Friday, November 13, 2009

Built-In Shelving - Converting the Living Room to a Library!

I've been teasing you all for weeks, and the time is finally here to reveal our latest project!!

About 4 weeks ago, Scott and I started our latest home renovation project: Built Ins! We have a "Formal Living Room" in the front of our house that, until now, has been completely useless. We don't have "formal" furniture (nor would I want such a ridiculous offense to those of you who do) and we spend most of our time in the Family Room anyway.

Here are a couple pictures taken when the previous family was still in our house. The first one is kinda dark, and the second one is kinda small, but between the two you can get an idea.

So that is the "Way Before" picture. The first thing Scott and I did in this room was to paint it the same color as our Dining Room.


As you can see, our choice of furniture was lacking. So 4 weeks ago, Scott and I finally decided to do something about this room. We went to Lowe's and bought these:

They are the basic, unfinished wall cabinets for the kitchen. They were on sale 15% off that day, so we got them for under $100 a piece.

Scott cut the carpet to the width of the cabinets, then built a platform to raise them up just a bit. Installing these was the easy part.

Next, we needed a counter top. We used 3/8" plywood and glued it down. Scott gathered every heavy thing he could find in the house to weight it down and make it glue flat. LOL.

This completed the cabinet portion of our built-ins. Next up: Bookshelves! Scott pre-built the bookshelves using the same type of plywood as we used for the counter. Then he nailed them to the wall.

He added trim to make the bookshelves looks bulkier.

With both bookshelves installed, we removed the cabinet doors and started sanding everything down in preparation for prime and paint. We also filled the nail holes with wood-putty.

Next, we primed and painted everything!

We saved the cabinet doors for last. Scott JUST finished them 2 nights ago, and we put them on last night. And finally, I was able to decorate!! So here we are, the big reveal.

Before: Useless Room

After: Beautiful Library!

 We bought the leather chairs at World Market for $199 a piece. Not too bad!

I found these very cool magazine holders at West Elm, on sale for $12.99 a piece.

I also found this very awesome vase at West Elm for $29.99 and the filling was $6.99.

 I sorted my books by color:

And here are just a couple more random pics:

There is still so much more we want to do in this room: crown molding, hardwood floors, recessed lighting, a new ottoman, etc. But if I made you all wait until we were completely done, you might never see it!

Linking this post to A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day.


  1. I love it! I feel lazy now for picking up my bookshelves at Ikea.

    It really came out great. Everyone house needs a library, IMO.

  2. Looks really nice, Blakelyn! A great place to sit and read!

  3. That looks great! What a great idea and you both did a beautiful job.

  4. You guys did great! I always love a built-in and you accessorized it so lovely.

  5. BEAUTIFUL! I love it! Those chairs are awesome! You definitely have an amazing eye. :) Looks great! Your husband seems to be very handy with those shelves. My dad's really good with stuff like that too...but he doesn't do it very much because he doesn't really like it. ^_^

    Anyways...AMAZING facelift! Looks very comfortable too. :)

  6. What a great idea! you & your hubby are so talented! Beautiful =D

  7. whoa! it looks fabulous! Looks like a lot of work, but worth it!

  8. What beautiful cabinets! I love that you used store-bought cabinets for the bottom...saves a lot of work! If I ever have a formal living room, this is what I want to do too. I've always wanted a library.

  9. Well, those shelves are gorgeous and you all are quite handy people! Well done.

  10. That looks so great. Now kick back and read in your new library...You deserve it!

  11. Great job--I have a party every week- Its So Very Creative (mondays)--would love to have you be an inspiration to other gals.

    A new follower

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. I would love to kidnap this room, move it on one of those super-wide-load trailers, and plop it into my house. *covets* This is what the kind of look I'm after for a library! :D

  14. Love the photos from start to finish. Looks amazing!