Friday, November 14, 2014

Dining room turned library, finally!

Hello my friends and happy weekend! Hope you have a fun (or just relaxing!) one planned.

We’ve made a big stride in finally transforming the dining room to a library space that I’ve talked about for awhile now. It’s only taken a couple years. ;) Hello…it’s ME.

More than two years ago I got a wild idea to get rid of our dining room and make it into a more useful space for us. We were starting with a very dark, dramatic room:

chocolate brown dining room

Keep in mind this was kind of in between – I was painting the chairs and we had just gotten new floors that reeeeeally made the room feel extra dark. The carpet we had in there before helped to lighten it up.

Thing is, we used this room maybe twice a year for meals. That’s it. Otherwise it was fun to dress up for blog posts, but we never ever used it. I can’t stand that – honestly, the thought of not using space in our home makes me twitchy. I’m not one for “fancy” rooms either – most of our spaces are pretty laid back.

Soooo…I started on the process of building the bookcases to transform this space into a “library.” My Dad and I worked on them for months and they made a dramatic difference to this room. Then for awhile we had our old round kitchen table in the space just to fill it. My husband used it as his office in the summer months so he wasn’t down in the basement. (Lately he’s been in the kitchen – I think we need some windows in the basement!)

Speaking of an office – many of you suggested still using a large table in this room so it could be a desk and a dining room when we needed it. I considered that for awhile, but we always came back to the chairs. We don’t need another big table and we’re not the neatest people. :) I really didn’t want papers and the computer to be the first thing people saw when they walked in to our house either. I think it would be lovely for people that are good about keeping surfaces cleaned off but we’re so not those people. ;)

I have been looking for years for chairs for this space! Our plan all along was always to add four chairs in a circle as a conversational area. But four chairs are expensive – no matter how good of a deal. So I looked and searched and scoured Craigslist and couldn't find anything I loved. I found plenty that looked great online but I just can’t pull the trigger on ordering furniture I’ll sit in online. I have to be able to test it out.

My husband had two requests – they had to have arms and they had to be comfy. I finally found something that worked when I was in World Market a month or so ago and stumbled across the Abbott chairs -- they are super, super cozy: 

World Market Abbott chairs

The bonus is they were on sale down from $300 to $250. Then I got another 25 percent off of that, and then I had a coupon. So I got each $300 chair for about $170 – score!! WAY better than the $300-$400 I was finding online. They only had two in stock so I got those and then did a rain check for the other two.

But when I got the two home I quite loved how they looked by themselves:revamping dining room into comfy seating area

It felt nice and open and welcoming…I was worried four would be too tight.

A couple weeks later two more came in so I stuffed them into my SUV and then put them out with these…and it was waaaaaaay too much for the room. My husband loved it and I always try to go with whatever he likes when he has a strong opinion, but it just wasn’t going to work.

These are large chairs but even smaller ones would have been too busy. And they are crazy comfortable – I can curl up in them and still have room, I love that. More than anything we wanted them to be a spot where people would actually SIT.

I lived with the four for a few days, trying to convince myself that they worked, but alas -- they did not. I wasn’t sad about spending half as much, that’s for sure!:

dining room turned library

One thing in particular that I noticed with the four chairs is that when you came in our front door you saw the back of a chair…it felt all wrong. And if this room was about four to five feet wider it would have been lovely, but I love how welcoming this feels.

So we took the two back and it immediately felt right again. Ahhhh. ;) It’s a perfect mix – cozy and still open. Awhile back I put a lamp on the shelf for my husband while he worked. It adds nice low light for when we sit in here in the evenings:

DIY bookcases with storage

Of course the bookcase lights on a dimmer are awesome too!:

DIY built ins with storage

A few months back I added this dresser that used to sit in my office to an awkward little spot in the room:

black dresser white hardware

It’s in between the library (I think I can officially call it that now!) and the living room. There was supposed to be a small wall there but I asked the builder not to put it in and I’m so glad! I love this little spot now.

So here’s a look back at what the room looked like a few years ago:

chocolate brown dining room

I loved it (mostly) at the time, don’t get me wrong. But I love it so so SO much more now:

dining room turned library

Big transformation, yes? I’m so thrilled that we have a spot to sit in here now. And yes, the living room is right next to it but I’ve known all along we’d use another comfy spot. This is more intimate and just adds another area for us to relax or sit and talk.

The ottoman is one I’ve had for year from Meijer and I plan to build a bigger fabric ottoman on wheels to go in it’s place. We also really need a small table between the two chairs. I have my heart set on one of those tree stump kind of tables but they are expensive! I found on at West Elm that is perfect but it’s $200. Uhhh…NO.

So I’ll keep looking till I find one that’s the right price and look. We LOVE this space though!! For the first time ever we actually spend time in here! I sit out there most mornings and eat my breakfast. The kiddo and his best buddy end up sitting there and just talking…I freakin’ love it. And of course, the animals are curled up on one of them every single day.

