Bookcase Makeover (Coastal Decor – Pale Blue with a White Glaze)

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This post was originally published in 2015, updated in 2021.

A coastal bookcase makeover today with pale blue paint and white glaze!

Bookcase Makeover - Coastal Blue with White Glaze - #coastalstyle #bookcasemakeover

Hello beautiful friends!

I’m so excited to be sharing a bookcase makeover with y’all today.

But first, I want to share the flooring I’m undecided on.
I love them both and both have good points and not as good points.
If you follow along on Instagram, you probably have already seen this on my “stories” over there.

Okay, first up, this one works great with our home, the look, and the coastal feel.
It doesn’t show much, if any, dust, dog hair, etc. Good points!


I was just thinking I wanted to get away from the rustic a bit but I really do love this one and the nice, medium shade of brown it is.

This one is dark and yes, it does show the dust and dog hair, etc.
BUT it is so rich and pretty!
I really love them both for different reasons and have not been able to decide yet. Help!

(EDIT: This post was originally published in 2015. We have since installed the flooring, you can see it here)

flooring dark

And yes, I know, it’s almost impossible to decide an entire first floor of flooring by just looking at this.
I’ve been moving it around and around. (no help either, lol)

So….tell me, which do you like best and which do you think works best in our home and why?
Thanks, friends!

Okay, back to the makeover………………………

I LOVE doing furniture makeovers but I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t been able to do many as I’d like.
I have a ton of great furniture in my storage unit to makeover so I need to get busy.
Lots of creative ideas are rolling around in my head for those…..

But first, this Bookcase Makeover that I recently completed.

bookcase after painted blue and white

I have actually had this piece for about 3 years but never got around to painting it until now.
It has been up in my office with the intention to be used in that space.

So, since I bought this piece so long ago, I was unable to find the photo of it all together.
It was already in pieces upstairs waiting for me to paint it.
I didn’t really want to put the shelves back in and doors back on for the photo….so here are the “before” photos I do have.

The “I’m getting ready to paint you” before photos…

before photo of bookcase

I don’t know if you can see on the back there but this is an Ethan Allen piece.
The date is 1979.
I found this one at the thrift store for around $25.

another before photo

A nice solid, well-made piece of furniture but had some wear and repairs needed.
I also had to do a bit of sanding on this one to smooth things out before I painted.

Here are the doors before I lightly sanded and painted them.

doors off and before

I used General Finishes Persian Blue Milk Paint (mixed with General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint and a tiny touch of  General Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint)
I wanted a pale version of Persian Blue with a nice, bright white interior.

painting doors blue

Isn’t that a pretty color?

Then I decided to finish it with General Finishes Winter White Glaze.

adding white glaze over blue doors

Isn’t it lovely??? Kidding!! 
That is how I applied it and then wiped it away with a dry brush.

NOTE (added for a few people who emailed and asked for more details):
– depending on how much glaze you apply, you may need to wipe away some of the glaze with a clean cloth before you dry brush.
– AND be sure to keep your dry brush “dry” by wiping away all excess glaze from the brush as you brush the piece.
– Be sure to leave some of the glaze in the corners and crevices by not brushing too much in those areas. Use a light hand.
I may do a full tutorial on this at a later date.

So it ends up looking like this…

showing how the white glaze looks over the blue paint

I LOVE the whitewash/glaze effect and feel it really gives it the coastal feel I was after.

And just so you can see the difference a bit better….side by side (with glaze and without)

showing the difference between painted and glazed on doors

Those long, long sides are not fun to do this technique on…..

adding white glaze to the side of the bookcase

I just applied it quickly all over and then moved it around so it had good coverage…..
(dark photo, but when I tried to lighten it, the detail was lost)

showing how to glaze a long side

Then I just dry-brushed it from the top to the bottom for an even, finished look.

finished bookcase upper half styled

Hard to see the details well in the photos. Sorry!
This room is not as bright as the other room I usually take photos in….and it was overcast both mornings I tried to get the photos.

