library built-ins and wainscoting

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by Sandra Powell 80 Comments

The Library is finished.  The built-ins turned out like I hoped,  the wainscoting is more beautiful than I imagined and the plank ceiling has more of an impact than I expected.  All in all — I LOVE it!  


Library with white built ins and wainscoting

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting

Big projects like this are always a lot of work…but totally worth it when they’re done.  

I always have a few mid project changes.  I had to scrap  my accent lighting plan because the room is too small to make it work.   I wanted lights pointing at each bookcase.  In hind sight, I wish I would have installed pot lights IN each bookcase.  BUT, I was planning on figuring out some way to get something to work so I didn’t.  Not pulling everything apart now to change that!  I also bought a cool pendant light that I decided was too big and someone would walk into at some point because the room is too small for a seating arrangement that would prevent a person from walking directly under the light.  Oh well.  (Maybe I’ll have Wes hold it in place now that the room is done and I’ll take another look at that.  It would be super easy to add that in.  I’d have to wire it with the recessed lights — on the same switch because I pulled the wiring out for the second switch when I decided it was a no go.)  We’ll see.

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting


The wainscoting is from IntriG.   I will do a separate post on the wainscot because I know you want to know how I installed it, how easy was it to work with, what’s the pricing like, etc, but basically, it’s sheets of HDF, routed to your specifications.  They do all the math.  You just have to pick your details and install it.   

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting


 I don’t know how they get the corners sharp, but they are not the least bit rounded like you normally see with routered raised panels.  It looks like rail and style with separate raised panel.   Other than being heavy, it was increadibly easy to install.   Mine came sanded and primed but they have a DIY option that involves YOU doing a little more work but will save you some $$.  Plus, Sawdust and Paper Scraps readers get a 15% discount off their order.  (Just tell your sales rep when you call in to order.)

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting


Excluding 2×6′s for the base and 2×4′s to frame in the columns, the built ins are made entirely out of MDF.  There are two fixed shelves in each case and the rest are adjustable.

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting

library with white built ins and wainscoting


The ceiling is tongue and groove pine planks.  I primed and painted before I installed.  
DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting


Other than “decorating”, this is first room in the house that is totally and completely done!  (Maddie’s room still needs a bathroom and closet remodel, my closet still needs a shoe cabinet, my workshop needs organization and a work bench…)  

It feels great to finish one whole room!  Taking a few moments with Brody to RELAX!

DIY Library with White Built-ins and Wainscoting


I tried several new products and techniques on this project.  

First off:  I bought a Big Girl paint sprayer.   I primed with a roller before I bought the sprayer.  I need a little practice so I don’t get drips — which require me to sand down and re prime and sand and paint — but it gave me a beautiful finish everywhere I didn’t have drips!  I’ll tell you all about the sprayer sometime.

Second:  I used Bondo which I’ve never used before.  The kind I used is meant for car repair but people use it on everything.  I’m still undecided about it.  It dries hard and sands smooth but there is a lot of fiddle factor in having to mix the two parts together and you have to get that just right or it doesn’t harden and you have to scrape it off and sand and start over…another set back.  Plus, it stinks SUPER bad!  They are coming out with a wood product and I’ll give that a try.  I’ll be very selective about what I use the auto Bondo on.


What is it and where did I get it?

Paint:    Ceiling and trim:  Sherwin Williams   ProClassic   white base — out of the can, no tint.  (I’m matching the existing trim in the rest of the house.)

               Cabinets:   Sherwin Williams   ProClassic   “Snowbound”.

The wainscoting is from IntriG.
Armless chairs:  Pottery Barn
Bench:  Pottery Barn
RELAX wooden word:  TJMaxx
Built-in Bookshelves:  I built them.  Watch the video!  :-)
Cutest puppy ever:  He’s one of a kind!
Disclosure:  IntriG supplied me with my wainscoting so I could try it out and give them my feedback as a DIYer and share that experience with you.  My policy as always:  I will only tell you about products that I like.  I will always give you my honest opinion.

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80 thoughts on “library built-ins and wainscoting

  1. Sean says:

    Wow – your work is incredible. Can you tell me how you created the arch look on the shelves? Is it MDF? Any insight on the type of wood and how you cut it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. Andrea says:

    I loved the video! So impressive that you built all that.

  3. Victoria says:

    I found this on Pinterest and it’s absolutely stunning. The shelves are exactly what I am looking to do but don’t have the first idea how to go about it. Would appreciate any advice or instruction you wouldn’t mind sharing. Thanks!!

  4. Leah Hayden says:

    GORGEOUS! Great job! I have a question… We just bought tongue and groove Knotty pine planks from Lowe’s. They come in eight Foot lengths. They are unfinished. We are wanting to paint them white and put on great room ceiling. Did you fill in the knots before painting? Yours looks pretty smooth. I don’t mind seeing the knots for I like that rustic look BUT I also love your cleaner, smooth look! Are the knots there and I’m just not noticing them?

    • Sandra says:

      I did fill all the knots and sand well before priming and painting. There are still some imperfections but it’s too hard to try to get them perfectly smooth. I did want a super clean, glossy look on mine.