The great thing about the two chairs is when we host big parties and I need this space for serving, I can just push the chairs around to the living room or by the windows and we’ll have plenty of space. It’s going to work really well I think. My sister pointed out (when I had her come to validate my thoughts on the four being too much) that with two more chairs that would be hard to do.

Getting rid of the dining room isn’t for everyone I’m sure. But it’s going to work well for our family and I’m really excited how the space has transformed! Do you use your dining space or do you use it for something different? So many builders aren’t even including them in their plans now, isn’t that interesting? I wonder if the formal dining room will be a rare find in the future.

50 comments:

  1. I LOVE this transformation! A library is such a great use for the room. Our dining area is now a music room and the dining table is in the living space, which is all open, but it works much better for us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love it!! You will get so much more use out of the space now. Such a fantastic idea!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful transformation. A library is one of my dream rooms - for some day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love it.great work.amazingšŸ‘

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes! My favourite blogger because you keep it real. Transform spaces into unique areas that work for you. Waiting to see your DIY tree stump.....I'm sure you're thinking that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I'd love to!! I just need to figure out where to get a stump -- I looked on Craigslist and didn't find anything but I'm going to keep asking around. From what I've heard DIYing one of those can be a pain though -- you have to let it sit for so long and treat it so that bugs can't live that may be inside. Yuck. I'll do some more research cause I think it would be really cool in that spot.

      Delete
    2. Sarah - contact a tree removal service in your area, they even cut to size :)

      Delete
  6. I think this is such a great use of the space for your family!! IF you ever did need a dining room again, those bookshelves could easily transform into a hutch/buffet by putting dishes and serving pieces in them - there'd even be room for a bar! I think it works perfect!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks awesome! I'd rather have a library any day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. With five kids, I use my dining room for every meal every day. What I don't use is an eat-in kitchen. I am always trying to reclaim the eat-in space for more work space. This makes absolute sense for your family though, and I love the transformation! We are moving into a new house next week, (I am so excited! A 100 year old farmhouse in Wisconsin), and I have big plans for a fireplace makeover flanked by built-ins. Your projects will serve as great inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks so lovely. I can't imagine four chairs sitting in there! But two looks open and comfortable and so much brighter. Love the lighting on the bookcase

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think you made a very wise choice to cozy up the room and make it more usable. The times of reflection I enjoy the most are those sitting around as a family in a comfy room chatting about our day. It's all about enjoying what we have to the fullest.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful! It makes the entry seem so inviting!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I posted a comment and it didn't show for some reason so hopefully I don't end up with 2 now!

    That looks great! I have to admit though when I first saw the post I thought there had been a mix up and it was old. It's been so long since that room looked like that! Love the chairs!

    As for the tree trunk table, are they insane? $200?!?! Okay enough of that. Why not DIY your own? You could pick out your own log which would be nice. A lot of people are trying to get rid of logs in my area for free since it's firewood season. I bet you could find one you liked for free or really cheap. Then you could just get a glass top to protect it. I know there's some stuff you can spray on it too to get rid of bugs but I can't remember what you use. I've never tried this on unfinished wood before but if you take 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil (vegetable, canola, olive, whatever you have) and scrub solid wood furniture it gets rid of scratches and amplifiea the color some. It couldn't hurt to try it on a tree.

    I'm sure no matter what you pick that it will look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I'm considering that for sure -- I already looked on Craigslist and didn't find anything so I need to keep looking. But yes, I've heard it takes some work to make sure the bugs aren't an issue. :)

      Delete
  13. You mentioned that you'd like a small table in your new library - have you thought about adding a garden stool? The curvy shape would work well in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes that would look great too! There's a lot of straight lines so some curve would work well. There's a round wood table also at World Market that I love too, I'll just have to see what I can find.

      Delete
  14. That's gorgeous and such a great use of space.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Absolutely beautiful! I love everything about it. Great deal on the chairs too!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks great! I am actually working on making a tree stump coffee table right now, i found a perfect/interesting stump. It is on hold for a little bit because I am pregnant, but hopefully it will be done before too long.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Room looks great. How is the quality and sturdiness of the chairs you bought? (I know they must be okay, or you would not have bought them.) I agree with you about having to sit in a chair or sofa before buying it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really pleased with them so far, but we've only had them a month or so. At first I noticed some small nubs in the upholstery where a cat claw must have gotten it, but I just rubbed and they came right out. So far so good! They aren't super heavy but sturdy enough that I can sit on the backs or arms no problem. I like that the backs and sides are firm -- it's not just fabric, if that makes any sense.

      Delete
  18. Beautiful room! Would you mind sharing where you found the rug? Looking for something similar. Love your taste and ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Looks great! I dislike formal dinning rooms. We are actually going to put a very nice pool table in ours. Love the chairs. And the bookcases are so AWESOME!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow!! completely different!!! I liked your dining room too.. But you have to do what works best for you and the way you live. Your new library looks amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I LOVE it. The bookcase is just want I want to do in my lounge one day. Thank you for the cool post. Those chairs rock. Mx

    ReplyDelete
  22. how about the accoridon side table from urban outfitters?

    http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=16337420&parentid=A_FURN_FURNITURE_TABLES#/


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that! I really want something more solid but that would be beautiful as well! I do want a round table for sure.

