Before and After: Mid Century Bookshelves

When it comes to sprucing up vintage furniture, sometimes small changes make a big difference. Every day I see people chalk painting or aggressively altering vintage wooden furniture that really only needs a little love to look amazing. I’d like to think I saved the bookshelves in today’s post from a similar fate. You may remember these from a few weeks ago.

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Honestly they weren’t that bad. What may be hard to see in these photos is some loose veneer, random surface scratches and missing spots of paint from the hardware. Those were easy fixes with a little wood glue, Howard’s Feed ‘N Wax and spray paint. But the most notable damage was a crudely punched hole in the back of the cabinet on the left. I appreciate the idea that someone might want to put stereo equipment in there, but the hole was unsightly. It also didn’t help that the backing material was just a linen-looking vinyl wallpaper that looked cheap compared to the cabinet. The fix? This is why I always pick up fabric and wallpaper scraps at garage sales. A $1 roll of grasscloth wallpaper came to the rescue.

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The difference is subtle and maybe a little difficult to appreciate in these photos, but trust me, they look better than they probably ever did. The grasscloth adds a luxe feel and contrasts well with the rattan, but it still feels very much period appropriate. This is also a good trick for hutches or shelving that have fake vinyl woodgrain backings. Small changes can make a big difference.

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