Sep 22, 2017

Living Room Bookshelves: Phase 1

As part of our playroom reorganization project, we have new living room bookshelves!

Let me back up for a minute though. In the living room Mike and I always talked about doing real built-in bookshelves on the back wall facing the playroom, just like we did in the nursery, but realistically we have never had the time. We thought we HAD to do custom built-ins because our old house is full or wonky sloping walls and funky angles. All stock bookcases are too wide to fit between the door frame and the walls, so we thought that it would never work.

Then with the playroom redo we wanted to put a bookshelf in the playroom. I realized I didn’t want to buy a new bookshelf for this heavy-use space when we could use one we already had. I briefly considered bringing up the third brown bookshelf from the basement (they were actually a set of 3), but it’s really useful in our basement and loaded with books and supplies. It slowly dawned on us that we should just replace the living room bookshelves with new white ones. Yes they would be too wide for the doorframe, but so were the current brown ones. And then one brown bookshelf could go into the playroom and the other one could go downstairs to provide even more storage space (they are the perfect height for the low ceilings down there). And once IKEA’s new summer catalog came out with reduced prices on their already well-priced Billy bookcase system, that just cinched it for us.

We bought 2 white bookshelves with height extenders and four half doors, one for each side. The doors ended up being a bit of a splurge (compared to the cost of the bookshelves) but I think it’s totally worth it. It makes the whole thing look so nice with the doors on them - it doesn’t look or feel like IKEA anymore. And the ability to hide away the clutter of blankets, games, electronics, etc. is THE BEST. We added faux-Anthropologie style knobs from Target in gray and antique bronze to dress the doors up further. We added four inexpensive LED lights and I am completely and totally in love.

We toyed with the idea of painting the back of the bookcase the same gray as the walls (Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray), but in the end after living with the dark brown here for 7 years, I wanted light, bright white-on-white-on-white. It makes such a huge difference! The room feels so much lighter and brighter now. I hadn’t realize how dark those bookshelves made this end of the room.

I’m not sure if we’ll keep the slipper chair here or not, but I like having a place to sit in this location. It’s adjacent to the playroom, the boys playtime spills out into this part of the living room a lot and it’s also in a direct visual line with the dining room. We sit here a lot and so do guests. I do think the floor lamp is going to be relocated, but I’m giving myself time to think it over. Right now both fit between the bookshelf and the radiator cover and I can still open the doors all the way, but it feels a little crowded.

Also... I titled this post “Phase 1” because this is only the first half of the project. Phase 2 will be the cross bookshelf piece over the playroom doors to finish the look and provide additional storage, using the narrow billy bookcase, heavy-duty brackets, some crown molding at the top and a little customization. We’ve purchased all of the pieces, but we expect this to be a little labor intensive (compared to just putting together basic IKEA shelving), so we’re holding off until after we get our time-sensitive seasonal projects finished outside.

I’m really excited about this - it already looks so good and I know it’s going to look even better when it’s all done.

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