The $25.00 “Pretend” Built In Bookshelf

You guys say ,”Jump”…….

I say, “How high?”

You guys say, “Paint your fireplace”.

I say….”Okee Dokee”.

You guys say, “build built in book shelves” on both sides of the fireplace…..

And I say…….

“You think I’m rich or something?”

But then…………


HutchTransformation 1


I lied. 

I’m still on a budget.

I’m so boring!

But, I did listen to you all and I am trying to find ways to get the style that I will enjoy, at a budget I can afford.

So…..I have been shopping Craigslist for hutches and china cabinets the exact dimensions of each side of my fireplace.

That is how I decided I would get my “pretend” build in bookshelf look……without being able to afford the real thing.

Getting exact or almost exact dimensions is a little difficult.

There is a difference of over seven inches between the two sides of my fireplace…..don’t ask me why.

And I have the budget of …..well……as cheap as I can get it for.

But I have told you guys before… can be done!

And now…..It may not be the “real” built in’s but I do have my “pretend built in bookshelf”!

Or one so far……..

One to go!

And this side of my fireplace was the hard side! It is so narrow. But the size of this hutch or dresser with hutch top……perfect fit!

Want to see what it used to look like?

Before hutch


Even more pitiful in real life.


For a non-lottery-winning girl like me……


Hutch transformation 2

The brass handles were on clearance at Lowes, and I grabbed enough for my next “Pretend Built In Bookshelf” that I intend on finding.

Even if you are not a brass person, aren’t they pretty?!

hutch transformation 4

One of my favorite features of my new “pretend built in bookshelf” is where my husband drilled a hole in the back of the shelf and I can run a cord through it and keep this little lamp there.


I painted the hutch the same exact color of my walls to give the illusion that they are built ins.

Or just make it not so obvious, that they aren’t. : )

hutch transformation 8

I needed the storage after selling my big ‘ole honking armoire that previously resided in my dining room and stored all of my dishes and table linens, and I look forward to the additional storage when I find my next “pretend built in”.

hutch transformation 5

So, are you so disappointed that I didn’t go all out and do built ins?

Can you live with this?

Because you do know that I expect you to have your coffee with me each day, don’t you?

And you do know that I am not changing it, right?

Kk…..Just making sure we are clear. ; )

Your visits are important to me!

Pretend Built in Book Shelves 20

 Isn’t it fun to see what  a little bit of paint and new drawer pulls can do?

Still going to show up for coffee?

Because I am emailing back and forth with a person that may be selling me my next “Pretend built in bookshelf” and you guys may have to see that transformation next!

Let me know what you think.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.




I’m linking up to:


18 thoughts on “The $25.00 “Pretend” Built In Bookshelf

  • March 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Love it, Rebecca! Can’t wait to see the competely finished dining room!

  • March 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Genius solution! I like it better than traditional built ins. This is so cute and unexpected and you can’t beat the price. I love it!

  • March 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Well done! And at a great price to boot. I would have coffee with you any morning and never say a bad word about your faux built-ins. 😉

  • March 13, 2013 at 6:08 am

    LOVE it!!!! It looks like it belongs right there….the hardware is wonderful, too! I am excited to see what else you have up your sleeve…you are the first one I have my coffee with on the days I see a post from you!!!

  • March 13, 2013 at 7:06 am

    WOW !!! LOVE IT !!! This is just what the room needed. You’re on a roll now. Good job ! I’m having coffee with you now….sip….sip….!

  • March 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Great improvement, but then, I’d expect nothing else. And you say it looked worse in person than the photo? Pretty bad, like some of the pieces hubs refinished years ago. Never painted, always refinished. But many were mahogany or chestnut or solid oak, not the stuff to paint. Looking forward to that next “built-in”. 🙂

  • March 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    it’s perfect girl!! what a great solution for “pretend”. Better then the real thing if you ask me. Oh yeah- hot tea, 2 sugars, light milk.

  • March 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    AHHHHHHH! LOVE, adore, grab the coffee, pour pour pour!!!

    We did the same thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And both sides measured differently too – like dramatically different.

    Did I miss the painted fireplace reveal or are you just sneakin’ it in here?


  • March 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    You read my mind, Rebecca!! You turned something that looked old and unappealing into a beautiful, functional, modern-looking piece of furniture. It need not look built-in because it doesn’t need to. The stacked pieces are perfect together and you are going to create the perfect relaxation/dining room. I think you will love the simplicity that you achieve. Can’t wait to see the finished product!!

    Love ya,


  • March 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Oh Rebecca, it looks so fresh and pretty. What a great fit and a great find!!

  • March 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    What a great solution Rebecca! You are still the queen of CL! Can’t wait to see the other side. I’ll bet it’s fabulous too!

  • March 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

    You are amazing! It’s perfect! I’ll take my coffee with a little creamer.

  • March 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    With a little bit of trim, you could make this a “real” built-in.

    • March 26, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Your comment is haunting me! I thought the same thing about the trim when I did it but have no clue how to go about it. Have any ideas? Still shopping for my second piece but I am confident it will come in time. XOXO! Rebecca

  • February 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    What a great idea and a fabulous transformation. It really gives the illusion of builtin bookcases. Good job!


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