Painting Built-In Shelves: Enhance Your Living Room Today

calander Apr 28 , 2023 user-icon Nash Painting

Painting built-in shelves can be a transformative process for your living room, adding both aesthetic appeal and increased durability. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various benefits of painting these functional yet stylish additions to your home, as well as the crucial steps in preparing for this kind of project.

We'll run through essential aspects like cleaning and sanding surfaces, selecting the appropriate paint and primer, and ensuring proper protection with tape and drop cloths. Furthermore, we'll discuss the pros and cons of undertaking DIY painting projects versus hiring professional painters for optimal results.

Lastly, our expert advice will provide valuable tips on finding a reputable painting company that specializes in painting built-in shelves to ensure an impeccable finish that really elevates your living space.

Table of Contents:

1. Benefits of Painting Built-In Shelves

Painting built-in shelves can provide a range of aesthetic, durability, and cost benefits for homeowners in the Nashville area. In this section, we will explore the advantages of painting built-in shelves and how to prepare for the project.

a. Aesthetic Appeal

One major benefit of painting your built-in shelves is the enhanced visual appeal it brings to your living space. A fresh coat of paint can instantly transform dull or outdated shelving into an eye-catching focal point within your home. A vast selection of paint shades and finishes can be chosen to tailor your built-ins in accordance with your desired aesthetic and decor.

b. Increased Durability

Beyond aesthetics, painting built-in shelves also offers increased durability by protecting them from wear-and-tear over time. High-quality paint creates a protective barrier against scratches, scuffs, moisture damage, and other common issues.

  • Semi-gloss paints: These are ideal for high-traffic areas as they offer excellent resistance against stains and moisture while providing an attractive sheen on surfaces.

  • Satin paints: Satin finish provides a smooth appearance that's easy-to-clean yet still durable enough for everyday use on shelving units where items are frequently moved around or adjusted.

  • Eggshell paints: This option delivers low-sheen protection suitable for moderate-use spaces such as living rooms or bedrooms where built-in shelves may not be subject to heavy wear-and-tear.

c. Cost Savings

Another advantage of painting your built-in shelves is the potential for cost savings compared to replacing them entirely. For a cost-effective way to give your home a fresh look, consider painting your built-in shelves instead of replacing them. Additionally, by maintaining and protecting your existing shelving with quality paint products, you can prolong their lifespan and avoid costly replacements down the line.

If you decide that hiring professional painters like Nash Painting is right for you, they will work closely with you to determine which type of paint best suits your needs and budget while delivering exceptional results tailored specifically for Nashville homeowners seeking high-end residential painting services.

Key Takeaway:

Painting built-in shelves can provide a range of benefits such as enhanced aesthetic appeal, increased durability, and cost savings. High-quality paint creates a protective barrier against wear-and-tear over time and offers endless options to customize your built-ins according to your personal style. By maintaining and protecting existing shelving with quality paint products, you can prolong their lifespan while avoiding costly replacements down the line.

2. Preparing to Paint Built-In Shelves

Before you start painting your built-in shelves, it's crucial to prepare the surface properly and choose the right materials for a long-lasting, beautiful finish. In this section, we'll discuss cleaning and sanding the surface, selecting suitable paint and primer, as well as applying tape and drop cloths for protection.

a. Cleaning and Sanding the Surface

The first step in preparing your built-in shelves for painting is to thoroughly clean them to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated over time. You can use a mild detergent solution with warm water or even just a damp cloth if they're not too dirty.

After cleaning, use fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit) to smooth any rough spots on the wood for even paint application and removal of old layers. This will help create an even surface for paint application while also removing any old paint or varnish layers that could cause issues later on. Be sure to wear proper safety gear like gloves and goggles during this process.

b. Choosing the Right Paint and Primer

Selecting high-quality paints specifically designed for wood surfaces is essential when painting built-in shelves because these products offer better adhesion properties than regular wall paints do - meaning less chance of peeling over time. We recommend using Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel, which provides excellent durability without yellowing due to its unique formula. In addition to choosing quality paint products tailored towards wooden surfaces, it's also crucial to use a primer that will help seal the wood and provide an even base for your paint. A good option is Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer, which offers excellent adhesion properties while preventing stains from bleeding through.

c. Applying Tape and Drop Cloths for Protection

Before you start painting, make sure to protect any surrounding areas by applying painter's tape along edges where the shelves meet walls or other surfaces. This helps create clean lines once the paint dries, making your project look more professional overall. Additionally, cover nearby furniture or flooring with drop cloths to prevent accidental spills during your painting process - remember that accidents can happen no matter how careful we are. You can find affordable drop cloths at most hardware stores.

