Having a hard time deciding what to do with that awkward, sometimes wasted space that is your upstairs landing? It’s usually too big to just be a hallway area, but sometimes not big enough to be considered a full size “room”. Well, for us, it became a natural gathering spot for bedtime stories when our three kids were little. So we added a large bookshelf for all of their children’s books and eventually added an over sized comfy chair and a reading nook was created! Well, this winter, I gave the space an overhaul using items I already had and created a full fledged home library. I’m so excited to share the details of my loft re-do with you!
The Bones of a Home Library:
Of course, if you’re going to have a home library you need lots of bookshelves! Lucky for me I already had some in my bedroom that I was willing to relocate. The wood color or style of the newly added bookshelves doesn’t match the existing ones, but that’s okay – it gives the space a “collected over time” look. Well, I guess it really is anyway. Once I had the bookshelves in place it was time to add the books – my favorite part!
Books, Books, and More Books
The gathering of books from around the house began. It was so much fun! I got to see books that I had forgotten we had. Some books I have not read – yet;) And so many favorites that I want to read again. It was fun organizing the books the way I wanted to, some librarians would probably not be happy with me, but, hey, it’s my library! I didn’t want to fill up all of the space on the shelves, so I left some books in their current location; besides, I want to leave room for expansion and adding to my collection.
In case you couldn’t tell, I love books! I love to read (although I’m not the fastest reader) and I wish I had way more time to read all of the books on my Goodreads list (I also wish that I wouldn’t fall asleep after reading only 2.2 pages at bedtime.) I love to buy books, to own books, with the intention of reading them all, but knowing realistically that that will probably never happen. Believe it or not,I still have many of the books from my days at UVA, pledging when I graduated that I would read them one day (did anyone ever finish all of that required reading in class?!) I even love the way books smell. Anyone else? My kids think it’s weird, but there’s just something about the way books smell that makes me happy.
A Comfy Chair
What better place to snuggle up with a good book than a comfy chair in your home library space. I moved the existing chair to my work space and replaced it with a leather club chair and ottoman from our formal living room. It was never really used much in there anyway. I added a pillow and a throw blanket for extra coziness. All reading nooks need adequate lighting. This floor lamp was already here and serves it purpose – for now. I would to eventually get a new one with a little more character. Now, all I needed was a small side table for my mug of coffee. I pulled this one from the family room, again it was getting much use there and has not been missed. Perfect little reading nook.
I decorated the space with a few vintage pieces to give it that old library or bookshop feel. Beside one of the bookshelves, I added my daddy’s old suitcase – I love the sense of adventure it adds. Along the railing overlooking the foyer, I have a long handmade bench that we inherited from my husband’s side of the family. It’s perfect for stacking library books, magazines, or blankets. Also from my husband’s family is this adorable antique children’s desk. Our kids loved using it when they played “school”. Two globes are perched on top of the long wall of bookshelves. I’m still searching for a third one to fit in and complete the vignette. I feel like they are calling out, “choose a book and see where it will take you.”
My favorite decorative accents are the handmade quilts that I draped over the railings. One was made by my grandmother and the other was made by my husband’s great-grandmother. I love the sense of warmth and family that they add to the area. The patchwork patterns are a great way to add to add color and texture to the area since there’s not a lot of furniture or open wall space.
Lots of libraries display various pieces of art, my home library is no different. I rehung a couple of framed architectural prints that had been in storage for a while.
I printed a couple of my favorite “book” quotes and framed them using frames that I already had. Easy peasy.
So then, there’s the original “gallery wall” of my children’s portraits – most of which are 10×13 prints from Sears! And yes, they really are still hanging on the wall! Time for a re-do don’t you think?! I think I would like to add a framed map or two, but that’s a project in itself.
The Finished Space:
My Home Library
I must say that I love my new space! I love relaxing in my comfy cozy chair with a good book and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I just sit and look at the books on the shelves and think about which ones I want to read next or which books I would like to add to my collection. I should also add that it’s a great place to take a little nap, and I think my husband would agree.
My dream is that one day I’ll walk into our home library and find my children perusing the volumes on the shelves…selecting their next book for their literary journey. HaHa! I did say dream! My children do not like to read “for fun” because of all the required reading for school and they do not have the time to, but maybe one day…a mama can always dream.
How will you utilize the space in your loft or upstairs landing area?