What do you do with a clunky outdated vanity that just won’t sell? You up-cycle it into  Kids Book Nook!

This art-deco style vanity was one of the treasures we brought home from our World’s Longest Yard Sale Adventure . It was for sale at our store  All Things New Again in Leesburg, Virginia for quite some time. Unfortunately, nobody wanted it!

I knew if I wanted the vanity to be beautiful–and useful–again, I needed to up-cycle it into something else…  But what?

Kids Book Nook_before shot

Ideas for Up-cyling outdated Old Vanities

My first thought for up cycling my outdated old vanity was to cut it up and make matching nightstands out of the two sides. That’s what my mom and dad did with these pretty lavender nightstands they created from an old outdated vanity.purple nightstandsThen I thought about turning that weird shelf area in the middle of my vanity into a bench for my new glammed-up foyer. It would be a great place to sit and put on your shoes before heading out the door. Unfortunately, the weird shelf was waaaaaaay too close to the floor for an adult to comfortably sit on it.

(Actually, sitting down was OK. Getting back up was the hard part when I tried it out!)

While the bench wasn’t comfortable for me, my 4-year-old son loved it.

That’s when I got my idea for the Kids Book Nook.

I could up-cycle this perfectly kid-sized spot into a little bench where he could sit and read all by himself. (Or at least look through the books until he learns how to read.) And the drawers would make extra storage to hold books or anything else a 4-year-old likes to squirrel away.

Fun Fabric

I found the perfect fabric for this project on Spoonflower, an easy-to-get-lost-in website where artists upload their designs and you can select one to print on fabric, gift wrap or wallpaper.

The fabric I chose is called Bookworms designed by artist Brenda Zapotosky. (Find her on Instagram @brendazapotosky)


How cute are these little worms? I love their silly personalities—and that top hat! My Kids Book Nook idea was coming together.

Now all I had to do was create it …

How to Up-cycle An Outdated Vanity Into a Kids Book Nook

I started by removing the mirror from the vanity and painting the base black.

Oops! A messy false start!

I painted the drawers different colors pulled from the Bookworm fabric (and any open paint cans I already had on hand).

multi color drawers_logoThen I mixed it up even more by painting the hardware in each of the drawer colors, drybrushing them black and placing them on a different colored drawer. I love the crazy mismatched look.

hardware closeupThat was the easy part! This was my first time creating a seat cushion from scratch. I kind of learned as I went along. I chose a 4” thick  pad for the seat. It was thick and cushy and (thankfully!) it fit the width of my seat PERFECTLY!

So I only had to make one cut for the length.

I read online that an electric carving knife works great to cut upholstery foam. We have one somewhere, but I knew my husband would have a fit if he went to carve the Thanksgiving turkey and there were bits of foam stuck to the knife. I used a steak knife instead since we have a bunch of those and he wouldn’t miss one.

It worked great. I used a combination of scoring across the top layer of foam then doing a sawing up and down motion to get through the next few layers. Then repeating the scoring and sawing until I got all the way through all 4 inches of the foam.

I planned to save the section of foam pad that I cut away for another project. Then I got another brilliant idea. That scrap of foam already fit across the bench … and was now the perfect height for a little backrest. I enlisted my product tester to try it out right before bedtime.

He agreed the backrest made the seat more comfy.

Joey Testing SeatI used every inch of foam and fabric for the seat and backrest. Woo hoo! I love when everything works out perfectly like that!

For the finishing touches, I added some fun quotes about reading down the sides of the drawers—a little secret message to the reader.

Reading Quotes on Drawers

Here is the finished Kids Book Nook!

Kids Book Nook by All Things New Again

Kids Book Nook_Bookworm Fabric from Spoonflower

Joey in the Kids Book Nook

Turn an Outdated Art Deco Vanity into a Kids Book Nook_All Things New Again

And here is my favorite Dr. Seuss quote about reading  …

Book Nook Quote

~ Courtney

All Things New Again is a family-owned furniture store and paint boutique located in Leesburg, Virginia — about an hour or so west of Washington, DC. We love rescuing old unwanted furniture and transforming it into wonderfully unique treasures for your home. We also offer several lines of non-toxic, easy-to-use paints and stains for your next DIY project along with fun furniture painting classes and workshops. Come on over the next time you are in town!

12 thoughts on “Kids Book Nook

  1. This is amazing. I absolutely love what you did.. creating an interesting space for the kids will definitely make them want to read more! I would be happy to spend all day in that cosy reading nook.. well done

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