Home Improvement

How To Paint A Room With Built-In Shelving

Painting a room can instantly transform its ambiance, giving it a fresh and renewed look. However, painting becomes slightly more challenging when the room includes built-in shelving. Whether you have bookshelves, cubbies, or wall-mounted storage units, these fixtures require special attention during the painting process to ensure a seamless finish. In this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to paint a room with built-in shelving, providing  tips and tricks to help you achieve professional-looking results while avoiding any potential mishaps or damage to your beloved shelves. Whether you are considering doing it yourself or hiring a painting service, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary steps and tips for tackling this unique challenge. So let’s grab our paintbrushes and get ready to revamp your space!

Preparing The Room And Shelving For Painting

Preparing the room and shelving for painting is an essential step to ensure a smooth and professional-looking finish. Firstly, remove all items from the shelves and clear out any clutter in the room. Take down any artwork or decorations on the walls and unplug any electrical appliances. Next, cover the entire floor with drop cloths or plastic sheets to protect it from drips and spills.

To prepare the built-in shelving for painting, start by removing any loose or peeling paint using a scraper or sandpaper. This will create a clean surface for the new paint to adhere to. Fill in any holes or cracks with spackling compound and allow it to dry before sanding it down smooth. Wipe down all surfaces of the shelving with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris.

Choosing The Right Paint And Tools

When it comes to choosing the right paint for a room with built-in shelving, there are a few factors to consider. 

  1. First and foremost, you’ll want to decide on the finish of the paint. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are generally recommended for areas that are prone to high traffic or may require regular cleaning, such as hallways or kitchens. However, if you’re looking for a more matte look, an eggshell finish could be a good option.
  2. In addition to the finish, it’s important to select a paint color that complements both the room and the built-in shelving. You may want to consider choosing a lighter shade for the walls if your built-in shelving is already quite dark or busy-looking. On the other hand, if your shelves are light-colored or neutral, you have more flexibility in selecting bolder wall colors.
  3. When it comes to tools for painting a room with built-in shelving, having the right supplies can make all the difference. A quality brush is essential for cutting in at corners and edges where rollers cannot reach easily. 
  4. Additionally, using painter’s tape can help protect your shelves from any accidental paint splatters while ensuring clean lines along surfaces where they meet the wall. 

Finally, don’t forget about drop cloths or plastic sheeting to cover and protect your shelves and flooring from any potential drips or spills during the painting process.

Painting The Walls Around The Shelving

Painting the walls around the shelving can be a bit tricky when it comes to painting a room with built-in shelving. One important step is to properly prepare the area before starting. This includes removing any items from the shelves and covering them with plastic or drop cloths to protect them from paint splatter. It’s also essential to clean the surface of the walls thoroughly, removing any dirt, dust, or grease that may interfere with paint adhesion.

  • Once everything is prepared, it’s time to start painting. When painting around shelving, it’s best to use a small brush or roller for better control and precision. Begin by cutting in along the edges of the shelves and any other trim using a brush. Take your time and be careful not to get paint on the shelves themselves.
  • After cutting in, you can use a roller or larger brush to paint the rest of the wall surface around the shelving. Work in small sections at a time, ensuring even coverage and smooth strokes. It may be necessary to apply multiple coats if you are changing colors or if there are areas that require additional coverage.

Painting The Shelves And Trim

When painting a room with built-in shelving, it is essential to pay attention to the shelves and trim. These elements can greatly impact the overall look of the space. To start, remove any items that may be on the shelves and carefully cover them with plastic or drop cloths to protect them from paint drips or splatters.

  • Before applying any paint, it is important to prepare the surfaces properly. Clean the shelves and trim thoroughly to remove any dirt or grime. Sand any rough areas or imperfections on the woodwork before wiping away dust with a damp cloth.
  • Next, apply a coat of primer to ensure better adhesion of the paint. This step is especially crucial for previously unfinished wood or if you are changing colors drastically. Once dry, begin painting by using a brush for precision around corners and edges, and a roller for larger areas.
  • Choose your desired paint finish – whether it be glossy, satin, or matte – depending on your personal preference and style of the room. Apply two coats of paint for even coverage and allow each coat to dry completely before proceeding.

To achieve a professional-looking finish, take your time when applying each coat of paint. Use smooth strokes in one direction and avoid overloading your brush or roller with too much paint at once.


In conclusion, painting a room with built-in shelving can be a rewarding project that not only freshens up the space but also adds functionality and style. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have successfully transformed your room into a visually appealing and organized oasis. Take a moment to appreciate the hard work and dedication you’ve put into this project, as you now have a beautifully painted room that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical.

As you step back and admire your handiwork, don’t forget to take advantage of the new possibilities that come with having built-in shelving. Use these shelves to showcase your favorite decor pieces or organize books, plants, or collectibles. The additional storage space will not only help declutter your room but also provide an opportunity for creative arrangements and personalization.

Now that you have completed this paint job along with adding the functional element of built-in shelving, it’s time to sit back, relax, and truly enjoy your newly transformed space. Invite friends over for gatherings or spend quiet evenings curled up with a good book in this cozy yet stylish environment. However, with the help of Minneapolis painting experts, you can transform your space into a stunning oasis without ruining the functionality and beauty of your built-in shelves. Remember that maintaining proper care for your painted walls and keeping them clean will ensure their longevity. So go ahead – revel in the satisfaction of completing this home improvement project while reveling in the beauty of your newly painted room with its eye-catching built-in shelving!

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