Office Makeover: Wallpapering Open Shelving

I drove up the coast of California to visit family this past weekend, but I managed to finish step 1 of making over the new credenza before taking off. As mentioned in this post, I found the perfect sized credenza for the new office (and all of that storage that we’ll need!) on Craigslist.

The plan was to paint, add paper to the open shelves and change out the hardware to give it a brand new look.

Once the piece was home and in the space though, I immediately knew that the painting portion of the project wouldn’t be necessary. Once out of direct sunlight, the rich walnut tones were beautiful. When paired with the lighter woods of the desk and bookshelves, the credenza’s color lived up to it’s mid-century modern shape (which is known for rich walnut stains) and was no longer as honey/yellowy as it appears in the above pictures.

The top of the credenza could use some love, and I considered sanding and restaining to see if I could get rid of a couple of stains from long ago. But when it came down to matching the color to the rest of the piece, I knew that restaining could open a bag of worms that might have led to redoing the entire credenza. So we’ll leave it as-is for now with the hope of one day really focusing on the nitty gritty details.

With painting crossed off of the list, I moved right along to wallpapering the open shelves.

The shelves were screaming for some attention. I’ve added fabric backing to shelves before and I love the look of a pop of pattern and color in an unexpected location, so I began searching for a wallpaper, wrapping paper or sheets of decorative paper (check out the selection at Paper Source) that were large enough to line the back of these shelves without seams.

I settled on this wallpaper from Lowe’s because it has just the right amount of subtle color/pattern to work with a variety of future fabrics that we haven’t quite settled on for the room.


Applying Decorative Paper to Shelves

Materials: decorative paper (wallpaper, wrapping paper, handmade paper…), glue stick(s), straight edge, ruler, knife, scissors

{1.} Carefully measure each ‘wall’ of your bookshelf/credenza and cut paper to fit. I’m glad I had an entire roll of wallpaper, I had to recut several times, definitely buy 50% more than you anticipate using because of silly and unforeseen mistakes! I would have hated to have halted the project to run down to the store for more paper. Because the inside of this credenza has varied levels for different shelves, I opted to only line the most inset points. Once the shelf is back in place, I think that that will provide the cleanest look.

{2.} In my search for a non-permanent adhesive, I settled on a glue stick (the standard, kid’s crafts version). I could have pulled out the wallpapering glue from this project or even used double sided tape – but my goal was to have edges that wouldn’t roll up over time and to still create an adhesion that would allow me to replace the paper with a new pattern some time down the road. Cover your paper liberally with the gluebefore adding to the walls of your shelves (but don’t wait too long between applying glue and sticking up or you’ll have extra creases and bubbles).

{3.} I used a plastic triangle from my husband’s architectural-supply box for school (though a wallpapering broad knife or smoother – even a standard ruler – would have done the trick) to smooth the paper firmly against the walls of the credenza as I slowly added the sheets of wallpaper. Moving out from one corner across the paper provided the best results and the least amount of bubbles to ‘smooth out’.

{4.} Use a utility knife to clean up any edges that are not directly up against your corners… and then repeat until all walls (and the ceiling) are lined!


Next step is finding some neat hardware to replace the older brass pulls. I’m on the hunt.

More visual inspiration of paper backed shelves from this way-back-when post!

For more Office Makeover posts, check out: finding the perfect credenza, new trim, dining table-to-desk, a new desk & bookshelves, installing remnant carpeting, grasscloth wallpaper, painting the office nookfinding carpet for the office, chocolate brown wall ideas, plastering progress inspiration for a diy desk, back in action!, desking hunting for under $300, bookcases under $300, inspirational rooms, room layout options, demo part 1 & demo part 2.

Friday Guest Blog Interview: Kyle of The Foundary

We’re just getting over a city-wide blackout over here in San Diego – what a crazy day yesterday! Most of the county is still without power, but I’m happy to say that my computer is back and buzzing. We celebrated the night off with friends and it was a welcome pull away from the traditional evening of tv, computer, iphone, etc. that usually distracts from good conversation.

My Friday Guest Blog Interview Series is back with guest Kyle Murphy from The Foundary. Kyle shares with us his favorite decorating trends and inspiration, plus a little more about a daily deals site that offers unique and eye-catching products for the home at a fantastic price (up to 70% off).

Haven’t heard of The Foundary? It’s one of those awesome daily email sites that you can subscribe to. The catch? Each special (from emerging and established designers, shops and artists) is available for just a few days.

Kyle, a lead buyer for the site, answers PDB’s four design questions as it relates to his personal aesthetic and the site’s hand-picked daily features….

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Office Makeover: On the Search for a Credenza

One of the biggest design challenges in the new room is working around the lack of storage. As you know, we nixed all of our closet space in favor of a second full bath in the house, so we’ve been getting creative around here on what can be stored where and what can be downsized.

Part of the functioning space of the office/guestroom is for it to be my art room as well. So the office will need to cleverly house a sewing machine, fabric swatches, paint + charcoal + pastel supplies, yarn for knitting, etc. The solution? A super large credenza for the opposite side of the room across from the desk.

And so the Craigslist/swap meet/thrift store search was on. My only criteria was that the new credenza needed to have strong bones (a sturdy, wooden piece that would make for a long lasting addition) as well as plenty of shelving or doors for storage. That, plus the more over-sized the better – at least 70″ (your traditional credenza/buffet is about 60″ long, so that was a challenge).

After finding plenty of furniture that was too small, too expensive or in too terrible of shape, I stumbled upon this Craigslist posting:

The size was just right at 72″ long, and the clean lines had a mid-century modern flair (especially those legs!). The drawers, door and shelving would offer plenty of storage, and a cabinet maker’s stamp on the inside of the drawer confirmed that she was well-built with solid wood and strong bones. She came home with me for $135 cash – what a steal!

Right now I’m imagining a little TLC involving paint + some kind of pattern in those great open shelves + pretty hardware:

I’m feeling a weekend project coming on… she should be up and running in no time!

For more Office Makeover posts, check out: new trim, dining table-to-deska new desk & bookshelves, installing remnant carpeting, grasscloth wallpaper, painting the office nookfinding carpet for the office, chocolate brown wall ideas, plastering progress inspiration for a diy desk, back in action!, desking hunting for under $300, bookcases under $300, inspirational rooms, room layout options, demo part 1 & demo part 2.

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