Want to know how to dry-brush? Watch the video I created >>> How To Dry Brush.

I took a few up-close shots so hopefully you can see the white glaze a bit better.
It’s very subtle but does add a lot of character and beauty to the piece.

up close of white glaze in wood

close up of white glaze on doors

I just adore that Winter White Glaze. I’m looking forward to using it again.

close up of white glaze on front

I’ve had these knobs for a while but never found the right piece for them.

I think this is finally the one! Yay!

heart looking hardware on doos

Painting the inside was fun…not so much.
And the shelves too…also, not so much.

showing how to paint inside white

I spent hours on this piece. Many.
I hate to say blood, sweat and tears because that’s a little dramatic. But it’s close. ;)
I’d have to say it was worth it though.

I’m really loving how it turned out. So much so, that I’m sad I won’t be keeping it.

baking cabinet bookcase with baking things

Some up-close shots of the decor I decided to use for this shoot.

Love my vintage tins. One is “missing” from my set because I’m now using it as a utensil holder in the kitchen.
It’s the one that says “SUGAR”. :)

old metal vintage tins

My well-loved and treasured blue Ball Mason jars…..

blue mason jars with seashells

…filled with pretty shells.

blue mason jar filled with seashells

So much to love.

Baking items…

baking containers


I will be sad to see this one go, for sure!

But I’m hoping it will find a good home and someone who loves it as much as I do.

PIN this bookcase makeover for later!

Bookcase Makeover - Coastal Blue with White Glaze - #coastalstyle #bookcasemakeover

I hope you enjoyed this makeover…..and learning a bit about that pretty Winter White Glaze I shared here today.
If you’ve never tried it, you should. I bet it would be beautiful over a dark blue too!
Might have to try that next.

I’ll be back next week with part 2 of the Florida vacation AND hopefully, another furniture makeover that I’m working on now (this time with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan).
Lots of exciting things coming up next month. Stay tuned!!

And also, be sure to check back in next week for this beauty! (it’s a KEEPER!!!)

UPDATE!!! See it now, here!!

Happy weekend friends!


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  1. Beautiful, Nancy! I love how you combined three paint colors to get the exact look that you want. I’ve always been afraid of glaze, but after seeing the look you achieved with GF, I think I want to try it. It sounds like exciting things are in your future next year.

    1. Thank you Paula! I’m always mixing (but can usually never repeat! ;) )
      The glaze is great, give it a try! I also have the dark glaze and it’s nice too.

    1. Aw thanks so much Pat!! So happy others are liking it too! I really love how this one turned out too! :)

  2. Beautiful Nancy, super-serene. Your post made me a little sad but I would imagine that the money you will make selling all your beautiful furniture and décor will almost completely pay for your new home :)

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Yes, serene! That is the perfect word for how this one makes me feel. Maybe that’s why I love it so!
      And oh no, it’s not sad! :) We are excited to be moving into something smaller. And I’m excited to renovate (kind of ;) ) and decorate a new home!
      I’ll be sharing it all here on the blog so it should be fun.
      I won’t be selling all furniture though. There are a quite a few I’m very attached to so I will make them fit somehow! lol
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I really love this piece. Wish I had room for it, and lived closer. Look under your Ball jars to see if you have the #13. People considered it unlucky and broke the jars, so there aren’t many and they are quite valuable. Just a friendly note!!!

    1. Thanks so much! I would love that! And oh my, I’ve never heard about that with the Ball jars. I have quite a little collection! Will have to check them out and see. I’ll let you know if I have one! :)
      Thanks for the tip!

  4. Lovely piece but I am confused. You indicate that you used Coastal Blue in the beginning but later on you note that you used Persian Blue. Was that a typo? Could you clarify which blue you used? Thanks

    1. Oh my gosh Leslie!! You are so right! I wasn’t even thinking of the GF Coastal Blue when I titled this (and I’ve used that color!!) I was describing a “look”. I’ve edited the title to reflect that. So sorry for the confusion. It was indeed Persian Blue.
      Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

    1. Hey there Andi!!! How are you!? How is the house?! I need to pop over and pay you a visit!
      Thank you and yep, I haven’t really used “glaze” since I glazed my kitchen cabinets 11 years ago when we moved in here! But I’m totally loving this white one!

