The Library Is Complete! (for Real This Time)

January 11, 2016

A tour of our dining room turned library!

I'm continuing my no spend month by finishing up a project I started last month in the dining room-turned-library. If you are new around these parts, years ago (actually four years ago to the day almost exactly) I decided to change our rarely used dining room into a library

It's morphed into a really functional and cozy space over time and we love it! This been one of my longest transformations ever though -- now that this latest project is done I think I'm officially calling this room done. For real! (I've said that before but I mean it this time.) 

I shared the new beaded light fixture, that I think is perfect for this space, back in November: 
Beaded chandelier
There were two more things I had been wanting to address for some time, but I was waiting for the time and a sale. :) 

First up, the rug in the space was lovely, but I felt like it was too small for the room. The big chairs dwarfed it. And the dog had destroyed it years ago (thankfully most of it was hidden by the chairs but not all). Here's a better look at the size of the old rug: 
Wall of bookcases

So when black Friday came around I watched for the annual sale Rugs USA has -- they do a few great sales throughout the year that are around 70 percent off. The black Friday sale is 80 percent which is a killer deal. 

I found this one, called the Treasures Vintage Abstract Rug and loved it: 

I thought the colors would work really well with the gray-blue chairs and accents. 

I got a huge rug (mine is 8x11) for about $180. Incredible! Watch for these sales if you need one -- I've gotten a couple rugs from them and have been happy both times. It completely changed the feel of the space! It's funny but a bigger rug makes the room feel so much larger. I think a tiny rug draws your eye in and makes it feel smaller. Or something. I have no idea. :)

Next up was to take down the drapes I've had in the room. I love the fabric but they were too short (I try to hang the curtains higher) and the color and pattern was too much with the built ins. I took them down and was left with my last trim-less window on the main floor of our house. 

I've slowly but surely been adding some thick trim to our windows and I LOVE the look. I go into detail on how I do it here, but here's an idea of the trim I use: 
DIY craftsman trim

I've done this so many times that it's become a fairly simple and quick project for me. This one was NOT. I installed the trim back in December and the whole thing was a major pain in the butt. Everything that could go wrong did -- numerous holes in the wall, drywall peeled off, I found mold on the drywall near the window, measured trim wrong over and over…literally the most annoying project I've done in a long time. Fun times!

A project that usually takes me two hours at the most took five. GoodNESS. I was so fed up with it I put off the painting and just got to it this weekend. Thankfully it looks really beautiful, as always -- other than some drywall fixes I'm not touching it again!: 
Adding thick trim around windows

Just like with our front living room windows (actually most of our main floor windows) I'm leaving these without window treatments, at least for now. The trim is so pretty I hate to hide it. And with all of the items on the built ins I think a simpler look is needed in here. Who knows, I may add treatments again later, but I doubt it. :) 

With the rug the trim finished up, I can really, officially call this room DONE. I mean it this time! Whoot!:
Beaded chandelier World Market

Told you I was finishing things this year! :) Because I'm so happy and we love this room so much, here's some more COMPLETED photos. Did I mention I'm done?: 
Bookcases with lights

I know it looks like I pose Peanut, but I don't. Sweet baby dog. He HATES the cold so the sweater is a must when he goes out. 

The animals love to get their pictures taken (on their terms of course): 
Wall of DIY built in bookcases

The chandelier and rug finish up this room so beautifully! 

I've worked so hard on this space over the years and I am so thrilled with this transformation!: 
Getting rid of the dining room

If you missed how I made the bookcases, you can see a full post about those (with more links) here. I used kitchen cabinets as bases. Because I wanted to keep floor space in here, I used upper cabinets (they are only 12 inches deep) and beefed them up a bit. 

IKEA butcher block sits on top of those and my Dad and I built the bookcases on top: 
Built ins made with kitchen cabinets

The storage space is incredible!

The only small thing I may still do in here is add some more crown along the header:
vintage look rug blue gray
The builder installed it on the columns and I added in in the room years ago. I stopped it on that wall because I don't know how to cope crown -- (meet up the the crown on the columns and around the room). Eventually I'd like to finish that up, but I'm not worrying about it any time soon. 

The before and afters of this space are some of my favorites! I loved playing around with dramatic ideas in this room back in the day. Man, I loved that gold ceiling!:

I know many of you have been with me since these days! I'm heading into my ninth year of blogging in a few months -- crazy!

Then I went even more dramatic with a dark brown. Everywhere. Literally, everywhere: 

Told you. When we got the hardwoods installed the room was brown on every surface.

Now? It's a much brighter, prettier, more functional and useful space for us:
DIY bookcase built ins

We love it! I love curling up on those chairs (they are so roomy) with a book. I do it often -- we use this room almost daily -- WAY more than we did as a dining room.

I know many of you have considered doing the same with your dining spaces. Since we have a large kitchen table we just don't need the dining area and I hated not using so much of our home.  This has been a great solution for us! If I've said it once I've said it a million times -- make your home work for how you use it, not what it's "supposed" to be.
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  1. Gorgeous! Love this space. So inviting. Great job!