Now that you're well-prepared for painting built-in shelves, it's time to consider whether tackling this project on your own is worth it or if hiring a professional might be a better choice. In the following part, we'll examine DIY versus expert alternatives carefully to enable you to choose wisely concerning what's best for you.

Key Takeaway:

To paint built-in shelves, start by cleaning and sanding the surface to create an even base. Use high-quality paints designed for wood surfaces like Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel and a primer such as Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer to seal the wood and provide better adhesion properties. Apply tape along edges where the shelves meet walls or other surfaces, cover nearby furniture or flooring with drop cloths to prevent accidental spills from causing damage during your painting process.

3. Professional vs DIY Painting Built-In Shelves

Weighing up the options of either taking on a DIY project or engaging a professional painter for your built-in shelves can be daunting. This article will explore the benefits and drawbacks of DIY painting projects, the advantages of employing a professional painter, and strategies for locating a reliable painting company in Nashville.

a. Pros and Cons of DIY Painting Projects

Undertaking a do-it-yourself painting project can be both satisfying and economical if done accurately. However, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons before starting:

  • Pros:
    • Savings: By doing it yourself, you save money on labor costs.

    • Control: You have complete control over every aspect of the project from paint selection to application techniques.

    • Satisfaction: There's personal satisfaction in completing home improvement tasks independently.

  • Cons:
    • Time-consuming: A lack of experience may lead to mistakes that require more time to fix than initially planned.

    • Quality: DIY projects may not have the same level of quality as professional work.

    • Equipment: You may need to purchase or rent equipment, which can add to the overall cost.

While DIY projects can be a great option for some, hiring a professional painter has its advantages.

b. Advantages of Hiring a Professional Painter

Professional painters have the experience, skills, and equipment necessary to complete a high-quality paint job. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a professional:

  • Expertise: Professional painters have the knowledge and experience to handle any challenges that may arise during the project.

  • Quality: Professionals use high-quality materials and techniques to ensure a flawless finish.

  • Time-saving: Professionals work efficiently and can complete the project in a shorter amount of time than a DIY project.

  • Insurance: Professional painters are insured, which means you are protected in case of any accidents or damages.

When hiring a professional painter, it's important to do your research and find a reputable company.

c. Tips for Finding a Reputable Painting Company in Nashville

Here are some tips for finding a reputable painting company in Nashville:

  • Read reviews: Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to get an idea of the company's reputation.

  • Check credentials: Make sure the company is licensed, insured, and certified.

  • Get multiple quotes: Compare quotes from different companies to ensure you are getting a fair price.

  • Ask for references: Ask the company for references from previous customers and follow up with them.

By following these tips, you can find a reputable painting company in Nashville that will provide high-quality work for your built-in shelves.

"Transform your built-in shelves with a flawless finish. Hire a professional painter for expert results and save time, hassle, and ensure quality. #NashvillePaintingCompany #ProfessionalPainting"

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FAQs in Relation to Painting Built-In Shelves

How to Paint Built-In Shelves

If you're looking to give your living room a fresh coat of paint, painting your built-in shelves is a great place to start. Follow these steps to get the job done:

  1. Clean and sand the surface to remove dirt and create a smooth base.

  2. Apply a high-quality primer to ensure proper adhesion of the paint.

  3. Choose an appropriate paint type for your project, such as semi-gloss or satin finish.

  4. Use painter's tape and drop cloths to protect surrounding areas.

  5. Apply at least two coats of paint with adequate drying time between each coat.

What Color Should Built-In Shelves Be?

The color choice for built-in shelves depends on personal preference and room design. Some popular options include matching the wall color for a seamless look, contrasting colors to make them stand out, or using neutral shades like white or gray that work well with various decor styles. Ultimately, choose a color that complements your space and enhances its aesthetic appeal.

What Is the Best Paint for Built-In Bookshelves?

The best paint for built-in bookshelves is one that provides durability while maintaining an attractive appearance. A water-based acrylic latex paint with either a semi-gloss or satin finish is recommended due to its easy application, quick drying time, low odor emission during the painting process, and resistance against wear-and-tear from everyday use.

What Is the Best Finish for Built-Ins?

A semi-gloss or satin finish is typically preferred when painting built-ins because they offer moderate sheen levels which highlight architectural details without being overly reflective. These finishes also provide adequate durability and are easier to clean than flat or matte finishes, making them suitable for high-traffic areas.


While DIY projects have their pros and cons, hiring a professional painter has many advantages. If you're looking to update your home with fresh paint on your built-in shelves or other areas, contact Nash Painting today to schedule an estimate!