DIY built in bookcase wall in the basement {The reveal!} from Thrifty Decor Chick Leave a comment

Hello there and welcome to the reveal of biggest bookcase build
I’ve ever attempted! I shared a few weeks ago that I was going to start
building a MASSIVE entertainment unit in our basement. I’ll get you caught up on the process first and then will share the after

This is the wall I tackled…I’ve had an idea in my head since we moved in
for this spot: 

long wall in Westchester Gray paint

The wall is a whopping 19 feet — I was filling 18 of that. 

I always use kitchen cabinets for my built ins. It’s way easier, cheaper and
faster than building from scratch. I started by
building up my cabinets
so they would look more built in: 

add bottom supports to cabinets for built ins

After I got them in place I installed them into the wall and into each

building bookcases with kitchen cabinets

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I’m kicking myself because I didn’t get a pic of how I did the center bench
part. I attached them to each other, and then added a support (into studs)
behind them. Then I place supports that went from that to the backs of the
cabinets, where I screwed them in. 

This just gives the bench some added support on the back part. It also keeps
it open back there so we can access sound system components underneath. I
only screwed the top in, so if needed, we can take it off to access things
even easier. 

The center and left side bench cabinets are cut out in the back, so we can
reach through. When we get our sound system in place, I’ll have to cut the
center of the doors out and replace that with something that will allow for
the remotes to work. It also lets the electronics breath — you can see how
I did something similar and
hid our TV electronics here
I shared how I add
the look of wood counters for way less
a couple weeks ago. Butcher block isn’t crazy expensive, but I knew we’d
need a lot for this project. This is SO much more affordable and looks
provincial stain on birch plywood
tweed peel and stick wallpaper

I find it much easier to hang this before I put my supports up. If I
ever want to change it out, I can cut it away from the shelves. 

I have found it’s more manageable to paint as I go — I used to wait until
the whole thing was done and then start. Doing it in phases is SO much
better! I painted the bases first, and then installed the pretty new

brass hardware on gray cabinets

I knocked this whole project out in two weeks. I was on a mission! I spent
hours a day working on it and had an absolute blast. It’s like a puzzle
for me — I really enjoy it. The only hiccups I had were at the very end
when I was building the shelves: 

building shelves in bookcases

As you can see, I built the VERY LAST shelf and then stepped back and
realized it was in the wrong spot. Argh! Story of my life. 

I have loved the look of stained shelves against painted bookcases and
wanted to incorporate that into this build. But pine is a finicky beast.
Sometimes it stains up beautifully, sometimes it looks awful (even with
conditioner). I’ll go into more detail about that in an upcoming post.

This time, even with conditioner and using select pine, it didn’t look the best: 

select pine blotchy stain

So I had to switch gears. I contemplated taking off the fronts and
replacing them with a different wood, but I really didn’t want to spend
more money (or start all over again!). 

So instead I decided to paint the fronts and leave the actual shelves (on
top and bottom) the stained wood: 

pine stained in provincial stain

I absolutely LOVE how it looks!! It turned into a happy accident. Now the
front ties in nicely with everything else, but you still see that wood
tone on the shelves. 

After that, I installed
the sconces, added some trim to the headers and touched up holes and paint: 
brass globe sconse on bookcase

Then it was time to decorate! I swear this part took me longer than it did
to build the bookcases! 😂 I had items in our storage room I’ve kept for
years just for this wall. I shared my
tips on decorating bookcases here
— I always incorporate those when I’m accessorizing a spot in our

And now the big reveal! Here’s the before shot from this angle a few weeks

And now, a full wall of built ins!: 

wall of built in bookcases in gray

A before shot from the front: 

bookcase wall before

And now!:

long wall of DIY built ins with TV

It’s exactly what I had in my head all these years. Actually…better! 

I had so much fun working on this project — it came together so

Decorated built ins with tweed wallpaper

gray built ins with wood bench under TV
I think this may be my favorite project I’ve ever done. My
renovations at our last house are way up there too…I’m so proud of
those! But this one…I don’t know what it is. It’s just so me and fits in
perfectly in our home. 

I’m super proud of this…I love all of the details and how the
decor came together: 

DIY bookcases in Westchester Gray

I may make an upholstered cushion for the bench…I’m not sure yet. We’ll
need to wait to see how big the center speaker is before I do that: 

Built in wall with wood bench under TV

We had bookcase speakers wired as well…I’ve hidden those holes behind
the art. 🙂 Those will come when the budget allows. 

I screwed the header in the middle section in (instead of nailing it) so
I can easily take it down when we have the ceiling speakers installed.
(Those are already wired.) I think we’ll focus on the front speakers now
and tackle that part later. 

When I look at a project and think, “It should have always looked this”
— that’s a sign it turned out really well! This fits perfectly in this

Basement family room wall with bookcases around TV

This spot is SO cozy and warm! We always spend a ton of time in the
basement in the winter, but we’ve been down there more than ever lately.
It’s the best spot in the house right now!: 

Gray built ins with wood stained tones

If you remember my drawing for this wall, you may remember we had planned
to add a long, electric fireplace under the TV: 

drawing of large DIY entertainment center

Turns out there wasn’t enough room. Now I’m kinda glad we didn’t try to
fit in there! We’re looking at a new spot for that instead. 

The reality matches my sketch pretty well, right?: 

Thrifty Decor Chick built in wall

The TV is just slightly off center and it should slide over, but it’s
not budging. We want to wait till we have another person to help us —
hopefully we can scoot it over a bit more. 

The final cost for ALL materials — wallpaper to stain to wood
 — was around $1300. I would have paid at least three times that
to have someone build this for us! 

The walls in this space are getting a little detail soon as

matching walls and built ins in gray

That mirror is from the old house and just happens to match — but I’d
prefer it didn’t. I’m thinking about painting it…just have to decide
what color! 

You may notice that the lighting in here is MUCH better now. I’ll share more
about that soon.

I hope this project inspires you! If you have questions I didn’t address here,
please let me know. 


Wall and cabinet color — Westchester Gray by Sherwin-Williams (flat and semi

Pillows — Hobby Lobby

More about our sectional here

I had most of the bookcase decor already. (They are a mix of thrifted and
mostly HomeGoods items.) 

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