DIY Custom Bookcases from Columns

Today, I’m excited to share the custom bookcases from columns my dad built for the master bedroom at Loblolly Manor.

I’ll just go ahead and fess up now this was another idea I dreamt up in concept but had no idea how to actually execute it. Thankfully, as in the case of the barn door surround for the air conditioning return in the laundry room my dad was on board to build the bookcase and my mom was the rock star that painted it.

My dad built four of these columns totally from scratch several years ago. I know! Our original plan was use them in the dining room at Loblolly but once we got two of the four columns installed we realized it would be too tight to install all four of them in the same room. Especially given the dining room table, which he also built, easily sits all 12 of us. So, we used two of the columns to help create a more formal transition from the entry to the dining room and we saved the other two columns until we could come up with a special plan for them.

We could tell my dad was definitely bummed because he had worked really hard on the columns. I knew we could come up with a plan b for them but every time we came up with an idea, we hit a design speed bump. Once we got serious about giving Loblolly Manor a makeover though, creating bookcases from those columns for the master bedroom became almost a mission for me.

Just to refresh, here’s a look at what was in the space before the bookcase was installed. This desk has since been painted and moved to another room. I’ll share that post with you once we upholster the chair we paired with this desk. It’s still on the to-do list!

The bookcase though, it’s all but complete. It’s almost eight feet high. You can see the two columns flanking the shelves.

The shelves were created with dado joints

and my parents chose bead board for the back of the bookcase.

The entire bookcase was painted in Decorator White by Benjamin Moore.

As some of you may know, we always seem to be on some sort of treasure hunt. We frequented estate sales, antique malls, thrift stores, charity shops and outdoor events FOR MONTHS to collect all of these pieces. Tip one for styling a bookcase: shop often.

Tip two is probably my best piece of advice: stick to a consistent color palette when you’re looking for books and smalls like this. It is super easy to get caught up in fun pieces that won’t necessarily be the best fit when you get home. Using this tactic will also keep you from over buying smalls that you don’t need as well.

While you’re shopping remember tip three: look for pieces that have varying heights, layers of textures and finishes too.

Keep in mind styling shelves takes time! Keep at it until you’ve reached a look you love. We usually style one shelf at a time and whenever we feel stuck we walk out of the room, seek a second opinion or scrap the shelf that’s giving us the most trouble and start over again.

I can honestly say going from having the desk in this corner to having this bookcase completely changed the master bedroom.

We plan to add a reading chair, we just haven’t found one that’s streamlined enough to fit the space yet is deep enough and comfortable enough to sit for long periods of time yet.

It’s exciting to see how things are coming together for now though and working with my parents on this project has been a dream!

See you guys back here tomorrow. We’ve made a lot of progress on the master bedroom at Loblolly and I’ll share the rest of the changes. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. I like these bookcases so much better than the desk CoCo. I need him to come to my house. Your dad is on a roll with all these projects lately.

  2. CoCo,
    So beautiful – this is exactly my kind of bookcase – the detail is so lovely! My husband has had to “deal” with my ideas and make them come to life for many years during the remodels that we’ve done through the years. I’m sure he would love getting to know your talented Dad! Thanks for sharing all these lovely transformations with us! 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, Patty, they could probably swap some stories about us ha ha. My dad told me just this morning he was hanging up his tool belt and playing golf for the rest of the year 🙂 We’ve made so much progress on this little cottage but I think we’re all ready for a long nap. Thankfully, Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away and seeing my mom’s excitement over everything keeps us all going. Sending you hugs for a happy day, CoCo

  3. Wow CoCo – your dad is an amazingly talented carpenter! This bookcase is impressive and beautiful. We are so glad that you came up with a plan to use those fabulous columns. Love your styling and helpful tips too! You guys just keep knocking it out of the park!

    1. No joke, there is no way this bookcase would have been completed without his help. I had zero idea how to get this idea off a sketch pad and into real life. As always my mom was a rock star assistant and styled everything beautifully. I’m happy to give all the credit for this project to them. They definitely deserve it. Big hugs, Coco

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