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Hacking furniture – Turning a bookshelf in to a kitchen counter

07 Nov

They say that when life hands you lemons you should make lemonade. Well life handed me 4 bookshelves so I made a kitchen island. In our attempt to furnish our apartment as cheaply as possible we found a set of 4 tall, narrow bookshelves on craigslist for free with the caveat "Must take all 4." What we wanted was 2 bookshelves and an island counter, but we've had no luck finding a counter in the right dimensions. So we went and strapped the 4 bookshelves to the top of our Hyundai and brought them home. We figured we'd either find something to do with the other 2 or give them away to someone else. They are made of a material that is similar to a butcher block counter top so I decided to see if I could convert a bookshelf in to a counter. (spoiler: it worked).


  • 2 bookshelves (Ikea I think… free from craigslist)
  • Some 2″ and 1 5/8″ screws ($5 a box at home depot)
  • 2 small pieces of 2×2 board (had laying around from building a bench)

  • Circular saw
  • Drill



  • Take apart the bookshelf
  • Cut some bits in to smaller bits
  • Put it back together in the shape of a counter


Basically, I just took apart the book shelf and measured the materials. Each one was made of 2 boxes and 2 long pieces of wood holding them together. I stacked the two boxes on their sides and cut the long boards roughly in half to form the sides and top of the unit. I also added a piece of 2×2 on each side to attach the top to the sides. I know it's not the most informative process. Maybe some pictures would help?




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