92. How to Renovate a Laminate Bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to renovate a laminate bookcase then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's paw

This episode is subtitled: ‘Am I being stalked…?’

‘I just wish we’d parted on better terms,’ said Jaz.

‘Don’t dwell on it,’ I said. George was cantankerous and was very lucky you were so nice to him. It’s not your fault he chose to be extra grumpy to you just before he died.’

‘I wonder who will take over the hardware store,’ said Kim.

‘I can’t imagine it will stay a hardware shop, can you?’ I said. ‘I don’t know how George managed to keep it going with so much available to people in discount stores and supermarkets.’

‘It’s not as though his customer service won them over, either,’ laughed Kim. Jaz looked offended on George’s behalf so I changed the subject.’

‘Jaz, I’m thinking of having a go at renovating an old bookcase with some chalk paint. Would you like me to do it for your new flat?’

‘Yes please, Jenny! There’s stuff everywhere in the living room which I’m desperate to tidy up.’

‘It will be my first attempt so I can’t promise anything that looks professional.’

‘You’ve seen our flat!’ she laughed. ‘It’ll be great.’

‘Do you think we should take it over and expand our wedding services?’ said Kim. ‘We already do flowers and cakes….. maybe we should sell wedding dresses,’ she mused.

‘What are you talking about?’ I asked.

‘The hardware store,’ she replied, exasperated. She’d obviously not taken my hint to change the subject but, more worryingly, she was planning the expansion of Teacups & Tulips into a one stop wedding shop!

I didn’t want to debate it there and then on the shop floor so I decided to remove myself from the situation. ‘I believe George’s second cousin is on the premises today to sort a few things out,’ I said. ‘I’ll just pop my head in to offer my sympathies.’

‘Wait, I’ll come and ask about- ’

‘No, Kim! It’s not appropriate so soon,’ I said, giving her my sternest look.

‘Well see whether you can get the order for the funeral flowers!’ she shouted after me.

I wandered down the row of shops, past the chemist, past the beauty salon and knocked on the closed door of the hardware shop. A stout woman of about 60 unbolted the door and said, ‘I’m sorry we’re closed.’

‘I’m not a customer,’ I said. ‘I’m Jenny from the flower shop. I just wanted to offer my condolences.’

She introduced herself as ‘Maeve’ and invited me in for a cup of tea. She was a very nice lady, quite chatty about this and that but didn’t appear to be grieving.

‘Did you see much of George?’ I asked.

‘Oh no,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘I offered to come up more but he said he didn’t want me to. It’s a six hour round trip and there was never any warmth or acknowledgement of my effort so I believed he really didn’t want me to visit.’

‘I think you’re probably right,’ I said, with a smile. George really wasn’t a people-person and it made me wonder how he’d ended up with a career in customer service.

‘It will be a shame to see the end of the hardware shop,’ said Maeve, ‘but it’s just not viable any more. Did you know, George’s father (my great uncle) started this business in the 1930s?’

‘Really?’ I said. ‘I know it was here while I was growing up but George has been the owner for as long as I can remember. What do you think it will become now?’ I asked, steering well clear of any comment about expanding Teacups & Tulips.

‘Well,’ she said, it’s not officially on the market yet but we already have someone who’s very keen on acquiring the premises. In fact, here he is now,’ she said, jumping up to unbolt the door.

‘Hello Jenny,’ said a familiar voice behind me. Why is it that Shaun McArthur keeps popping up in my life? ◊

How to Renovate a Laminate Bookcase

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawI was keen to have a go at updating some old laminate furniture and with Jaz as a happy recipient of a bookcase, however it turned out, I was all set. Here it is looking tired, sorry for itself and not particularly useful.

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

I bought chalk paint but couldn’t quite believe you could just apply it straight away so I did do the normal preparation. Here it is before and after a quick sanding with a piece of sandpaper.

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

I wanted it to work well for storing CDs and the shelf was a bit too deep so I glued a strip of wooden trim onto each shelf to stop them being pushed too far back. This trim was flat on the bottom and bevelled on the top.

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

Then I undercoated the carcass and the shelves (with some white emulsion because I wanted to use it up). Notice that I wanted to leave the plastic trim black for a bit of contrast.

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

Now time for the paint (best applied with a small sponge roller).

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

Because it’s going to get some heavy use I thought it best to varnish it. So, with the black strips wiped down and a coat of clear interior varnish, I think it looks much better!

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

Here it is being tested out with some of my stuff. It’s not quite right for LPs but Jaz doesn’t have any vinyl so I’m hoping she and her flatmates can use it for campaign files.

How to renovate a laminate bookcase

How to renovate a laminate bookcase


  • Check your ‘finished’ item in different lights to ensure you’ve fully covered it in varnish.

Salvaged Items:

  • Old bookcase
  • Leftover emulsion paint

See you all again next week.


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