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Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way

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As some of you may know I have been working on the small apartment space for the past few weeks, and will continue to do so for a while yet. You can see the whole series on the bottom of this post.

 So far, I shared with you how I painted the bookcases with milk paint.  The photos in that post were styled to show off the two bookcases. Pretty pictures but not reality.  And certainly not practical!

Today I will be sharing the reality photos of the bookcases.  What it actually looks like and what I have done to make it functional.  

Pretty and practical bookcases the easy way, because we don’t want thing to be too hard!
close up of magazine file and bottles with shells, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
In our home we have lots of magazine files.  They are easy to use for storage and organization. However the ones I had from Ikea, were dark colors and not in keeping with my new bright and cheerful philosophy for the look of the new space. 
Magazine files, before, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
What did I do to add bright and cheery?  Why I painted them of course!  Why not?  A little chalky type paint can go a long way and easily transform these dark magazine files into blue stunners. I simply mixed in a little white with the blue paint color I already had.  (If you’d like to see which products I recommend, I have an affiliate link below.)
painted magazine files, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
Below you can see where I have placed a few of them.  Had I kept the original look it would have been too dark and created a very busy bookcase. Now I have pretty plus practical.  
top of bookcase one, with magazine files, boxes and tin cans, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
And the tins were all painted with similar colors to create a bright and cheerful look. 
tin cans used for organization and storage, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
As we move down the first bookcase we see more magazine files which have been decoupaged with maps.  In this case they are New York maps. I use them for holding paperwork, files and also random receipts.  We are very big here in Greece on collecting receipts. “wink”
map covered magazine files with decoupage, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
On the bottom of the first bookcase I have a strawberry crate which was painted white.  And a big cardboard box.  The pattern will of course be familiar to many of you.  I decoupaged the box with this fabric to give some unity to the area.

​You can also spot my Empire State building wood pieces.  They were pieces of wood that were found out on the road.  I believe they may have been legs to something.  But I think they look like my beloved Empire State Building and so I use them as decor. 
cardboard box covered with fabric, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com

​And moving onto the second bookcase.  The top area has more magazine files in blue and in map decoupage.  There’s that fabric again!  This time on a phone book. 
Bookcase two with magazine files and tin cans, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
More maps, this time of Greece and the Aegean Sea. Can you see the blue that is sprinkled throughout?
magazine files decoupaged with maps, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
Right below is another crate and my pretty cookie tin cans.  I have a tutorial for them here. 
cookie tin cans decoupaged with fabric and a crate, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
The magazine files you see next to the books are a darker shade of blue than the previous ones.  I wanted to mix things up a bit.  And below them, another box, this time decoupaged in… you guessed… it maps!
painted magazine files, boxes wrapped in brown paper, and a cardboard box decoupaged with maps, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
Disclosure: The items below are affiliate links and link to Amazon.com. If you purchase any of these products through the links, I receive a small commission, that way I can continue to provide you with lovely content.  There is no extra charge to you for purchasing through my affiliate links.

I managed to create a variety of colors, textures and patterns but all within the same soft blue scheme. I wanted it to be relaxing and calming.  So that when my tired eyes rest on it, I won’t get a headache.  I think that the gray and white paint job of the bookcases also adds to the overall calm effect.  Pretty and Practical!
Two bookcases styled with blue colors, maps and pomegranate branches, #bookcasestyling #coastaldecor #summervignettes #upcycledmagazinefiles #upcycledcartons #mapboxes #decoupage #chalkytypepaint #organizing #storagesolutions Upcyled with paint, fabric and decoupage. Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
I was all done but then I found a gray box.  See it next to the mapped files?  I liked it so much I glued on an image from a calendar I had. Yes, I keep old calendars from years gone by for their pretty images. Am I bordering on hoarder status?
A gray box added to the shelf, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
I then added a few branches off our pomegranate tree.  I just love those orange colored blossoms and use them every chance I get.  
Pomegranate branches added for color to the shelf, Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
Does it look nice with the orange or is it too much?
Two bookcases styled with blue colors, maps and pomegranate branches, #bookcasestyling #coastaldecor #summervignettes #upcycledmagazinefiles #upcycledcartons #mapboxes #decoupage #chalkytypepaint #organizing #storagesolutions Upcyled with paint, fabric and decoupage. Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
And the simpler version! 

So you can see I’ve been able to create lots of storage space frugally.  What did I use?  Old magazine files I already had and a few cardboard boxes. With a little imagination and creativity, and a bit of paint, fabric and mod podge I have given the bookcases a unified look while at the same time giving myself lots of storage.  Upcycling at it’s best!

Two bookcases styled with blue colors, maps and pomegranate branches, #bookcasestyling #coastaldecor #summervignettes #upcycledmagazinefiles #upcycledcartons #mapboxes #decoupage #chalkytypepaint #organizing #storagesolutions Upcyled with paint, fabric and decoupage. Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
I hope that I was able to show you that pretty and practical doesn’t have to cost much. And it can be done quite easily by upcycling! In fact if you look around your home I’m sure you can think of lots of ways to create a unified look to your bookcases as well.

Which version do you prefer, with or without the pomegranate branches?
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Two bookcases styled with blue colors, maps and pomegranate branches, #bookcasestyling #coastaldecor #summervignettes #upcycledmagazinefiles #upcycledcartons #mapboxes #decoupage #chalkytypepaint #organizing #storagesolutions Upcyled with paint, fabric and decoupage. Pretty and Practical Bookcases the Easy Way www.theboondocksblog.com
If you like what you see, share it with your friends, or save it on Pinterest.  Above is a Pinterest worthy image!

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Calypso in the Country

Friday 26th of April 2019

Your shelves look so pretty with all that blue. Such a cute idea with the maps too. Your post was one of my features at Best of the Weekend! Thanks for joining us and have a wonderful weekend! Shelley

Mary

Friday 26th of April 2019

Thank you so much Shelly. It is always an honor to be featured at your party.

Teodora Totorean

Monday 5th of June 2017

These are very pretty bookcases! And I love the contrast given by the orange flower :).

Mary

Monday 5th of June 2017

Yay! I'm happy you like my orange flower! I think it adds a bit of interest to the whole scene.

Michelle Leslie

Monday 5th of June 2017

With the pomegranate. That lovely pop of vibrant orange is so delightful in amongst the pale relaxing blues. It's unexpected and draws the eye in to all the other thrifty up-cycles you've done. Yup definitely with the pomegranate Mary

Mary

Tuesday 6th of June 2017

Michelle I really love that pop of orange too. But those flowers are going to dry out and fade. I'll have to look and find something else.

Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

Monday 5th of June 2017

I love the coastal feel of these bookcases, fantastic job! Stopping by from Merry Monday Linky Party. Have a great week!

Mary

Tuesday 6th of June 2017

Thanks Tanya. They really needed to feel bright and cheerful for the summer. And in the winter they will brighten up a gloomy day!

Jennifer

Monday 5th of June 2017

What gorgeous shelves, I love how you've personalised the storage. And I love the pomegranate tree, I think it contrasts beautifully!

Mary

Tuesday 6th of June 2017

Thanks Jennifer. I think they have just the right balance to achieve a calming look.

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