DIY built in bookcase wall in the basement {The reveal!}

Hello there and welcome to the reveal of biggest bookcase build I’ve ever attempted! I shared a few weeks ago that I was going to start building a MASSIVE entertainment unit in our basement. I’ll get you caught up on the process first and then will share the after pics. 
This is the wall I tackled…I’ve had an idea in my head since we moved in for this spot: 
long wall in Westchester Gray paint
The wall is a whopping 19 feet — I was filling 18 of that. 
I always use kitchen cabinets for my built ins. It’s way easier, cheaper and faster than building from scratch. I started by building up my cabinets so they would look more built in: 

add bottom supports to cabinets for built ins

After I got them in place I installed them into the wall and into each other: 

building bookcases with kitchen cabinets
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I’m kicking myself because I didn’t get a pic of how I did the center bench part. I attached them to each other, and then added a support (into studs) behind them. Then I place supports that went from that to the backs of the cabinets, where I screwed them in. 
This just gives the bench some added support on the back part. It also keeps it open back there so we can access sound system components underneath. I only screwed the top in, so if needed, we can take it off to access things even easier. 
The center and left side bench cabinets are cut out in the back, so we can reach through. When we get our sound system in place, I’ll have to cut the center of the doors out and replace that with something that will allow for the remotes to work. It also lets the electronics breath — you can see how I did something similar and hid our TV electronics here
I shared how I add the look of wood counters for way less a couple weeks ago. Butcher block isn’t crazy expensive, but I knew we’d need a lot for this project. This is SO much more affordable and looks great!: 
provincial stain on birch plywood
Oh! And I hung wallpaper behind the bookcase — it’s a gray tweed look in a peel and stick:
tweed peel and stick wallpaper
I find it much easier to hang this before I put my supports up. If I ever want to change it out, I can cut it away from the shelves. 

I have found it’s more manageable to paint as I go — I used to wait until the whole thing was done and then start. Doing it in phases is SO much better! I painted the bases first, and then installed the pretty new hardware: 
brass hardware on gray cabinets
You can see my trick to easily install cabinet knobs and pulls here
The rest of the project was done pretty much identically to how I built my office bookcases. You can see how I installed the supports for the bookcases here and the three steps for building built in shelves
I knocked this whole project out in two weeks. I was on a mission! I spent hours a day working on it and had an absolute blast. It’s like a puzzle for me — I really enjoy it. The only hiccups I had were at the very end when I was building the shelves: 
building shelves in bookcases

As you can see, I built the VERY LAST shelf and then stepped back and realized it was in the wrong spot. Argh! Story of my life. 
I have loved the look of stained shelves against painted bookcases and wanted to incorporate that into this build. But pine is a finicky beast. Sometimes it stains up beautifully, sometimes it looks awful (even with conditioner). I’ll go into more detail about that in an upcoming post.
This time, even with conditioner and using select pine, it didn’t look the best: 
select pine blotchy stain

So I had to switch gears. I contemplated taking off the fronts and replacing them with a different wood, but I really didn’t want to spend more money (or start all over again!). 
So instead I decided to paint the fronts and leave the actual shelves (on top and bottom) the stained wood: 

pine stained in provincial stain

I absolutely LOVE how it looks!! It turned into a happy accident. Now the front ties in nicely with everything else, but you still see that wood tone on the shelves. 
After that, I installed the sconces, added some trim to the headers and touched up holes and paint: 
brass globe sconse on bookcase

Then it was time to decorate! I swear this part took me longer than it did to build the bookcases! 😂 I had items in our storage room I’ve kept for years just for this wall. I shared my tips on decorating bookcases here — I always incorporate those when I’m accessorizing a spot in our home. 

And now the big reveal! Here’s the before shot from this angle a few weeks ago: 

And now, a full wall of built ins!: 

wall of built in bookcases in gray
A before shot from the front: 
bookcase wall before

And now!:
long wall of DIY built ins with TV

It’s exactly what I had in my head all these years. Actually…better! 

I had so much fun working on this project — it came together so beautifully: 
Decorated built ins with tweed wallpaper

gray built ins with wood bench under TV
I think this may be my favorite project I’ve ever done. My kitchen and bathroom renovations at our last house are way up there too…I’m so proud of those! But this one…I don’t know what it is. It’s just so me and fits in perfectly in our home. 
I’m super proud of this…I love all of the details and how the decor came together: 
DIY bookcases in Westchester Gray

I may make an upholstered cushion for the bench…I’m not sure yet. We’ll need to wait to see how big the center speaker is before I do that: 

Built in wall with wood bench under TV
We had bookcase speakers wired as well…I’ve hidden those holes behind the art. 🙂 Those will come when the budget allows. 
I screwed the header in the middle section in (instead of nailing it) so I can easily take it down when we have the ceiling speakers installed. (Those are already wired.) I think we’ll focus on the front speakers now and tackle that part later. 
When I look at a project and think, “It should have always looked this” — that’s a sign it turned out really well! This fits perfectly in this room!: 

Basement family room wall with bookcases around TV
This spot is SO cozy and warm! We always spend a ton of time in the basement in the winter, but we’ve been down there more than ever lately. It’s the best spot in the house right now!: 
Gray built ins with wood stained tones
If you remember my drawing for this wall, you may remember we had planned to add a long, electric fireplace under the TV: 
drawing of large DIY entertainment center
Turns out there wasn’t enough room. Now I’m kinda glad we didn’t try to fit in there! We’re looking at a new spot for that instead. 
The reality matches my sketch pretty well, right?: 
Thrifty Decor Chick built in wall
The TV is just slightly off center and it should slide over, but it’s not budging. We want to wait till we have another person to help us — hopefully we can scoot it over a bit more. 
The final cost for ALL materials — wallpaper to stain to wood  — was around $1300. I would have paid at least three times that to have someone build this for us! 
The walls in this space are getting a little detail soon as well!: 

matching walls and built ins in gray

We’ve had that mirror since the old house and just happens to match — but I’d prefer it didn’t. I’m thinking about painting it…just have to decide what color! 

You may notice that the lighting in here is MUCH better now. I’ll share more about that soon.
I hope this project inspires you! If you have questions I didn’t address here, please let me know. 
SOURCES FOR THIS PROJECT 

Wall and cabinet color — Westchester Gray by Sherwin-Williams (flat and semi gloss)
Brass globe sconces (I got them at Home Depot but they priced even lower at that link!)
Pillows — Hobby Lobby
More about our sectional here
Watercolor art on left shelves 
I had most of the bookcase decor already. (They are a mix of thrifted and mostly HomeGoods items.) 

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