The Making of a Library – A Home Office Makeover
The third bedroom in my house is a tiny room that had only one saving grace…a nice big window that faces east. That east-facing window makes this room very bright in the morning…which is nice if you’re sitting in the room drinking your coffee, but not so good if you’re trying to sleep in. So, since I didn’t need a third bedroom, I decided to make the room into a library, perfect for drinking coffee in the morning while I’m working.
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money re-doing this room so most of the furnishings, lamps and accessories were things I already owned.
Click next to see the room before I started my home office makeover.
The “Before” Bedroom
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The room before was a small room with carpet on the floor, a big fan in the middle of the ceiling and a large window…the one good thing about the room.
Despite its small size, I wanted this room to be multi-functional:
1. act as a home office but not have office “clutter” everywhere,
2. be a library where I can store and read my decorating books
3. be a cozy place to watch TV
4. and still have room to set up the buffet tables for parties
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you also know that the beige had to go (I’m just not a beige person)…I am also not a big fan of carpet (with as many pets as I have, keeping carpet clean is just too much work!)
Sneak Peek of the “After” Library / Home Office
I love my new library / home office! It’s cozy and comfortable, very functional and glam all at the same time. And I think it feels bigger than the original all-beige version of the room did.
Step 1: Build Bookshelves Around the Closet
Since I wanted this room to be a library, the first order of business was to add a bookshelves. And I wanted it to cover the whole wall. The only problem was that there was only one full wall in the room, and I wanted to use that one for the sofa.
So I decided that I would have to build the book shelf around the closet. It’s basically 2 book shelves that fill up the wall space on either side of the closet doors and then a shelf across the top.
The final step was to move the closet doors out so that they lined up with the edge of the bookshelves…which ended up making the closet bigger…a win, win situation if you ask me!
Step 2: Paint the Room Black
I have always like the look of dark paneled libraries. To me, they feel very warm and cozy. I didn’t really want to do it in wood, so I decided to paint the room high gloss black. The color I went with is Valspar’s Dark Kettle Black (from Lowes). It has a bit of a purple undertone but is a dark black on the wall. The gloss allows some light to be reflected which adds some shine to the room.
Step 3: Add Panels With Wallpaper
To get the paneled look, I used small mouldings to create panels on the walls. There is one row of panels on the top of the wall and one row of panels on the bottom half of the wall. In the top panels, I hung wallpaper that has a reflective gold pattern on it.
This pattern is called Geo Teardrop from York Wallcovering’s Opulence pattern book. And I think Opulent is the right term for it!
Step 4: Replace the Floors
Since I have cats and dogs, carpet is not my friend. It is way too hard to keep clean with all of those animals running around! I replaced the carpet with engineered hardwood which can be glued down directly over my concrete slab.
Step 5: Add Curtains
These curtains are actually made from upholstery fabric (which is a little hard to work with when it comes to curtains!), but I loved the gold and black pattern. My mother did the sewing (as usual) and created a valance which is layers of fabric going horizontally, as well as 2 wide panels for the sides.
We installed the valance on a board that is attached to the ceiling (hanging curtains at the ceiling makes the walls and window look taller). Then we hung a curtain rod all the way across the wall. When the panels are pulled open they cover the walls on either side of the window which lets in the most amount of light and makes the window look even larger.
Step 6: Install Lighting
I think every room deserves a chandelier and my library / home office is no different! Since the ceiling is only 8 feet high, I had to go with one that was close to the ceiling. This one fit the bill perfectly!
This wine decanter set was a wedding present to my parents. The colors go with my library perfectly, so to make sure it stood out in the room, I installed an accent light over it. It has it’s own switch with a dimmer which gives me control over when the accent light is turned on and how bright to make it.
Step 8: Add a Desk
A library / home office wouldn’t be complete without a desk to work at. I fell in love with this one from ZGallerie.com, and decided I had to have it for my library. It’s actually the only furniture purchase I made for this room, so I splurged! And it works perfectly for my space.
Step 7: Create Office Storage
Since the room needed to double-duty as an office and a library, I needed space for storing office accessories (pencils, paper, printer, files, etc.). For these I did 2 DIY projects to re-cycle items that I already owned.
The first was an old TV armoire that I turned into my office central…it holds the printer, stapler, pencils and pens, charging station and all of the other home office necessities. And I can close the doors when I no longer want to see the mess! You can see the step-by-step instructions for how to create this space here.
The second was a DIY filing cabinet that I made out of a closet organizer to go with the desk. It’s on wheels and fits under the desk (or anywhere else I want to roll it). The instructions for how to put this filing cabinet together can be found here.
Step 8: Reuse Seating
I re-used a black velvet settee that used to be in the bonus room. It fits perfectly in this space…doesn’t take up too much floor space and is exactly the right length to still allow side tables.
