Cluttered bookshelves surrounding a fireplace in the family room

Baby toys. Big boy toys. Movies that never end up back in their cases. Cords, cords, and more cords.

How the hell did this happen? WHEN did this happen? And WHY didn’t we have our kids closer together so we didn’t have to have two sets of toys?

That was a rhetorical question.

… Because the thought of two kids in diapers makes me want to curl into the fetal position behind the Laugh & Learn Puppy and Hungry Hungry Hippos and weep.

Before attaching the door, make sure the piece of wood fit the front of the chalkboard bookshelves.

It wasn’t until I started to decorate for Christmas and was all, “Holy shit, babe! We have got to hide this nonsense. Decorating this room is like putting lipstick on a pig. How am I supposed to make THIS look like a winter wonderland?”

… I have high standards for my home during the holidays. I’m talking 12+ totes full of decor standards. It’s intense. Beautiful, but intense. Sort of like the red and white ornaments Michael hung on the wrong nails. I know you feel my pain. Tell me you feel it.

So, we sat down and brainstormed a way to hide the clutter. In the past, we talked about cubes and/or baskets, but the shelves were too narrow because the builder was a moron, so we gave up on looking for a solution.

But doors? Can I get an attagirl?

Attaching a brace to the back of the chalkboard bookshelves
The inside of our DIY chalkboard bookshelves that surround our fireplace in the family room

After you cut the plywood down to the size of the opening, screw a 2×4 brace to the top and bottom of backside to help correct any warping.

At least that is why Michael did it. My role was simply to oversee the project to ensure my chalkboard bookshelves came to life.

Attach the door to the chalkboard bookshelves with hinges

He added some hinges,

Give chalkboard bookshelves a handle with a wooden ball knob
Keep the doors on chalkboard bookshelves closed with a simple magnet latch

a wooden ball knob for a handle, and finished it off with a magnetic door latch. At which point I was able to give it a few coats of chalkboard paint and give Michael the green light to practice his writing.

How to add doors to bookshelves surrounding the fireplace in your family room so the kids can draw on chalkboard bookshelves and the toys are out of sight.
Chalkboard bookshelves give the kids something fun to draw on
Chalkboard bookshelves hide toys and clutter while giving the kids a place to doodle

Chalkboard bookshelves were exactly what we needed to hide some of the clutter. (Little) Michael thought they were the coolest because he is finally into writing, Maverick was no longer able to pull EVERY single toy off the shelf and try to eat them, and they made the family room clutter a little easier to swallow.

Swallow for the adults. Not the baby. They stopped the baby from swallowing tiny puzzle pieces.

Transform your family room into a winter wonderland for the kids with oversized Christmas ornaments

And not even 3 weeks later, we took the entire family room down to the studs for a blitz remodel before Maverick’s birthday.

You don’t have to say it, we know. Relaxing is not in our vocabulary.


Before and after adding DIY chalkboard doors to the bookshelves in our family room

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