      Delete
  23. Looks great. So much more brighter and welcoming. :) Julie

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful! It would be my favorite room if I lived in your house! We're thinking of doing a similar transformation in our house. It's just the two of us (DINKs) and we never use the table in our breakfast room but we do love our dining room because it's not formal. I scored a great deal on a round table from Ballard's Outlet and we're almost finished with that room. We normally eat at the bar in the kitchen and hope to turn the breakfast room into a "keeping room". You've inspired me!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love it...and I am forever looking for ways to add space for books! I built bookcases in both my den and living room! My house does not have a true "formal" dining, and I thought that might be an issue...but I discovered that I do not miss it at all and I even place my expandable table against the wall of the dining area during the year...we primarily use the bar area... I only drag the table out and add the leaves once a year when I need it. If you find in the future you just HAVE to have a large serving table from time to time, you could always add a drop-leaf or expandable table (I've had both) in place of the little dresser...that would allow you to have one handy without taking up space. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I did the same as you, but years ago to my dining room. I changed mine over to a tea (China cabinet has a collection of tea pots) parlor, and a comfy zone on Sundays to sit, relax, read a book, chat. I use it during parties, as another buffet station. It's pretty open, and has a Queen Anne chair, over-sized single chair, and a chaise lounge. What a huge difference your makeover did for that space. Love it - very inviting.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It looks awesome, I think you were right to go with just 2 chairs, its perfect! I love how bright but cozy it looks! Love how the house is coming together for you all! I’m super jealous you went to Hawaii!! Glad you had fun!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Did I miss it? Where did you get the rug? It's beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a HomeGoods find from a couple years back. :)

      Delete
  29. Lovely! The chairs and the beautiful rug go so well together. I am a big fan of libraries/dens and wish the one I'm trying to put together would turn out as nicely as yours. I LOVE that you actually have books on your shelves too, not just "styling" them and wrecking books for decorations by ripping off their spines or uglyfing them with paper wrap or making wreaths out of them. Holy Cow! I feel things like that are a form of book massacre similar to Farenheit 451. I fully agree that 4 of those particular chairs would have been too much for the space; two is just right. I love the idea, though. I've seen rooms put together with four chairs grouped around a round table and it just makes me itch to put such a space together. But I don't have the space to put something like that together! You do need a table between the chairs to put down a glass or cup or - now here's a concept - a book! LOL! Great work. I find it an irresistable room and will see how much of it I can copy.

    ReplyDelete
  30. HI, ok stupid question, I am sure somewhere down the road you showed how to MAKE that shelving. I want to do that in our study!! Badly and would love to see how you did it. How approx the cost I am looking at. We are good DIYers ourselves and I am sure hubby could figure out something, but its awesome to have a starting point if you dont mind.

    dwtimes2blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I shared how we made them! I can't remember the exact cost since we did it over a six month span but I think I've determined it was between $650-$750 for all the materials. We used basic pine so it would be more if you used a nicer wood.

      Delete
    2. Oops, here's the link:
      http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-build-built-ins.html

      Delete
  31. Beautiful transformation. I could see myself sitting in here and enjoying a book.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It really looks amazing! What a beautiful transformation!
    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  33. Nice post! A good source of inspiration in tranforming a home. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Looks so pretty! Had a library in one of my houses. Loved it. It was a small room w/really no room for furniture so we had built in window seats under the two windows. Now I have three bookcases in the office/craft room. Have to have books!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I really like how your library turned out. We are having a house built and are repurposing our dining room too. It will be used as a study and chanting room. I could use your advice about paint color. We can choose one color for the trim/cabinets and one color for the walls throughout the house. I have been pinning mostly whites or light grays. The house is a craftsman style and we live in the Pacific Northwest. I am sure after we have lived in the house for a while we will repaint some of the rooms using different colors, but for now it's one for the trim and one for the walls. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I absolutely love how this room turned out! I could see myself using a cozy space like this! My dining room will stay as it is because we actually use it quite a bit. We host Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and we have a monthly dinner club with our neighbors so when it's our turn to host we fill up our home both the dining room and the kitchen. We even eat in the dining room when my in-laws come over for dinner which is about once a month so I really can't let go of my dining space. However, I saw a new home with a floor plan that had no dining room with a HUGE space for the kitchen table so it would be so easy to open up a table with leaves to host a large crew, plus kitchen island seating, I actually would prefer that setup because it's more casual -- which is so us. I'm not married to the formal piece at all...I just need the space because everyone seems to come to our house to eat! lol :) Great job on your makeover -- it's stunning!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I think it turned out awesome but just wanted to say that a tree stump table would be great between the chairs

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!