I have found that these low-backed settees are more comfortable if you add a couple of pillows at the back for support.
Step 9: Add Accessories
The final touch was to add some accessories. I love this decanter set from my parents, and the gold obviously fits in with the room and the wine colored glass picks up the background color of the wallpaper.
I have always wanted a globe in my office…it reminds me of the traveling I have done…and all that I still want to do! This stylish version from ZGallerie fits perfectly with the desk.
Music has always been a big part of my life, so these music-related wall sculptures were the perfect addition to this room.
Step 10: Update the Ceiling
Okay…this normally would be one of the first steps of my makeover and not the last…except that I didn’t realize I wanted to do something with the ceiling until after I had finished the rest of the room.
First this room has popcorn ceilings which I really dislike. And second, it was painted a light blue color that really didn’t fit with the rest of the room.
My initial thought was to do faux tin ceiling tiles painted gold. But then I used the Sherin Williams Color Snap Visualizer app to see what it would look like.and decided to go with black.
Want to learn how to install faux tin ceiling tiles? Click here to see our post.
The gold attracted so much attention that it took away from the walls which I wanted to be the focal point.
The black also makes the ceiling and walls look like one big area which de-emphasizes the small size of the room. I also was’t that concerned that it would make the room too dark, since there is a lot of light in this room.
I added a Lace Ceiling Medallion around the chandelier that really makes it look dramatic.
Want to see how to make your own lace ceiling medallion? Click here to open the post.
The Finished Room
My library / home office makeover is finally complete! The desk area is the main focus of the room. This is what you see from the door.
Building the bookshelves over and around the closet gives me lots of space to store my books without taking up wall space that could be used for something else.
The chandelier with the gold lace medallion and faux tin ceiling add drama to the space. And the whole area works perfectly as my office / library.
** Update: I have made some changes to this room…if you’re interested, you can see them HERE.
Comments or questions on the Making of a Library (my Home Office Makeover)? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on January 18, 2016 but was updated with new content on February 15, 2021.
Where is the chandelier from please ? Thank you!
Hi Melissa…I ordered the chandelier from wayfair.com. You can find it HERE.
I just stumbled onto your blog and all I can say is Holy **** you are amazing. I just joined your weekly news letter and I am so excited to follow along. My adult daughter and her husband are currently living with us while their new home is being built. It is estimated to be completed in August and we are busting at the seams. Look out August 2020 this old little brick ranch home in Denver, Colorado is getting a new facelift.
Thanks, Chrissy! It sounds like you have a full house! I think updating your decor would be a great way to start fresh when your daughter has moved to her new house. That way you both can have homes that look new 🙂
It was a great thing to splurge on – totally worth it! 🙂
I found your blog through Hometalk. I adore what you have done with this home office/study/library. It is absolutely stunning. I checked the link on that gorgeous desk and almost died at the price! lol But it fits perfectly.
I’ve signed up to your email list because what I see here is so inspirational. Off to check some of your other posts now 🙂
Thanks, Brenda! That desk was definitely a splurge…the most expensive piece of furniture in my house 🙂 I kept looking around to see if I could find something just as good that cost less (or that I could make), and just couldn’t find anything that I liked as much. So I finally decided to go for it…and I do really love it! That means lots of inexpensive DIY projects for the next little while 🙂 Thanks for signing up!
Love what you did tho I am terribly afraid to paint the walls black. I do have small 3rd bedroom and will be using it for my craft room for now. What my plans are is to move the kit and kaboodle up to the third floor. I am letting a mom and her son use the space to get back on her feet so as to be able to have her own apt. But the wheels are turning. There are two rooms up there, a bedroom with a door and an open large room. House is from 1910. Ta da. It is a combo of our growing up years in East Cleveland and our grandparents house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. My sister stopped over the other afternoon and said oh my gosh, it is like home. I showed her the kitchen door leading to out side and the basement complete with milk door. She cried and said thank you for loving our houses and parents and grandparents like you do. When I saw this house there was another couple with a darling little girl looking at same time. I went into hat is now my room and called my agent. I said it is mine. 2 months later my son and I moved in with our new goofy lovable puppy, our 8 year old cat and my nephew came to stay for a while. Home. I love it. I am 61 and so want to be here for a long time. All the walls are brown, save the kitchen and bath which are yellow. None of which I lie. But taking my time to see what I do like. i like your blog because you never fail to inspire. I thank you.
Hi Jody…Painting the walls black certainly isn’t for everyone (or every room). It sounds like you have a wonderful old home! I think you are wise to take your time to decide what you want and then decorate it the way you like it. I’m glad I can provide some inspiration 🙂