  5. It is beautiful. I see you used Milk paint. I have heard of it but do not know exactly how it differs from Chalk paint. I am new to all of this and have just discovered Chalk paint. Love it. So could you pls. tell me the difference. Also where I can get milk paint.
    Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you Lynda! This particular milk paint is not like the typical “milk paint”. So it’s not really a good comparison. Typical milk paint is a powder that is mixed with water and usually leaves a chippier finish. The GF Milk Paint is more like regular paint. Chalk Paint has a “chalky” type finish (I’m speaking of Annie Sloan since I know there are several other chalky finish brands now) requires some kind of sealant. (poly or wax)
      GF Milk Paint (I’ve linked to Amazon in the post if you don’t have it local) I get mine local at a store called Woodcraft if you have one near you.
      Hope this helps!

  6. You’re selling your house!!! I bet it’s going to be hard saying goodbye after all the love you put into it. We’ve been talking about downsizing (moving to another province actually) but the thought of saying goodbye just when we FINALLY got this place how we envisioned it over the last 18 years, only to have it enjoyed by someone else makes me want to vomit. LOL
    You did a beautiful job on this hutch makeover, Nancy and I’m looking forward to seeing how you style it for the Bookcase Challenge! I’ve been using white wax to get that look, but it’s $$$ when you’re doing a large piece. You’ve inspired me to give white glaze a try.

    1. Thank you Marie! Yes, we are…sometime after my son graduates this next year. I know the feeling you mention! But I am READY! ;) It will be hard though but more because that is where the bulk of where our kids grew up. And oh yes, give the white glaze a try! It’s awesome! :)
      Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

  7. i do like green eggs and ham and i do not like brown wood lol this turned out gorgeous…i almost fell off my chair when you said you were selling all the love shows in this home it should sell quickly,but as busy as you are my word how are you going to start over, i will be here to follow along and give you encourging words xx

    1. Hah! Love that Chris! :) Thank you! and yes, we will be listing and in some way (building or renovating) starting over. But I’m excited and ready to trim it down, size wise and “stuff-wise” (purge!). I have no idea how I’ll keep up…but I’m sure I’ll be sharing it every step of the way. So happy you’ll be coming along on the crazy ride with us! ;) Thanks so much for the support! xoxo

  8. Beautiful Nancy! Isn’t it amazing what paint and/or glaze can do? I just got my hands on an Ethan Allen coffee table that I refinished thanks to your inspiration! I absolutely LOVE $25 furniture deals! :) Blessings, Jayne

    1. Thank you Jayne! Oh it really is amazing! I just LOVE it!! :) I just finished up another piece that I’ll be sharing this week (also painting). I had SO much fun doing it!
      Aw am so glad, I bet it’s a beauty! Send me a photo if you like! And you and me both, $25 furniture deals are the best.
      Happy Sunday to you!

    1. Thank you Denyse!
      Oh, yes, I love dark wax/glaze too but the white is a refreshing change! :)
      have fun!!

  9. Nancy! That is gorgeous! Yes, I LOVE the color blue you ended with, and YES, I LOVE that white glaze!!!

    Too bad you won’t be keeping that piece…. but like you said, hopefully, it will go to someone who will love it!

    Thank you for sharing and for telling us about the white glaze. I have some of the General Finishes stuff, but hadn’t seen that one. Good to know about it. xo

    1. Thanks Karen! :) It’s such pretty combo, I’m really loving it!!
      and yes, white glaze is a nice change. Give it a try! (it’s SUPER easy to use)

  10. You did a great job on that piece!!! Spending a lot of time refinishing a piece can be tiring but the end result is sooooo… rewarding. I’d love to find a similar bookcase to refinish for own home office.

