Home decor

10 Tips for Making Pottery Barn Inspired Bookcase Accessories

As soon as Pottery Barn introduced their line of indigo products and accessories…

I was totally smitten.

And, I knew….

…immediately knew…

…deep in my heart of hearts….

that I could not rest until some of that glorious color made its way into my home.

IMG_2092The first dash showed up in the Jack and Jill bath vanities. Here. And here.

Then it popped onto a canvas in the hall.  Here.

And, this week-end, a bookcase that was built

with indigo accessories in mind,

was finally completed.


But, sadly, the Pottery Barn price tags put a damper on my decorating plans.

Still….I was determined to create their look.

So…I just had to take matters into my own hands…

…and develop a way to imitate the Pottery Barn concept

… without the PB prices.


Turns out, the method I came up with is super simple.

I just took items that I had on hand

and fitted them into the bookcase spaces.

Then, I refinished or remade them into the indigo style.

This way I had control over color balance and texture.



Sounds easy enough …and honestly….it was easy.

Totally easy.

It just took a little time to make everything.

But, in the end,

I had the bookcase accessories I wanted

and some “why didn’t I think of that” ideas to share.

IMG_2083But, YOWZA….

 what a pile of directions!

Cuz…well….. there’s just a big ole’ pile of accessories.

So…. please….please hang with me as

this post provides directions on how to make the accessories

and a SECOND post will explain how to make the bookcase.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss the bookcase directions.

It’s so super easy and adaptable to different sizes.

But, for now…

Let’s talk accessories.

Number 1:  The Mirror

The mirror on the top shelf came to me via a thrift store in the late 1970s.  The frame was dark brown with a dark brown velvet ribbon.  Yea.  Can you imagine?  But, it soon entered its verdigris with jute rope era (See photo #1).  And, this week, it was transformed again.

First, the rope was given a burr haircut.  Then, tape was applied to seal the mirror from the paint.


Next, (pic #3) a diluted creamy white latex paint (semi-gloss) was washed over the frame, allowed to completely dry,  and then sanded.  It looked great close up, but washed out from a distance.  So (pic #4) a diluted version of the gun-metal gray paint used to paint the back of the bookcase was washed over the white.

A dry brush technique was used so the frame didn’t require another sanding.  The frame was actually left in place during the drybrush painting so that I had a better visual.  The ropes remained creamy white and a bit of blue was washed over the inner frame.  Trust me, this was all trial and error.  Since most people will view the frame from the main floor, it was important that the frame be well-defined from about 14 to 16 feet away.  I must have run up and down the steps a 100 times.  Seriously.  The frame looks very different from a distance so it was worth the extra effort.

Number 2:  The Empty Frames Layered Over the Mirror

The empty frames were thrift store finds many moons ago and they’ve been every color under the rainbow.  For this placement, blue, gun-metal gray, and creamy white paints were applied.  The colors were combined and used as washes until this color balance was achieved.  Just patiently work with the paints….and remember to paint the backs of the frames when leaning the frames against a mirror because the back will be reflected to viewers.

Number 3:  The White Baskets on the Second Shelf – Left and Right of the Indigo Plates

The white baskets are actually very old and outdated metal shelves that were flipped upside down, filled with moss balls, and placed on books.  That’s it.  An upside down shelf.  But, the curvy lines really help soften the bookcase’s harsh edges, don’t you think?



Number 4:  The Chest on the Second Shelf Between the Indigo Plates

The chest is sooooo easy.  I almost feel like it really shouldn’t count, but here goes.  It was too tall so I took the legs off.  And, they were great legs, so I plopped them in my recycle bin.  🙂  Who knows?  The next chest might be too short. LOL.


Number 5:  The White Vase with the Blue Ribbon on the Third Shelf – Far Left

This pink-colored vase was “glazed” with diluted (about 1:1 water:paint) creamy-white latex paint (semi-gloss).  Blue chalk paint was used on the ribbon.


Once the white glaze was dry, a very, very diluted wash of gun-metal charcoal chalk paint was applied to produce a “sooty” effect.


Number 6:  Vase in the Middle of the Third Shelf

A complete post explains how to get this indigo with an aged effect.  Here.

Number 7:  The Chevron Fabric in Frames Behind the Vase on the Third Shelf

Thrift store frames were color washed with diluted blue chalk paint.


The chevron strips were cut from the edges of a scrap piece of fabric (a tablecloth).  Drapery liner was cut to fit the frame.  The chevron strips were glued to the drapery liner and then the drapery liner was glued to the back of the frame.


Number 8:  The “Glass” Covered Box in Front of the Chevron Fabric Frames

A complete post explains how to make this faux glass box.  Here.

Number 9:  The White Apples on the Bottom Shelf – Left and Right of the Baskets

These are just grapevine apples that I’ve used in the fall for many, many years.  Since they provide a nice textural element, they were spritzed with white spray paint and placed on top of books.

Number 10:  Industrial Style Storage Baskets

A complete post explains how to make these baskets.  Here.


And, there ya have it.

My version of the PB inspired concept.

Whatta ya think?

Can you take these ideas and run with them?

Just grab whatever accessory you have lying around…

turn it upside down and all around.


Spritz it.  Paint it.  Colorwash it.

And, viola…

what’s old…


becomes new.



Until next time,


Happy decorating,


Sharing at:  RefreshRestyle , That’s What Che Said , Confessions of a Plate Addict , Intelligent Domestications ,

AKA Designs


  • Reply melaniealexander March 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I too was smitten with their Indigo catalogue. I am a sucker for blue 🙂 The shelf turned out great, a very well-balanced display. My favorite part is the cloth covered boxes.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog March 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Ty so much! Yes! I love those boxes, too. P.S. this is the bookcase that I — with a little help from Hubs– built. This post in a day or two. 🙂

  • Reply Gail574 March 31, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Sue, you never cease to amaze me!!!! This is AWESOME!!!! I love this bookcase & all that you’ve done with the accesories!!!

  • Reply janetberridge March 31, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Love! Cheers

  • Reply Nancy March 31, 2015 at 4:26 am


  • Reply polly plum March 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    wow- thanks for the inspiration!!!I’m going to look over my old accessories and see if I can bring some newlife to them like you have!!!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog March 31, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Good….new eyes….make new prize. Thx for stopping by….Good luck with your redos.

  • Reply Donna from MyOBT March 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    You did a really great job. That’s beautiful!

  • Reply Leanne | Transplanted Southerner April 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    You created a really well accessorized space. I love re-purposing what I have to work instead of dropping $$$ on something that looks very similar.

  • Reply Erlene April 5, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Wow, I’m so impressed with your creativity. Love turning a mini shelf into a basket…very clever. Thanks for sharing this on the #SCBH2015

  • Reply How to Build a Bookcase to Fit Your Space | The Chelsea Project April 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    […] Most of the accessories were made or remade as upcycles.  For details on how to make any of the accessories, please click the post here. […]

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