We have all seen cheap, assemble yourself-bookshelves, maybe we even have one in our home? I made mine over to look like a Ballard’s knockoff!

Here are the items you will need:

Items needed:
  • 4 short legs of choice, plus plates
  • Paint of choice (I LOVE Debi’s DIY 100% Natural Chalk and Clay Paint)
  • Wax or top coat of choice
  • The fabric of choice to go on back behind the shelving
  • Measuring tape
  • Sharp Scissors and Box Cutter
  • Spray Adhesive, and a small rolling pin or something to smooth out the fabric

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I purchased this basic bookshelf at my local Goodwill store for $5.
I then purchased four bun feet from Home Depot for about $8 each.
To upgrade the bookshelf, turn it over and add the feet plates, they are easy to drill in and then screw in the legs.  Both are usually found in the “Trim” department of your local Home Improvement Store.
While it was still upside down, I painted the entire piece in neutral black.
 When dry, I righted it and painted the entire piece in a 2nd coat.  Skipping the back, (this is where the fabric will go).  When 2nd coat was dry I waxed the entire piece with a (nameless) Dark Wax.
Update:  Doing this product now, I would recommend Little Black Dress from DIY paint and Liquid Patina, also from DIY Paint.
 Turn the bookshelf open side down, lay the fabric of choice on the back, and cut around to fit.  (or be more accurate in measuring, which I am not)
Turn the bookshelf back over and spray back with good spray Adhesive (I like Elmer’s brand because I can move stuff around to fit before it sets).  Use a roller to smooth out the fabric and make sure it adheres well.
 If it is not an exact fit, go around edges with “Box Cutter” to “score” the fabric. Gently lift up and trim excess fabric, then repeat light spray and roll.

Add your shelf back in and you have your Ballards Knock off!

You can make over a Blah bookshelf to look like a Ballards knock-off so easily.  What’s stopping you!  I have madeover many bookshelves since I originally wrote this post.  Check out some of my other favorites!
Because I know you can never get enough bookshelf makeovers, here are some top pics you might want to check out!


  1. Nine Red

    Stunning! You really are a pro! I'm going to feature this project on my blog, and I'll be sure to link back to you!!

  2. Shannon@FoxHollowCottage

    So, sooooo cute. Love the chic B&W fabric. This could go virtually anywhere and look fab. Love it. Lots!!

  3. Fiona

    Good legs make all the difference!

  4. Junky Vagabond

    Good job – this is now designer-worthy!

  5. GO Gray's

    love the fabric. It's my new love!!!!

  6. A Vintage Vine

    Great idea! Love those bun feet, it is just what it needed!

  7. Katie

    Beautiful! Love the added feet and fabric.

  8. Kammy Wielenga

    Oh, the LEGS!!!!! Gee whiz, I think I have lots of stuff that needs some of those bun feet (not legs, I guess..) haha. Simply gorgeous!

  9. Holly Lefevre

    Lovely! I keep thinking of you…I am working on a piece of furniture…I bought this entertainment center (low and long) to go under the new TV for $20…but alas I never finish my furniture projects…but I am inspired and I need some of those bun feet. Hopefully I will have something t show soon! I have to prime that thing this weekend!

  10. Myric

    You made an amazing job!!


  11. Ashley

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!!! You're aaaa—maze—-ing!
    Thanks for stoppin by!

  12. Ruth

    Fabulous. The addition if the feet make it look so much more elegant. Love the fabric back, too.

  13. Nicole

    I love all the little details that made such a difference!(Not just the paint, but the fabric and feet.)

  14. Amy

    I love the feet! I have a tall bookshelf I would love to fix up like this! It looks really good!

  15. At The Picket Fence

    That is fantastic! The feet and fabric completely transform it and it looks lovely. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  16. Heather @CommonplaceBeauty

    I love this! So amazingly transformed. I adore the fabric and black/white combo. SO cute!!

  17. samaa @ Honey Sweet Home

    what a fabulous shelf! I love it 🙂 I never would have thought of adding legs to an ordinary piece of furniture, it makes an amazing difference!

