tips for painting a contrasting back on book shelf

did you know i used to be a painter?  during college i apprenticed as a decorative painter (while also being a nanny, waitress, and office assistant), then got hired on, and eventually started my own business after college.  while most of my time was spent on decorative finishes, distressing, glazing… i always had to make sure the base coat was done really well.  so over the years i learned a thing or 2 about painting!  because i was taught how to mix my own colors and match colors,  i have become very opinionated about colors!


8 years ago we painted the back of our bookshelves a really pretty chocolate brown.  i love the idea of a contrasting color on the back of bookshelves!  but… i was tiring of the brown and ready for a small, subtle change.


i painted it magnet by behr (in the new marquee paint), the perfect grey.  grey can be tricky to get right – i didn’t want it too purple or too green.


i love that both the brown and the grey work great with the distressed wood cover over our tv above our mantel.


the supplies were simple: paint, stir stick (which i didn’t use), 3m ScotchBlue tape, a paint can opener, and a purdy angled sash brush.  not pictured was a roll of paper towels.

because i had this paint at my home for a couple weeks (behr sent me a quart – thanks guys!) it needed to be mixed since the paint had probably settled a bit.  while i did my prep work, i turned the can upside down on its lid to start the remixing process.


i started off by taping off the perimeter of the area i wanted to paint, making sure to keep a straight line.  after i layed all the tape, i went over the edge with my nail to burnish the edge nice and tight.  finally i rolled out a strip of paper towels to cover the shelf top incase i had any drips.  the paper towel wouldn’t necessarily stop any drips from seeping through, but it was just a quick precaution.  paper or plastic would’ve been better, but this was quick and on hand!


before i started painting, i took my upside down paint can and gave it a few minutes of really vigorous shaking.  i didn’t use a paint tray since i was going to brush on the whole job, rather than using a roller.  this is because i was working in small sections and the shelf backing is all beadboard.  a roller would’ve just gotten the surface but not the deeper grooves.  and i didn’t feel like getting out the tray & roller ;)


i waited until morning to pull off the tape.  look how crisp the line is!

all in all, this was a really quick job – i started as soon as the kids went to bed and was done in a couple hours or so, prep & all.  the best part?  i only had to do 1 coat!  this marquee paint says its one coat, and it really is!  if this were regular paint, this job would’ve literally taken twice as long.

this is not a paid post.  i was sent a quart of paint from behr and given a roll of tape from 3m, but these opinions are all my own.  i know many of you like to paint – its one of the cheapest ways to transform a pice of furniture or a room.  i just wanted to give you some tips to make it easier!

come back in a couple days and i’ll show you how i styled my shelves!

chore charts


i am a stickler for chores.  i feel pretty strongly about my kids doing chores for a few reasons: 1) we really want our kids to have a strong work ethic, 2) i want our kids to leave for college knowing full well how to take care of themselves, and 3) i don’t want to do all the work myself!

we have been using a set of chore charts i made for the last couple years, but i realized that while silas’ chores were appropriate for him when he was 4, now that he’s 7 he should definitely have more responsibilities.  and because silas was going to take more responsibilities, it lessened the load on the girls a little bit.  so that lead me to needing to make new charts.


ok, here’s where you can all laugh at me.  if i knew how to use my computer beyond making a word document, this could look so much better.  but no.  i made this simple chore chart and then hand drew the circles!


i know it looks like a lot of chores, but let me explain it to you a bit.  where ever theres an X, they don’t do that chore on that day.  take emptying the dishwasher, for example.  each child doesn’t empty the dishwasher every day, but every 3 days.  also, there are a lot of chores to do on saturday.  basically i’m using that as a catch up day – if it needs to be done, i’ll choose one of them to do it.  if it doesn’t need to be done, then they can skip it.  also, since there is only 1 circle for brushing teeth and it needs to be done twice a day, they just mark off half of it each time they brush.


the chore charts are on a cork board covered in fabric, that was then attached with some small nails to the cabinetry on the side of our fridge.  the charts are in clear plastic page protectors and the kids write on them with dry erase markers.  the chalkboard underneath the cork board is also magnetic.  i found this gold pen holder in the locker decor section at target – it doesn’t hold up really well, so i may end up permanently attaching it to the wall.


here’s a break down of the chores my kids do:

laundry (start to finish), empty dishwasher, make bed, open windows (window coverings), clean room, brush teeth (2x), clean playroom, vacuum carpets, vacuum wood floors (swiffer), dust, empty trash cans, clean backyard (basically pick up toys, bikes, etc.), water (house) plants, clean bathroom sinks, clean potty.

we try to get most of our chores done in the morning before school, but its not always possible.  and some days we skip chores altogether if we need to.  i try to keep this as a regular daily thing, but i also do my best to show grace when the kids need it.  its definitely not  perfect method, but its working for my family.  and if my kids had to go to college today, they could all do their own laundry!