Garage Sale Bookshelves turned Mid-Century


It has been a while since I’ve done any construction projects but a need for storage and a perfect score of a pair of garage sale book shelves for just $10 had me itching to get to work. I love to build things and have built all kinds of shelving but I admit I’m all for a short cut that makes my life easier (and in this case cheaper.) The garage sale bookshelves I found are solid wood, well-built and side by side were the perfect size to create a credenza. There is no way I could have built them myself for $10, the wood alone would have cost at least $50, not to mention the time and labor. Knowing these guys would help me save time and money, I took them home for a makeover.

Here is what I started with…


I joined the two shelves together by applying wood glue and then screwing them together from both sides. Since I knew I wanted to paint the piece I counter set the screws so I could later fill the holes with wood filler and have the screws disappear.

I then painted it out and added trim around the face of the shelve to make them look heavier and to hide the connection in the middle. I considered adding a top across the whole thing but I was able to camouflage the joint between the two shelves with wood filler so, to save money, I decided against it. If I don’t like how it holds up I can always apply a top later.


The last step was to add some height to the shelves with my $5 flea market legs. I added two strip of trim across the bottom of the shelf to attach the legs to and to add some stability.


In the end the entire project cost me about $40 and only a minimal amount of work, mostly in the painting.


Now I have a great storage piece with a mid-century look for a fraction of the price.


and a great spot for some of my West German Pottery collection.


I think this garage sale find really paid off.


Linking with DIY Show Off


  1. Karen Salp says:

    You are amazing–love this project. It looks so professional.

  2. Lydia says:

    What a creative and handy woman you are! Great job!!

  3. Rita says:

    Maggie, that is just so clever and exactly but I’ve been looking for. The next time I see two bookshelves at a garage sale, they’re mine . I know I can do the trim and when they are painted white they’re going to look just fabulous. I will put a kick-base on mine instead of the legs. I love your creativity and your blog.


    • Thanks Rita so glad you liked the idea. A kick base would be great too, make it look like a built in. Good luck hunting those shelves!

  4. What a grate post, and fantastic job.Wonderful photos as well.Well done!!!!

  5. Tina says:

    The shelves look great! Drooling over those WGP pieces!

  6. I found your blog through the BYW course and absolutely love this bookshelf! I looked at something similar at Crate & Barrel last night but at $2200 it’s sadly going to live in the store, not my house! Your post has inspired me to see what I can find to make over. Gorgeous vases, too!

    • Thanks for stopping by Lisa. I love thrifting and DIY for that very reason you can get something similar and sometimes even better at a fraction of the price. Good luck on your hunt!

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