Before and After - IKEA Bookshelves Get Hacked, Updated With Color

10:28 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

I had to lose my job because of my illness. So far, it does not feel too different since I have been on disability for the last nine months. There IS a difference, of course. I am not getting a paycheck anymore and that lends a bit of extra stress on me. Both the bf and I are without a job and we live in a very affluent neighborhood, AKA rent is outrageous. Luckily the bf did get a severance package that is larger than the average person's annual salary so we can feel a little less hurried while looking for work. In the meantime we sit here in our living room looking around.

One morning I woke up to find the other half of the bed empty. I groggily walked into the living room, rubbing my eyes. I immediately tripped over a stack of books. Oh no. What now? See, every six months or so (this time I was lucky because it was a year stretch) the bf gets an itch and to scratch it he must rearrange the house. Now, this is not my style. I like stability and sameness. I am comfortable knowing things are in their place always and that place never changes. It takes time when one moves into a new place (we moved here two years ago) to put the things away in places that make sense. It doesn't make sense to have floor to ceiling glass walls looking out onto the gorgeous San Francisco Bay and then put the back of a couch up against it. It doesn't make sense to keep ugly dvd's displayed in stacks when there are perfectly empty television console drawers that were BUILT for just that type of storage. You get the idea.
Our new chaise
Our new settee

So, back to the morning as I tripped over a stack of books. I finished rubbing my eyes and found myself lost in the middle of a forest of stacked books, dvd's, records, BluRays and video games. The bookshelf unit we bought a couple years ago was once again changed. This time it was stripped of all it's contents. Ok, honey, what is it this time? The bf had been up all night making up plans to bring more color into our living room. This is where we have one of those couple style clashes. It isn't really a clash though, not in my mind, because I want everything BLACK and he wants everything colorful. At least color and black match, right?! Earlier this year I agreed to get a lovely, sunshiny, yellow chaise from EQ3 and a rich, ink blue, velvet settee from West Elm. These go beautifully with my already existing graphic rug and black 1940's style club chair. I considered that compromise. Apparently he did not. He came out from behind a stack of pot holders in the kitchen to explain to me he wants to paint the dark wood bookshelves. Still trying to wake up, still trying to recognize my own apartment, now my head begins to spin. He holds up a piece of paper that is lifejacket orange. "What do you think of this?" No. Nonononononono!
The original Ikea shelving.

I am all for trying out color but I had to explain to him I didn't want to live in a day care. These colors were going too far. I imagined my home looking like a circus or a preschool! I knew there was no going back the way it was, not after him obviously staying up all night conjuring up ideas. I said, "ok, let me pick the colors.". I sat down with Google and Pinterest and browsed and browsed. I came up with emerald green for the shelves and gold for the backing. He agreed and, boom, the shelves were out on the patio. We had bought primer, some rollers, a paint brush, a can of green latex paint called Chloroform and a little can of gold latex paint.

We went home and primed both shelf cases. Then, we painted two coats of the green paint. Once that was dried, we taped off the green and began rolling the gold on. That ended up a disaster!! The paint was really runny and dripped everywhere. It glopped and dripped and was sticky. No matter what we did, how gentile we were, the paint was obviously unevenly textured leaving drips all over the place. It was quite disheartening. The bf wanted to just rip the backs off of the shelves. After all, they are Ikea shelving so it is just cheap, thin, pressed sawdust basically! I did not want that to happen so I went back to the hardware store and bought scrubby sponges, sandpaper, gold spray paint, thicker painters tape and a bunch of plastic.


First, I went after the thick drippy bits that were still wet with the scrubby sponge. I waited another day to make sure the ugly, gloppy gold paint dried then I sanded it down to the best of my ability. Before I sanded the gold I did use the plastic and completely taped off all of the green so that when I spray painted the particles in the air would not settle on our lovely green paint job. After I felt it was sanded as much as it was going to get sanded I wiped everything down to get the dust out of there. It took two cans of the gold spray paint to fully cover the backs of both shelving units. If you do not already know how to use a spray paint can I will tell you that it is best to do lots of really thin coats. If you get hung up in a spot it will drip. I misted and misted and misted until both cans were empty. The result is not perfect because of the previous paint but it is not noticeable at all once the shelves are full.

I would take a photo of the finished room but it is not finished yet. We are waiting for the settee to arrive still.

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