Make a designer bookcase for the abode, using reclaimed materials

We all feel besieged by life. Our abodes are overwhelmed with stuff that seems to multiply like bunnies every day until it is overflowing out of every drawer and off of every shelf. It is time to… STOP, and take a breath.

Take control of the excess that you have accumulated.

  • Make a day to organize and get rid of items you no longer need. Are you really planning on reading all of those novels again that you have already read? How old are the kids? Get rid of the baby books. No need for reference books anymore when everything you can imagine can be looked up on the internet. You can always take a book out from the library the old fashioned way and now you can check a book out digitally from the library from home and read it on your computer. Donate the books to a shelter, hospital, or assisted living facility.

You can also have fun using the books to upcycle and repurpose to make a fun display shelf or cabinet. Use the pages of books to create wall covering

books made into shelves

After you have sorted through the mess and have come up through the pile it is time to create a place to keep your items neatly stored.

  • Build a wall of shelving or find a niche where a shelving unit would look nice fitted into.

Interesting shelving units can easily be built out of ½” plumbing pipe and fittings, and reclaimed wood and glass.

shelving unit made from reclaimed pipes and wood
  • Measure your space, figure out how tall of a unit you will need and how many shelves. Make a simple drawing. You do not have to be an artist, just draw it out simply so you have a plan that you will be able to plan materials from and build from. Keep in mind that shelves are typically 10 to 12 inches high or higher, depending on what you will be storing or displaying. Decide on the depth of the unit. A standard bookcase is 12 inches deep.
  • Keep in mind how many fittings you will need. You will need 90 degree elbows for the corners. 3-way tees will be needed for center supports and supports for the shelves. Bring your drawing with you to the hardware or plumbing supply store and they will be able to help you figure out exactly how much of piping and fittings you will need. You will also need the pipe cut and the ends threaded to fit properly together with the fittings in order to result in the finished size that you want your unit to be.
  • Ask local plumbers and plumbing supply stores if you can have their pipe waste (small pieces that they cannot use can be used for the short cross bars of the unit’s shelves) and reclaim it for your bookcase.
  • Keep the plumbing pipe and fittings their natural steel or they look great painted black to achieve an iron lookor you can paint them a fun color to go along with your décor. The hardware store will help you pick out the correct paint for your needs. I recommend an oil based gloss paint.

    pipes easily fit together for a finished bookcase
  • For the shelves reclaim wood from doors and discarded furniture.Cut to your desired size, sand and finish the edges. Stain or paint to finish the shelves. You can also reclaim glass from discarded units. Check out your local IKEA’s clearance area for inexpensive odd shelves and cabinet doors that can be incorporated into your unit.

    a beautiful finished bookcase

Put your new unit(s) into place. Organize your stuff and relish your accomplishments. Never be afraid to dance

Show me your support and subscribe to this blog, sign in under email subscription at the top of the column on the blog’s right side.

Read and subscribe to my Interior Design and Interior Decorating articles written for

Visit for further inspired professional design advice!