A Library Transformation
When we moved into our house we were coming from five years in New York City, a living situation that I felt required frequent culling of the books I owned and a renewed dedication to library books as I knew they wouldn’t take up permanent space in our little one bedroom apartment.
I hardly knew what to do with the extra space, but I did have a dream: Belle’s library.
Okay, that wouldn’t fit in our new three bedroom house.
But one of those rooms could be dedicated to an office/library all my own, where I could revel in the joy of not only loving books, but seeing them in plentiful supply.
As we were renters when we first moved in, uncertain of where we might want to live permanently after years away from the area, I was resigned to making do with the mediocre tan color already on the walls of my office.
It was fine.
A little barfy, but fine.
With bookcases and art on the walls in wouldn’t be so noticeable anyway.
But as I began to fill my office with more books and photo props and funkos and candles and desks it began to feel like the space was too chaotic.
When we bought the house this past August, thrilled that the owner was willing to part with it (I hate moving and I joke that we bought just so we wouldn’t have to move again) we set about making updates. The common spaces where we might be hosting guests got the most attention first and then things like, you know, insulation to keep the house warm in the winter, and all that stuff that apparently houses should have took priority.
Finally, a month ago I reached a tipping point- I was running out of shelf space and books were piling up.
Once upon a time I would have said, “Too many books!” but now I needed to declare, “Not enough shelves!”
Specifically, I was frustrated that I couldn’t see all my TBR books. I had to double them inside the shelves, prioritizing which ones I might be the most likely to read and relegating the more dubious titles to the stacks hidden behind.
I wanted to make a more informed decision, which meant a better way to display all the books, which meant more bookcases, and if I was going to have more bookcases I should put them in a more strategic location, and if I were going to move them I should probably paint the walls, and you know what, the bookcases should all be the same color, and maybe I need a new desk…
If you’re exhausted reading this, know that I was exhausted thinking it, and yet, suddenly, on a random Saturday afternoon I looked at paint chips, moved everything I could out of my office and into our bedroom and hallway, and then got to work.
That random Saturday afternoon was April 22! And I officially declared my office/library revamp completed on May 25.
To be fair, all the painting and organizing and furniture building was actually done by about April 28 or so, but until I hung art on my walls, I couldn’t call it complete.
So once my art went I up, I called my project complete and am now so excited to enjoy a brighter, livelier space, full of the kind of aesthetics I love.
The left hand bookcase facing front is primarily paperbacks I've read, organized by height, as well as stacks of my oversized and oddly sized books. And on the very top are hardcovers with bookspines that are a little too hard to organize by color.
The left hand bookcase contains the hardcovers I've read organized by color, and then the right hand bookcase contains all the books I have yet to read! This is a full visual of my tactile TBR pile. Except for the bottom shelf which is graphic novels and comics I've read in addition to some book boxes near and dear to my hear.
The smaller shelving unit in addition to my candle display and home for my Funkos, the books on these shelves are non-fiction and books dedicated to writing.
And now I have a bright and open reading nook and plenty of room to actually open up this fabulous recliner, before it felt like it needed to practically be in the middle of the room in order to stretch out.
But before I get too carried away with the joy of my personal library, it's important to remember that this is also my office. As a freelance writer I have a tendency to write in my pajamas from the comfort of my couch more often than not, but it's important to have a quiet dedicated space when I need it. It's also a corner for storing my art supplies and there might be some photo props squirreled away in that cabinet.
Next to my desk is a magnetic whiteboard that houses bits small bits of art I've accumulated over the years, some of which are cards from important people. One of the benefits of displaying things with magnets instead of frames is that I can rearrange them and swap items out as I discover new artists and receive new delightful items from bookish boxes.
Overall I'm really proud of the work I put into this space. I painted the walls myself, built the bookcases and desk myself, and organized everything in a way that helped bring my bookish love front and center.
What do you think of the transformation?
Have you ever tackled a project like this?