Hawaii expat living abroad in Australia, food and family blog

How to repurpose a bookshelf into a hall tree

How to repurpose a bookshelf into a hall tree

I recently fell in love with the idea of a hall tree and here are my tips on how to repurpose a bookshelf into a hall tree.

Ingrained in me since childhood was the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle. I have a hard time discarding something that could still have a purpose. I first started getting ideas with how to repurpose furniture during COVID lockdowns in early 2020. I had a few furniture items that I did not like and wanted to challenge myself on how to get them to be something that I was proud to have in my house.

What is a ‘hall tree’?

Now, my house is full of shoes, school bags and jackets thrown all across the hallway. Everyday I’m dodging one obstacle after another so I started looking up options to help organize this area. With my research I was introduced to the ‘hall tree’ (thank you Pinterest).

But what is a hall tree? Its an entryway dumping ground for shoes, bags, jackets, etc. that can all be organized in a beautiful way. Do yourself a favour and run a quick google or Pinterest search for some awesome ideas.

When I started looking for affordable options in my area, I struck out so decided to repurpose a bookshelf into a hall tree and make it my own. It took me a little while to find a secondhand bookshelf that fit my needs (the right width for the area I wanted, functionality, easiness to convert into a hall tree). But when I did it was game on!

My Process

Now I’ll admit my progress with these types of projects is slow and I do it for the personal satisfaction and ultimately the practical uses I can gain in my home life. I am a working mother so finding time for crafty projects is always a bit of a challenge. But the satisfaction I get when I complete one is so rewarding

I really base my projects off of need and windows of opportunity. For example, my husband saw a solid wood bookshelf that the neighbours had placed by the curb for free (it needed love, but had a solid frame)… The next minute I see him carrying it up the hill to our house because he knew I could make something of it.

This hall tree project started because I desperately wanted a hall tree to tidy up the bags and shoes that end up all across the floor. I could not find anything locally and the prices were in the thousands to buy one online. So I stared browsing the secondhand options in my areas until I found a piece that could transform into what I wanted without too many alterations.

Steps to Repurpose a Bookshelf into a Hall Tree

  1. Find your bookshelf – look for one with a bench already built in to make it easy on yourself, and be sure that it is solid treated wood
  2. Remove doors/shelves/features that you don’t want – I removed the two lower shelves and bottom cupboard doors
  3. Strip the paint with paint stripper (not essential, but will save time with sanding)
  4. Sand back the areas you want to repaint – if you are taking it back to the raw timber it will take a fair bit of sanding effort, but well worth it in my opinion.
  5. Prep, prime and paint!
  6. Add any finishing touches (bag hooks, etc). – I added two bag hooks and a piece of wood as a feature as well as additional support for the hooks
  7. DONE!

Now as I mentioned before, this project started because my children would throw their bags and shoes all over the house. Well to be honest, they still do that but at least now I have something pretty to look at in the hallway!

I didn’t have an existing piece of furniture in my house that could be easily repurposed into a hall tree, so I hunted for and bought a secondhand bookshelf locally that fit my requirements. The bookshelf was solid pine and painted completely white with a bench at the bottom. One of the key things I looked for was that the piece was solid wood, you can sand it back and repaint it to what suits your home and personal style.

Here is what it looked like originally!

before picture of white bookshelf

This piece would be sitting in my hallway so I knew the doors would not work (plus I hated the look of them!). So off they came! Then I needed an area to hang the bags so out came the two lower shelves. Took a little bit of cutting and whacking out with a hammer.

I didn’t mind some of the white so I only sanded back parts of the shelf that I wanted to repaint or keep as natural wood (and did I mention that I HATE sanding?!?!?).

The paint was quite thick so I used a bit of paint stripper to save me from hours and hours of sanding. After stripping the paint I sanded back the rest and cleaned and primed it for painting.

The green paint I chose was a matte called ‘Angry Ocean’. For the wood portion I used two coats of a clear polyurethane varnish.

Quite happy with how this turned out! What do you think?

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