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This was our front room in our home for the past few years. This exact set-up was right at home in our very tiny Philadelphia living room, where we used to live. But here? It just got lost in this room.
We love to read, and our bookshelves began holding stacks of books in front of more books. It became impossible to keep our books organized.
Our Pottery Barn couch looked a bit lost against the longest wall.
And across the room were more bookshelves with more piles and stacks of books. Notice the shelves are unfinished wood. I never got around to finishing them as I didn’t want to deal with the piles of books!
It was time for a solution. Luckily we moved just an hour away from Philly, so it was an easy trip to the Philadelphia IKEA.
Just look at that blue sky! Cue the sounds of heavenly choirs singing, because any trip to IKEA is fun!
We weren’t even in the store for 10 minutes before we came upon this room display of Billy bookcases configured for a home library. Exactly what we wanted and needed!
We loved everything about it: the mix of wide shelves, corner shelves and regular shelves; the glass doors; the halogen lamps overhead; and the L-shape of the bookcases. The brown-black color was perfect! Time to shop!
When you’re married to a software engineer, you don’t simply measure and order a room full of IKEA Billy Bookcases. You wait patiently while your husband maps and measures different ideas out in his software.
It was not easy being patient, but the measuring and planning is the most important step if you want to get it right the first time!
We placed our order for the Billy bookcases online, and began emptying out our soon-to-be Library Room.
After moving a wall outlet to accommodate the new lighting, my husband put the bookcases together over several evenings.
Quick story: I remember reading about a “bookcase challenge” that was held at last year’s Haven Conference for DIY/Home bloggers. Each team was provided with decorative accessories to style a bookcase. I was excited to see styling with books. You know, in bookcases? Instead I saw bookshelves styled with everything but books.
I definitely would have lost that design contest because my first question would have been, “Where are the books?”
Needless to say, we do have meaningful decorative accessories among our books, including special vintage pieces like the heavy ship bookend docked with all of my seafaring books!
Library Room Makeover:
We moved the couch across the room to the window, which looks much better.
Our cats, Aliza and Lulu, are very happy with this new arrangement!
This photo was taken the first time Aliza saw her reflection in the bookcase glass. She stayed like that for about 45 minutes!
The old lamp stayed, but I gave it a much-needed makeover using Modern Masters Metallic Effects paint and patina solution. You can see the complete tutorial here: Thrift Store Lamp Gets Gorgeous with Copper and Patina Finish
The adorable dotted pillows are from IKEA as well! They are so comfy!
I added an antique secretary desk to the room as well. This desk was in sad shape when I bought it. I gave it a makeover using DecoArt’s Chalky Finish Paints. You can see the complete tutorial here: Chippy Paint Antique Secretary Desk
Here’s a super-quick look at the bookshelves taken with my iPhone. It’s the only way I can show you the entire L-shaped design of the bookcases!
We aren’t quite finished with this room, as we want to add a small electric fireplace near the couch, dress up the window, and add sliding vintage barn doors to the room’s opening. Paint will come down the road, as will hardwood floors. Eventually we will swap out the couch for a set of comfy chairs.
But for now? We are in book lover’s heaven!