How to: Built in Bookshelf

Do you ever think to yourself, “That wall looks so bare,” as you stare at that white wall that’s well due for an upgrade. Sound familiar? Is there a wall in your home that is just plain, boring, and just begging for attention? Well there is in our house. If you’ve ever had one of those days where you’re just staring at an empty wall in your home imagining what it could look like, then Its Time! The walls of any room are blank canvases, waiting for an artist to cover with design. Do not think of the wall as just a “paint job” that must be done, but instead,  a space for an artistic endeavor.   The Built-in Book-shelf transforms any wall into an impressive look of sophistication for any style.  They are small projects that require low level of construction knowledge but yield great reward. And the shelf itself, is not just décor, but has utility too.

The Project begins!

Soooo, this is our boring and plain space. As you can see, it has great potential and we intend to fully maximize it! The bookshelf will fit nicely in our newly finished basement.

Step 1:

The first step in our process is to get the background wall painted. If we build the shelf first, we;ll have to tape up everything to paint. Getting the background done first will save us time and in the end, unnecessary extra  work. So we are off to one of my favorite places to shop, Home Depot! We’re going with CIL this time for our base because they had the right shade (Moroccan Sand)we wanted for our wall. You can create your own color swatch on the CIL site to plan your next project!

Step 2:
Painting the Background!  The accented background of this built-in bookshelf is one of the most important features. It’s what’s going to really make our project POP and catch the eye. When painting a wall, I usually prefer to start on the left side. Starting with the metal frame of the roller on the right, Paint in long vertical strokes. I’ve learned that this method prevents streaks because you’re not overlapping with the part of the roller; to which the most pressure is applied.


The First and most important step of construction is PLANNING! Working Construction Drawings enable a builder to construct a certain unit to specification. Typically they include architectural and structural plans.

The Metric system is typically used in Construction Modules in the building industry. Metric scales are based on the division of [one metre = 39.370077 inches]. Scales are noted as:


                1:1          Full Size – 1,000mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:2          Half-Full Size – 500mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:5          200mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:10        100mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:20        50mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:50        20mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:100     10mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:200     5mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre

                1:500     2mm = 1,000mm or 1 metre


The first step is to create our base. The substructure of the base is fairly easy to construct. The platform will be composed of:

2 header boards that will span the distance of the width of the bookcase (134 inches = 3406mm)

10 joists across the length of the base platform  (16 inchs = 406.4mm)

The joists will not require joists hangers because they will be sitting right on the floor. Here  my blueprint for the substructure for the base platform of the built-in.


2 Comments on “How to: Built in Bookshelf”

  1. luvvleighb says:

    Yes! The wall wear our bed is, is soooo bare. I just bought the supplies today to make tassles to drape across the wall… I’m hoping that it helps pull the room together! Book shelves are a life-saver in our living room!

  2. That’s the perfect spot for a built-in bookcase. Love the colour you chose for the back of your built-ins. And for sure a great idea to paint the wall BEFORE the shelves go in!

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