    1. Thank you Rita!
      Yes, this one just was that! I just painted another piece and it didn’t take me near as long even though I did a bit more to it (technique wise). I’ll be sharing it on the blog this week. :)
      Keep looking, I’ll bet you find something!

  11. Nancy,
    This is beautiful. I love the blue. Could you tell me where I can find the Parisian Blue paint and the White Glaze? I have so many people I am connected with online and they all want to sell me their products!! I know what I like and how I am going to decorate my new home, but I am open to all kinds of beautiful decorating ideas. You are an inspiration to all of us “Wanna Bees”!!!

    1. Thank you Chris! I linked up to the paint for Amazon in the post (affiliate links) if you can’t find it local you can get there. I buy mine local at a store called Woodcraft. You can take a look and see if you have that local to you.
      If so, you are in business! ;) If not, try Amazon. Can’t beat Prime! ;)
      Thank you so much for the kind words! I’d love to see what you paint (if you’d like to send me a photo)
      Have fun!!

      1. Nancy,
        We don’t have the store mentioned in your reply to me, but I will check Amazon to see if they have these colors. When I am able I will send a photo.

        1. Hey Chris, They do have the colors on Amazon. I linked them up for readers to find easily. :) If you check the blog post, I have them linked up and they go directly to the colors I used on Amazon. :) (they are the links that say “affiliate link” and are highlighted in pink)
          The paint is one of my favorites to work with. Have fun!

  12. Enjoyed your old tutorial on the blue bookcase. The white glaze looks interesting, have you ever used it by itself over a medium toned wood piece like pine? I have 2 pine chests (sort of honey colored) that I have thinking of either painting them white or glazing them with a white glaze. For a true “pickled pine” look I would probably have to strip them down. Any suggestions?

    On your flooring samples – both are very attractive and I can see why you are drawn to the more rustic one. However I feel that if you have a lot of the more formal, paneled wainscoting as shown in your photos, you will be happier in the long run with the darker one as it goes better with this wall treatment than the duller, weathered floor. I have darker floors and yes, they do tend to show everything, but they are classic and go with anything. When you are working with something as expensive as flooring for an entire house, you want a product that will stand the test of time as well as decorating trends you may try in the future and you just can’t go wrong with the slightly darker, less rustic flooring. Darker floors also “ground the room” (the floors recede and the ceilings seem higher – sounds odd but it works) and they always look upscale and not trendy.

    I look forward to future posts from you.

    1. I too love the darker floors. Especially if you are selling the house. One point of contention, because we have dark floors as well, scratches show up very easily, even the tiny ones since the contrast between the raw wood and the stain color is so drastic…just something to keep in mind!

      1. Thanks so much Audra! :) That is one concern I had about the dark floors (besides showing all the dust, hair and dirt), scratches. I do have a big dog so something I will definitely consider! xo

    2. Hi Jill and thank you for the thoughtful comment!
      I totally agree with you on a lot of those points and I really appreciate your input on this as hearing others’ experiences have been very thought provoking for sure! I’ll be sure to let you all know what I decide. :)
      And the glaze, no, not this particular one but I have used a watered down white paint (Chalk Paint) to do what you are describing. You can see one example, here. I’m actually also planning to do something like this to the new coffee bar I’m working on. I’ll be sharing it on the blog when I’m finished.
      For a pickled look, yes, I would try to get as much of the “honey” color off, as possible. Citristrip would probably do the trick! xo

  13. Piping in on the flooring. Since you plan to sell, go with the one that would be more traditional or safe. Jill made good points about the wainscoting and although I love the barn wood, I lean towards the darker.

    1. Hi Rebecca! The darker is really rich looking, classic and beautiful. :) Hope to decide soon, thanks so much for your input! xo

  14. Talk about bringing back memories. I worked at an Ethan Allen Furniture Factory in 1979 and we made that exact cabinet. I still have some unfinished doors just like that in my garage.

