decorating,  DIY,  Makeover

Turn a Hutch Into a Freestanding Bookcase

Who loves a good furniture makeover?

*raises both my hands…and feet*

You’ve come to the right place because I have a fun makeover to show you today! We were able to turn a hutch into a freestanding bookcase and it’s been a game-changer in my tween daughter’s room.

If you’ve been a long-time follower, you might remember that when I bought this dresser with brass details at the Habitat Restore it came with a hutch. I never could figure out the hutch part of the dresser. Not only was it not quite the right size, I couldn’t tell where it had ever attached to the dresser. It was a mystery.

I considered the hutch a bonus buy and it sat in our basement until I realized that it would be more useful in my tween daughter’s room.

She has books, sketch pads, trinkets and ceramic creations that need a home. Her old nightstand was no longer large enough to adequately store and display all of these treasures.

With a little makeover magic I knew the hutch could be a fun bookcase and even pull double duty as a nightstand.

You see the potential, right?

No? You don’t see it?

Try squinting and zooming out really far and then the potential will really shine through.

That’s what I do, anyway.

The first thing we did to make the hutch look more like a bookcase was to add a base. Handy Husband used a piece of scrap wood to accomplish that task. In the above photo it’s the piece of white-painted wood under the paint can.

Then he added simple trim to the sides of the hutch to cover the holes we created by screwing in the new base. The trim also hid some damage to the bookcase finish.

I patched some areas on the front of the bookcase with wood filler where the finish was chipped. Then I sanded those spots smooth by hand, which was super easy to do and also oddly satisfying.

I know the before picture looks rough, but I was confident with a little paint this patchwork of fixes would all blend together and look intentional.

And now, after a few coats of paint, here is the hutch turned freestanding bookcase in all of her glory!

So much better, right?

Let’s discuss the fun new detail on the bookcase – the knobs. I wanted to update the drawer hardware, but the original holes for the hardware were drilled at a non-standard distance for modern hardware. Instead of trying to force the issue, we went to Hobby Lobby and I let my daughter pick out new knobs.

As much as it pained me and gave me flashbacks to the cat fabric she picked out for the last makeover we did in her room, I pinky swear that I did let her pick.

It was just super lucky that she’s been wanting a world map for her room and then in my desperate scan of the knob and pull section we found map knobs that sort of match the brass detail at the top of the bookcase.

But man, was it touch-and-go there for a long moment!

I filled in the old hardware holes with wood filler and sanded them smooth. Handy Husband drilled new holes and now you can’t even tell where the old holes used to be.

Even though I’m showing you this bookcase makeover today, it’s still not quite complete.

The last thing to do is to find some baskets for that bottom shelf.

That will make the bookcase less top heavy and bring balance to the piece. However, I haven’t found just the right baskets yet. Not only do the baskets need to look good and be the right size, but they also have to be sturdy. This is a tween’s room, after all!

I will eventually find these baskets, but it will probably be long after I’ve given up on the situation.

My daughter was NOT super excited when we hauled the ugly hutch up to her room and said “We’re going to make this into an awesome freestanding bookcase!” There might have been an long “okaaaayyyy” uttered by her, especially after I said, “Trust me, it’s going to be GREAT!”

However, she is thrilled with how the bookcase makeover turned out and I’m happy that she has a spot for all of her books and treasures now!


Info About the Items in the Above Bookcase Makeover Photos:

Bookcase Paint Color – Behr Ultra in Satin Enamel. Custom Color: DL 176, EL 172, FL 68, KXL 158. Closest match is Glidden Ocean Teal (pretty sure).

Map Knobs – Hobby Lobby

Wrapped String Artwork Above the Bookcase – directions here

Books On the Bookcase – the latest in the ‘Books My Kids Are Reading’ Series here

Knock-Off DIY Pottery Barn Trundle Bed – info about how we DIY’d this bed here

8×10 Trellis Rug – old from Rugs USA (similar)

Faux Succulent – Target

Real Plant – Grocery Store/Container with gold stripe from Home Goods

Light and Light Switch – Came with the house! Don’t be jealous!


If you have time to kill, here are some other makeovers we’ve done! 

The $9.60 Table Makeover That Almost Broke Me

Turn an Old Door into a Display for Race Medals 

Refinishing a Wood Table Top with a Clear Coat Only

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