  18. Mandy

    Karen – fabulous as always!

  19. Kim

    Some of your pictures are broken I hope you will repost I really want to try this!!!

  20. Money Cat

    Have you noticed that the links to your pictures are broken? I would appreciate it if you would let me know once your have reestablished them. Thank you.

  21. Michael @ re.Create Design

    I’ve been m.i.a. lately on checking in over here … I blame it on vacation!
    Anyway…saw someone had pinned this little dresser and just had to come over and tell you how much I adore it. And then I am seeing just how many pieces of furniture you’ve completed. I am truly in awe!!!
    http://www.recreatedesigncompany.com (formerly Blue Velvet Chair)

  22. Erin Snyder

    Love, love, love this! I’ve been looking for a cheap bookshelf to refinish and also for inspiration on how to do it. Thanks to you, I have the inspiration….now I just need the shelf. Thanks!
    Neaten Your Nest

  23. Jennifer

    Whew, I found it! I saw this all over PInterest, but all the pins link to http://www.stuff-and-nonsense.net/2012_02_01_archive.html and I couldn’t find it there! Thankfully you watermarked your picture and then I was able to find it by looking in your project gallery. Such a fabulous idea…I want to try it. Glad I found you–I always make sure my pins direct to the original source!

  24. Neysa

    Hello! I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a couple minutes of your time to help myself and some classmates in some home improvement research.
    Thank you so much and have a happy new year!

  25. LN123

    This was a great idea and looks very easy to do!!!!

    Could you please take a moment to fill out an anonymous 5min survey to help Pace University students understand the home improvement industry by clicking the link below.


    Thank you!!

  26. martha

    I have an ugly yard sale find book case I want to try this with. Thanks

  27. Emma

    If you’re short on fabric, check out places like Home Goods and Marshalls for cheap yet sturdy very cool designed gift wrap to back the shelves instead. I did just this with my AWFUL rental kitchen cabinets. Took off the doors to lighten the room, and simply taped the paper on its reverse, and attached to the cabinet backs. It can be easily removed… yay!

  28. Sharon Taylor

    Hi, I’ve tried to purchase the plates that the feet screw into and can’t find them. Please, are they called something else.

  29. Patsy

    I just bought a bookcase for $3 off of Craig’s and this is exactly what I want to do to it, then turn around and sell it for a profit. I redo old furniture to help fund my animal rescue work. I

  30. Sarah

    Ahhh, love those little feet!

  31. kim Goodwin

    Could you please tell me where you found the legs?

  32. Virginia Fynes

    WOW, stunning makeover! You’d never know that it wasn’t a pricy bookcase

    • GTC

      Thank you so much Virginia. Funny, I loved that project, and apparently everyone else does to. It still comes up in my top ten everyday. I love making over cheap bookshelves, easy and a great way to get an expensive look for practically nothing.

  33. liza

    fabulous idee, congratulation!!

  34. Sandra

    Does anyone know what the fabric is please?

    • GTC

      Hi Sandra, I purchased this fabric about 10 years ago. It is a Waverly fabric, so they may still make it. Good luck!

  35. Elena

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m
    quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  36. docs.google.com

    I am always searching online for tips that can aid me. Thank you!

    Feel free to visit my web page – good podcast [docs.google.com]

  37. Bren

    Utterly fabulous!

    • GTC

      Thank you!

  38. Patricia

    Your bookshelf transformation is absolutely stunning! You’ve managed to take an ordinary piece of furniture and turn it into a Ballard’s knockoff masterpiece. I’m truly impressed by your skills and creativity. Could you please share some tips or tutorials on how you achieved this remarkable makeover? I would love to give my own bookshelf a similar transformation and add a touch of elegance to my home. Keep up the fantastic work!

    • GTC

      Hi Patricia, thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. I have tons of tutorials where I share lots of tips and tricks. Please head to this link and you can find a lot of information on how to do similar projects. https://redouxinteriors.com/category/tutorials/



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