When my books covered more floorspace in my bedroom than my actual furniture, I knew I needed to make a change. And I sure wasn’t planning on giving up my book addiction, so the next logical step was to give my books a place of honor in my home, on shelves made specifically for them. And thus, my library was born. Six months of painting, building, shopping and organizing later, and the storage room in our house was converted into my very own home library. And I’ve never been happier.
So if you’re thinking about tackling the same project in your home, here are a few tips from what I discovered about creating my home library.
1. Plan, plan, plan!
The last thing you want to do when transforming a room into your home library is cost yourself extra time and money because your not sure what you want. So grab a tape measure, a utility knife and an old cardboard box and plan yourself a room. I’m a fan of visualizing things in advance, so I found it helpful to measure the dimension of my room, including the locations of the door and window, to see just how much space I had for shelves, seating and any decor I wanted to add. Then, using the box, I cut everything down to size for a mini-model of my future library. Without it, I might have bought a couch so large it blocked any and all entry into the room.
2. Know your limits
Even if you have a small space to work with, don’t underestimate the time and (potentially) money that you’ll be putting into your library. Shelving, if you choose to make your own, cannot be built, primed, painted and ready for books in one day. Heck, your room cannot be painted and ready to move in all in one day for that matter. Plan a weekend for a small, solo project, or grab a few buddies and make it a transformation that lasts a couple of weekends. Just don’t stress yourself out. Creating your own library is supposed to be fun and something to be proud of when it’s all finished.
3. Pick your style and get creative
Decorating a library can be expensive if you plan on buying everything new. And that’s where flea markets, antique stores and Pinterest all come in handy. There are plenty of cool DIY decorating projects that you can tackle all on your own for a lot less money. I wanted my library to have an antique feel, but I’m living on a recent college grad’s budget, so flea markets became my best friend. I dug through some of my grandmother’s old pictures to make a stylish black and white photo collection, used antiques bottles that I had collected throughout the years to decorate empty shelves and bought discounted fabric to sew accent pillows.
And don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you can’t make cool things!
I loved the idea of this window coffee table but I didn’t have the budget to buy it. Instead, I hunted up an old window of my own, used the extra wood and paint from my shelves, and viola! A total of $16 was all I spent to get the coffee table of my dreams.
4. Splurge on seating
One thing you don’t want to do is skimp on seating. Assuming that you’re creating a library to not only house your book collection, but to also have a comfortable and relaxing place to read, you’ll want a seat that won’t make your back ache or butt fall asleep 15 minutes into your newest read. Here’s where saving on decor allows you to spend a bit of extra cash on a super comfy couch or chair. Just make sure it fits nicely in the room and doesn’t overpower the space. Stores like Ikea and Overstock.com have good deals on furniture from time to time, but shop around until you find something you like. I managed to snag my loveseat at Walmart for a good deal.
5. Make it your own
Lastly, make sure the space is all you. If you want hot pink walls and purple carpeting or white everything, it’s cool. As long as your library is a space where you can unwind, then do your thing. Don’t be afraid of color. Add movie posters, pictures or your own art to the walls. Have mini-bookshelves or fill the entire room with books. Ask for suggestions from the people around you, but ultimately make sure that the final result is a space that you’re going to love just as much a year from now as you do the day you finish.
So for all my book lovers out there, I hope you’re adventurous enough to give creating your own home library a shot. And I seriously hope you have as much fun with your project as I had with mine.
DIY Library Gallery