About the Lifestyle Blog

My day job is a wedding photographer, but my life consists of so much more than weddings. Here on my lifestyle blog, you’ll learn a lot more about me personally away from the camera. I love Jesus, being a wife, crafting, cooking, growing things, and so much more. I’ll document my heart here and I’m glad you’re along for the ride.

DIY Laminate Bookcase Upcycle

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you know I have a love for crafting and do-it-yourself projects. Unfortunately with Facebook though, you can’t really tell a full project story, so I wanted to share our most recent project with you on my blog!

When Matt and I got married, we inherited a lot of furniture. While we were incredibly thankful to our family for being so generous, the pieces we received didn’t really


together. As newlyweds, I knew we wouldn’t have a perfectly decorated home, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t try and spruce up what we already had.

Matt’s parents gave us two bookcases that we put in our dining room. They are a home for our few books, lots of picture frames, and other random items. I also love decorating them for Christmas! However, the bookcases were a wood laminate. They felt really dark and a bit dated, especially with our gray walls! So I decided I wanted to paint them white.

I am so thankful to have a husband who works so hard on projects I want completed!

This is what we started with: all brown and dark. 

Matt took apart each bookcase and painted the shelves.  He’s such a hard worker!

When we first started this project, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
Everything I read online made it seem like painting laminate was such a
pain: if you don’t sand and use the right paint, the paint will bubble
and smudge and look bad.

Well, Matt and I picked up


primer “for all surfaces” from Lowes. It said right on the label that
you could paint glossy surfaces WITHOUT sanding, so we decided to give
it a try. Our paint was water based.

And guess, what? It worked GREAT! No bubbling or smudging. It adhered
really well to the laminate! We did clean it before hand to remove dust,

So. many. shelves. The unfortunate part of this project was that there
was a lot of surface area that needed several coats of paint and
several days of drying time. So we started outside, but ended up having
to move everything inside. This project took up lots of space in our
living/dining room for several weeks.

Since the shelves were so dark and the ultra white is very light, we did two coats
of primer on each side and two coats of ultra white Valspar paint on
both sides.

It also got a little tricky because we weren’t sure how to keep each
shelf off the floor, so we went through our old cardboard boxes and set
one under each shelf. Yes, we are just that awesome and redneck-like. I
must have rubbed off on Matt. 😉 Haha. But it totally got the job done! 

This is a direct comparison before and after of the wood. The white looks soooooo much better!! 

After letting the shelves dry for a few days, Matt reassembled the bookcases.

I also decided to get a little creative with the bookcases. Instead of
just having white shelving, I thought it would be pretty to put fabric
on the back panel of the bookcases! Thank you Pinterest for the idea!!
And this chevron, loving it!

To attach the fabric, we glued the it to the back panel. Then, we glued the extra
fabric around the sides and folded the corners. We tried really hard to
keep the fabric straight and smooth! Matt does such a great job of
thinking of everything. He definitely has an engineers brain. 

Matt then nailed the panel onto the shelves. That also helped secure the fabric a little more.

Then we set the bookcases back in the dining room and I decorated them! Such a DRASTIC improvement!!


Brian and Abbi’s wedding

while I still had my rented 35mm lens, I took some wide shots of our shelves. Since it was my only chance to photograph them that wide, I took a lot of pictures. Haha.

I think they look so nice! I don’t love our dining room table and chairs (more hand-me-downs), but that might be changed in the near future as well. Sorry, Matt. Haha. 

Official before and after!

I hope you have been enjoying these less photography related posts! I plan to share more of our home and projects in the future!

Have a great Thursday, friends!

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Meet Karyn

Hi friends! I’m Karyn a twenty-something Christian, wife, do-it-yourselfer, chocoholic, and Virginia Tech alum living in Louisville, KY. I’m a wedding photographer by day and blogger by night. You’ll find all kinds of pretty pictures, wedding tips, life updates, and crazy thoughts on this little place I call my internet home.

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