Vintage-Inspired Ikea Laiva Bookshelf DIY

Ikea Lavia Bookshelf DIY Video. Follow Peruse Vintage on YouTube for more!

Being inside my house more due to quarantine, I have been inspired to get more organized. I have been debating on getting a bookshelf for a while now, but I could not decide between a cube organizer or a more traditional bookshelf. When browsing Ikea’s site, I saw their Laiva bookshelf and fell in love!

Not only is it such a cute shape, it is also narrow for smaller spaces and the price tag is even better- only $19.99! I love a good deal so I couldn’t pass it up.

However, it only comes in one color-Black-Brown. Online it looks more black, but when I saw it in person it totally shows up more brown. I prefer either black or white furniture to match the existing ones in my space, so it was not going to be a good fit. I decided to take matters into my own hands and do my own DIY!

I could not find any DIY’s on YouTube for this particular model, just some assembly videos, so I wanted to share my process incase anyone else is interested in trying it for themselves!

I was inspired by Bargain Bethany’s Ikea DIY, however she did it on a metal shelf with white marble and gold. Metal is a much different surface to paint, so I wanted to share my process!

Before and after images.

The Supplies

  • The Laiva Bookcase: The DIY works best if you do it un-assembled. You can grab it from Ikea here for $19.99. Here is the Amazon link as well incase it does not deliver to your area, although it is a bit pricier.
  • Sandpaper: Literally any old sandpaper will do!
  • Primer: I used both a primer and then the paint with primer as well to be safe, but this step is optional if you use the 2-in-1 depending on how much traffic it will go through. Here is the primer I used.
  • Paint: I opted for a glossy black. You can of course do whatever color you wish! Here is the link for the glossy black 2-in-1.
  • Top Coat: I like a nice glossy look, but if it’s not your thing, they also have semi-glossy & matte options as well. Optional of course, but if you do not want your hard work scratched or chipped it is worth it! Here is the link for the top coat I used.
  • Contact Paper: I could not find the exact paper I got online- I purchased it in-store at Walmart for less then $6. I do have a link to the same brand in white, and a similar black one.
  • Comfort Grip Paint Sprayer: Another optional item, but honestly it makes all the difference! It simply clips on to any spray paint can and makes application so much quicker and easier, saves your nails and hands from a mess and makes your paint last longer due to better spray! You can grab it here.
  • Wallpaper Smoother or Credit Card: For smoothing out contact paper. Either works fine, I just happened to own a smoother already.
  • Scissors & Xacto Knife or Razor Blade

Just a side note- I may make a small percentage off these links if you purchase directly from them, it is totally not necessary to purchase though, just here if you are interested!

The Steps

I decided that I was going to paint the sides in a gloss black and cover the shelves in decorative contact paper. I also chose to not use the b\ack panels (on the top and bottom shelves), as they are not necessary to the structure and merely for show.

You are of course free to make this your own- whether you want to simply paint the entire thing a new color or contact paper the entire piece, there may be some tips I can offer you! The video is definitely the most helpful tool, so I recommend checking it out as well to get a nice visual!


Since I am just painting the sides, I only painted the pieces that make them up, as I would be covering the shelves anyway.

I chose to do this in spray paint, however you can also use a roller and can of paint as well! Since it is a laminate over wood, you can not use stain and must take precautions to prevent chipping and scratching over time.

While using spray paint, please make sure to be outside or in a well-ventilated area, such as an open garage.

  1. Lightly sand the wood. This adds a little grip and texture to soak up the primer. After gently sanding all sides, wipe them down with a dry cloth or rag to remove any dust so the paint will stick to the surface.
  2. Apply primer (optional if your paint is a 2-in-1 with primer, if so skip to step 3). Priming is going to help us create a strong base and preserve our work, especially since it is going over a laminate. I used my comfort grip attachment to apply the primer. I used a gray-based primer, but you can purchase it in black or white, depending on your desired color, I just simply had this one at home already. Apply it in quick, even strokes. Let dry, then flip the piece and do the back side. Let dry.
  3. Apply paint. I applied the paint with the same technique as the primer- quick, even strokes using my comfort grip. Make sure you cover all sides, let dry, then flip and repeat. Check for any missed spots- does it need a second coat?
  4. Apply top coat. I am a firm believer in sealing any work with a nice top coat- you worked so hard, why not preserve it as long as you can? Once again, apply the top coat in quick, even strokes. Let dry, flip and repeat. Let dry.

And there you have it- painting is done! It is so simple to do, as long as you have the right supplies and few hours to kill during dry time!

Contact Paper

I wanted to make the shelves unique to my style, and contact paper is the fastest way to customize anything! There are some amazing options out there, so I highly recommend searching for one that matches your vibe if you are interested in doing this yourself!

Its super easy to apply, and quite forgiving if you have something patterned (any bumps or mistakes are hidden!).

  1. Measure our your shelf on the paper. Place the shelf on the paper (most contact paper has a grid on the back) and measure out the size needed, adding at least half an inch for margin of error. Cut.
  2. Begin applying the paper directly to the surface. I find starting in a corner and peeling the back in a diagonal motion works best. Once one side is covered, use your wallpaper smoothing tool (or credit card) to smooth out any air bubbles- it is super satisfying! When complete, bend the paper around the corner and repeat on the back.
  3. Cut off excess. Trim off any excess paper from the sides using an Xacto knife or razor blade, making sure to have a cutting board or piece of cardboard under.

One your pieces are painted and/or contact papered, it is time to assemble! Assemble following the guide included in the manual. Since I am omitting the backboards, I omitted those steps.

It was a pretty simple assembly and did not take very long! In the process, if any chips or scratches occur, you can use a matching sharpie to cover up blemishes!

Here is a video on assembling the Laiva Shelf from Field Guide to DIY.

And that is it! It is super simple to do and has amazing results- in my opinion at least! If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment or email and I will do my best to help! And if you create one yourself I would love to see the final results!

Happy DIYing!

The decorated finished product!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s