  15. Beautiful piece and I love the glaze. If you were going to stay I would stick with the rustic flooring . Anything that is low maintenance. If you are selling I would lean towards the darker one. I love the way that you redo pieces. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Monica! And thank you also for the input on the flooring, much appreciated! :) xo

  16. The second flooring looks better with your lovely wainscoting. The first sample seems too rustic. Someone wrote that you may be selling so play it safe this time.

    1. Thank you Cyndy for the input on the flooring! :) I’m taking it all in and it’s all been very thought provoking for sure! xo

  17. No matter what color you choose I will tell you from experience the darker you go the harder to maintain. If you have a lot of windows or doors where light comes in you will never think the floor is clean!!!! Shows EVERY dog hair where the light hits it, and when you walk you can see it puff up ahead of you. Our dog was white and what a mess. I was using the sweeper several times a day. Thank goodness I don’t have that anymore. Good luck with what you decide.

    1. That’s something that really concerns me Gloria! I’ve had both samples sitting on the floor for a couple days and can already tell this. :/ (and I have a big, white dog! ;) ) Thanks for your input and thoughts, very appreciated! xo

  18. I love the bookcase! The color is right up my alley. I must try those paints and glazes. You did a beautiful job.

    As far as the flooring choices, they are very similar in the photos, but I like the first one more. I have 2 white bulldogs so I personally wouldn’t go too dark, but even if I didn’t have dogs, I like the first one because it appears to have more character.

    1. Thanks Lizzy! :) I really do love that glaze and plan to use it on some plain wood soon. (my new coffee bar to be)

      Yes, I have a large white (furry!) dog so that is definitely on my mind. And yes, I do love the character in the first one, too. Plus, I live in a coastal town so it will really fit in here. Thanks so much for the thoughts and input on the flooring, so appreciated! xo

  19. I am loving the rustic one personally. They are unique and blend perfectly with your style. However the dark is very safe, but you know my feelings about the darker floor showing EVERYthing and we don’t even have a dog. Tough decision, but they are both beautiful! Okay so I was no help ha ha!

    1. I am thinking that the first one really goes better with my style (and the area we live in) too. I love, love the dark but I worry about it being a pain to maintain. :/ And haha, you were a great help! ;) xoxo

  20. Nancy:
    I love most of your work. However, isn’t there more to a “beachy vibe” than painting everything white or blue? It seems like all your pieces are starting to run together in the sense they all look alike. I don’t mean this meanly – aren’t there other colors that can connotate a beachy vibe too?
    Thanks for listening,

    1. Hi Kristin!
      I love to hear any and all feedback so don’t ever feel like you are being mean.
      And yes, I do tend to paint a lot of blues (varying shades from dark to light) and whites but that’s what I love and use in my own home. A lot of the pieces I do or have done have been for my own home so it only makes sense to paint in the colors I use. Plus, the things I paint other colors tend to not sell as well when I need to sell something.

      If you look around my furniture gallery here on the blog, you will find a few more colors like green, dark pink, light pink, black, coral, etc. :) I do plan to paint something green soon but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I was hoping to get it done in the spring, we’ll see! ;)

  21. As a mom to several rescue dogs, I would DEFINITELY go with the lighter floor! I went with a gray, wood-look tile, and am so happy I did! No way do I want to be vacuuming or swiffering a dark floor every moment because it shows everything!! Even if you’ve freshly vacuumed, the dark will still show any footprint, pawprint, etc. Just my 2 cents. And I love your bookcase makeover — the glaze really makes it!

