DIY time again!
This past winter my roommate moved out and left a some of her furniture behind. Most of it was dark browns which didn’t fit into the modern scandinavian farmhouse vibe. What better time to get creative to transform the black/ brown 12 slot Kallax shelf into something that sparks joy.
Of course the first stop was Pintrest to search for “Kallax DIY“. The original thought was to lighten the palette to match the rest of the apartment and lift the height of the shelf.
The Decorista sanded and painted the Kallax a deep green. She finished off the styling with light colored baskets. Decor Lovin on the other hand kept the original color of the shelf but added a deeper brown Hearth & Hand basket. Unfortunately, the baskets are out of stock at Target. Trust me, I tried to get them everywhere.
Now for the paint palette, I wanted to keep things in the neutral tones because I am renting at the moment. So the shelf would need to work in many situations and spaces. My original thoughts were somewhere in the stone or fossil family. Of course this is where Pintrest saves the day, again, but really Home Depot was where the final color was chosen.
Now the legs, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do here so back to Pintrest and Google. Thankfully I stumbled across Pretty Peg and the Dagmar 120 in Ash Natural. Besides being affordable, Pretty Peg is a company that creates legs, knobs and different parts to customize Ikea furniture.
- Kallax 12 unit Shelf
- 120 + grit Sandpaper
- 4 inch Rollers
- Paint Brush
- Plastic Coverings
- 2 quarts of paint
- Water Based Polyurethane Flat or Matte
- 4 Pretty Peg Legs
- Center Support, needed for the larger Kallax unit
- Screwdriver or Power Drill, needed to attach the legs
Step 1: Start with your hardware store to get your supplies and paint swatches. Landing on 2 colors – Swiss Coffee and Beach House – I got color samples. Each were about $5.
I would have gotten more swatches but I thought it ridiculous of me to buy the entire wall of colors.
While you’re at the hardware store don’t forget to get your sandpaper, paint brushes or anything else you may need for this project.
Step 2: Set up your work area. Since my roommate moved out, I moved the shelf in to that room as my work area.
Step 3: Sand the entire bookshelf. You need to remove the laminate film so the primer and paint have something adhere to. I didn’t take the shelf apart because I didn’t have the tool or patience, but if you do by all means. It will be easier to paint that way.
When you’re done with all that, make your to wipe the sanded areas with a damp cloth to remove the dust. This is a game changer tip to improve the finish when painting!
Step 4: Swatch your color samples and let dry. If your shelf is still together, I suggest doing swatches on different sides so you can see how the color appears when it dries. I thought this was helpful since I color palette was in the white/ neutral family.
I ended up going with the Swiss Coffee by Behr because it was the perfect neutral white with a hint of a cashmere/ stone undertone. It was especially pretty in the different lightings of my apartment.
Step 5: When you’ve chosen your color, START PAINTING! This took the longest time for me because we didn’t sand enough so the laminate eat up some of the paint which led me to have to buy another quart.
I did a mixture of roller and brush to get a smooth finish. The brush allowed me to get into the corners – remember I didn’t take my shelf apart.
Step 6: Flip the shelf on the side and attached your legs.
Pretty Pegs is great. They provide you with the screws, and mount to attach the leg. It was honestly a 15 minute install. I originally thought I needed an electric screwdriver but a regular one will do. I love that. Super easy and simple to install. That’s a company that understands their customer base and creates for them. And I mean the designs are on trend and affordable.
The hardest thing here was trying to flip it back up without it breaking. I had to ask a friend to help me do this.
Step 7: Seal the paint with your Water Based Polyurethane Flat or Matte. I didn’t want the gloss or semi-gloss finish so flat it is.
Step 8: Style
This shelf originally went in the dining room area in our open floor plan kitchen, dining room, living room layout. The color of the walls is an ugly egg shell which was another reason why I chose Swiss Coffee by Behr.
Given the undertones of the color, I wanted to pair in rattan texture to tie in the rest of the apartment. Adding this darker, yet lighter than the floor, color it offered more functionality to what was put on the shelf.
Helpful tip: Grab things that you want to show off and move them around until the placement sparks joy.
The Final Product
Some of the things I would have done differently:
- Sanded more or used an electric sander. You See the pay off.
- Taken the shelf apart. It seems tedious but painting in pieces is more manageable.
- Added primer in addition to the paint. (even though our paint had a primer but I think it would have helped)
- Added the legs and central support before painting (in my defense I ordered the legs after I started this project because I was indecisive)
Overall, it wasn’t impossible to DIY this shelf but there was definitely time invested – but the payoff was worth that investment. Don’t you think?