so you don’t see the holes or creases as much! Hope it helps!
Hi guys, I actually have my living room painted in Zen Mist and I need to repaint but the can of paint is long gone and I do not have the code. Would you happen to still have the top of the lid code for this color? Thanks!
So sorry, we no longer have it either :(