  2. I love it! My dream is to have my own private library with a window seat to curl up, read and nap.

  3. You're done! It came out beautifully and that chandelier is perfect for the space! I love the amount of light you get in there. I am sure you are enjoying the room and it looks like Peanut is too!

  4. I love the library! What a great use of space. The bookshelves and lights over them look great! We converted our dining room into a music room where we have our guitars on the wall and added 4 chairs and a coffee table for impromptu jam sessions. We love it, and it gets much more use than the dining room ever did.

  5. Wow!!! Sarah, it looks amazing. Pinning:)

  6. We are purchasing an older ranch home that has a living room/dining room combo. The DR has built ins similar to yours. We love your library, so we plan on using our DR as a library and moving the kitchen table into the DR for holidays and adding the leaf to the table when necessary. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. YES!! I love at home library cute and comfy. We don't have room for a library space in our current house because it's so small but I am working on a little cozy corner space for me to curl up and read my books in. But one day when we purchase a house I am totally going to have a space like this! Gorgeous!

    -Ashlee Michelle

  8. Beautiful!! I dream of one day having a home with a library/study in it.

  9. Love this room! Can I fly out for coffee? Lol

  10. What a good idea! I love how the storage and bookshelves fit in the space. It looks so cozy! Thanks for sharing!

  11. It's absolutely stunning! So beautiful! So perfect grabbing your laptop and spending an afternoon blogging. Or reading a good book on a Sunday. I need a room like this!


  12. You always have amazing posts but this one has always been my favorite. We are planing built ins in our new house and I keep coming back to yours for inspiration. Yay for being done! :)

  13. Lovely! Congrats on finishing the space! I have wondered several times when reading your posts about this room if the two chairs facing each other would work. Perhaps with the ottoman in between for sharing as a foot rest?

    1. Thank you! I may try it -- I just don't love the backs of chairs facing into other spaces so I think that would bother me. I'll have to see!

  14. Wow what a beautiful room! You did an amazing job!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  15. You so beautifully transformed this room into a most functional and cozy room. Can't imagine sitting in the room enveloped with such wonderful details and beauty. Amazing, amazing job!

  16. Wow - that's a huge improvement. Bravo! The only thing it needs is... MORE BOOKS! ;) I always laugh in an envious way at people with decorated and cooridnated book shelf adornments, because my book shelves are so crammed with books that they are about to topple over! I wish I had a dining room so that I could make a change like this, but I have one of those new homes with the open concept living room/dining room/kitchen, so only one place to eat.

  17. We too have a dining room that we don't use for dining. But it is such a wasted and random space. We use it as a den-type area, but I hate it for that too. I like your idea much better! We have an upright piano, a lawyer's book shelf and a large desk. (Like I said--random.) Thanks for your ideas!

  18. First time visiting your blog, but I had to tell you this looks GREAT! I love the creativity of turning a traditionally designated room into something else entirely (especially if you aren't using it in its original form). Why not?!


  19. I love the room transformation!! I tried looking but couldn't find what color paint you used on the back of the bookcases, can you share? Thanks

    1. Thank you! That one is called Storm Cloud by Sherwin Williams.

  20. I bought an 8'x11' rug from Rugs USA on Black Friday! Those sale prices were ah-mazing! The room looks great!

  21. Wow, I think this is one of my favorite spaces in your home (besides the kitchen). Looks so great with the finishing touches and that beaded chandelier is one of my favorite looks!

    Great work!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  22. First of all Sarah, please ignore "anonymous, the troll's" comment about your sweet pupper.

    I've followed your blog almost from the beginning. Tonight I looked up some of your 2008 DIY's like your MB tub surround...the molding and the
    tiling. Gorgeous! All of your dining room incarnations, especially the very sophisticated dark brown, I loved. However, I understand it was more a beautiful showpiece rather than a functional room in your home. Love, love, love the transformation to the cozy, useful, lovely space its become. Noticed the new rug and love it. I've been searching for a large rug like that one for our newly redecorated, not quite completed, MB. Sarah, congratulations on your nine years of blogging. I hope you'll continue into infinity since yours is one of the very best DIY blogs to be seen, and your taste is exquisite to my mind. Best wishes for 2016 to you and yours.

  23. Hi!
    I was wondering what size trim you use for the crown? Maybe a closer pic? We have 8 foot ceilings and I'm wanting to do crown but I worry it will make them look shorter…advice? I adore your blog and have tried (copied?) multiple ideas and love them all! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  24. Gorgeous!!! I love Rugs USA - ordered a few rugs from them when I bought my house and I adore them!! The prices can't be beat during one of their sales!!

  25. Hi Sarah! What is the name of the pretty blue paint color you used in the backs of your book cases? Thank you!

  26. Great Inspiration!I used your bookcase as inspiration to create my own masterpiece. Wish i could attach a Pic.


  27. Replies
    1. World Market, but I don't think they sell them anymore. :(


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!