Before and After: A Free Facebook Marketplace Shelf Becomes a Stylish Centerpiece

published Jun 20, 2021
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Credit: Hana Sethi

When you have a particular vision in your head for a piece of furniture, it can be tough to find something exactly right that also fits your price point. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! It just means it might take a little DIY to make your dream a reality.

Credit: Hana Sethi

Hana Sethi, of Hana’s Happy Home, offers the perfect example. Her dad was looking for a bookshelf with doors on it to hide its contents, and everything the pair looked at was over $300 — way more than they wanted to spend. So Hana took to Facebook Marketplace, where she found a totally free shelf that looked like it might work (with a little customization). “I was so excited because it was in great condition and I knew I could bring it to life with paint and adding the doors,” Hana says.

Credit: Hana Sethi

While the bookshelf was in overall good condition, Hana says, “I wanted to paint it because the color of the wood veneer was very outdated.” The first step was to sand that veneer down before priming it; once that was done, she and her dad painted it a gray-green that Hana already had leftover from another project and attached matching doors made from plywood.

That was where she hit a hiccup, Hana says. “When it was time to attach the doors, we hung them and they were crooked,” she says. “I was really upset because we fiddled around for more than an hour and we could not get them to hang straight. It was probably because the shelf was old and had been moved a few times.”

The setback helped inspire a creative solution: “I embraced the opportunity to try and make the doors look level by adding the trim detailing on the top in the bottom,” Hana says.

Credit: Hana Sethi

Using scrap plywood, Hana created geometric accents for the tops and bottoms of the doors. She also added a star motif to the center where the doors meet, which helps pull the whole cabinet together.

The final project cost just $80 all together: $50 for the plywood for the doors, plus $30 for the new hinges. That’s a fraction of what Hana and her dad had expected to pay for an off-the-shelf find, and they’re even happier with the results.

“The after is so special to me because the project was not perfect but this is a great example of how someone can try something new that they’ve never done before, make a mistake, and re-pivot to create something really beautiful,” Hana says. “If the cabinet doors had been hung straight I wouldn’t have added that top and bottom trim detailing so I think it was a really fortunate accident.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.