    1. Thanks Kristi! I do love that glaze and plan to use it again soon (on plain wood this time). And yes, that is one big concern of mine with a big, white, furry dog! ;) Thanks for the input! xo

    1. Your hard work really shows…the book case is lovely . I vote for the 2nd floor. The dark rich is great.. I’m partial…it’s similar to mine. The neck with the swifter ! Spend the $15.00 on a big green Libman micro fiber dust mop ! A few swipes and you’re good again . Thanks for sharing with this old gal !!! ❤

      1. Thank you Kathy. :) I do love the dark so much and that is a great tip, thank you! I’m going to have to check that out either way! ;) xoxo

  22. Wow, I love love LOVE the glaze!!! It looks amazing and I am interested in trying it myself. It would be awesome if you could do a tutorial on how to get it just right. It looks pretty easy, but definitely don’t want to go through trial and error on a piece. And in regards to your new flooring, I would definitely go with the lighter brown. 1. Easier to clean, doesn’t show dirt. That’s a win win!! 2. It looks BEAUTIFUL with the color scheme and it looks more relaxed and comfortable.. you have great taste and skill. I look forward to more furniture makeover reveals!

    1. Aw thank you so much Christina! :) And yes, I might just have to do a video tutorial on applying the glaze (dark and light)!

      Thank you for the input on the flooring, I agree it does look more relaxed and comfortable. And keeping it clean easier, is surely a win win! ;) xo

  23. Love the glaze finish on this unit, Nancy! It seems the Decor Enthusiasts group isn’t as enthusiastic as it once was. :-) Womp, womp. Have you bought your ticket to Haven yet?

    1. Yes, that glaze makes it! And yes, it is not as active these days. ;) But it is a great group!! xo

  24. Thanks for all your wonderful tips . I am writing from the north of Spain.
    I will try to recover my kitchen table and some other stuff too. Bit the first typing I will try is y oír Roman sedes.

  25. WOW! That is Gorgeous! Look the colors. Great job.
    Well displayed with some of your vintage items
    Your photo with your cake carrier; does that actually say CAK? Looks like some company forgot the ‘E’

  26. GREAT bookcase makeover! I can see where this was a LOT of work! Love the color and the white interior. I’ve never thought about a whitewash glaze! I probably would have gone with white wax and made even more work for myself. I love the idea of the whitewash over a darker color too!
    Have a wonderful week!!!

    1. Thank you, Christina! I haven’t done that kind of whitewash in a while (I don’t think anyway;) )I need to revisit it. It’s such a fun look! Hope your week is going great! xoxo

  27. This is a “Throw-back Tuesday”! This looks great! I love the color you mixed up. I have some of the General Finishes white glaze, and tried it, but it seemed gummy. I have a bookcase very similar to yours and it weighs 2 tons and does not come apart! It lives in my booth at the Antique Mall, in it’s natural (ugly) brown color, and I haven’t been able to sell it. I thought about painting it and love how yours turned out….but not sure it will be worth hauling it home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks, Cecilia! Oh no, maybe add a touch of water to it and try again. And oh my gosh, I hear ya!! Could you possibly paint it there?

  28. Beautifully redone. Have you tried the Restofinisher that is advertised? Would be curious to know who well it works.

      1. It was advertised on your blog. Do you choose which ads are put on your page? Just curious.

        1. Ohhh, right, gotcha! No, I sure don’t. Those ads (like many places you visit with ads) are catered to the reader and things they are interested in, etc. I do have the control to not show certain types of ads though (like anything that I or my readers might find offensive or that doesn’t really relate to my site, etc., so keep it pretty straightforward) I will have to check that product out though! :)

  29. Thanks for reposting. I did not see this the first or second time! Like everyone else, I love the I whitewash/glaze effect and you are right for a perfect coastal vibe. I also like the hutch without the doors! That really makes a difference! Love you work. Again, thanks for sharing your creative endeavors! Have a great week.

  30. I love this make-over! And EA furniture pieces are worth making “new” again to look right in your beautiful home. Well worth the effort to make this a wow piece. I love your choice of color and styling. Love the coastal vibe. Well done.

    PS – do love the floor you ended up choosing. It’s perfect.

    1. Thank you, Michele! And so right about EA! They are solid. It’s always fun when you come across really nice, well-made pieces like that. Oh yes, and thank you…we have really enjoyed these floors! :) xo

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