Black And Gold Small Home Office Library

A few years ago I converted a guest bedroom into a small home office library and painted it black with gold accents. After all this time, it’s still one of my favorite rooms in the house. So I’m sharing all my ideas for getting that cozy library feeling in a small space.

how to create a small home office library

The third bedroom in my house is a tiny room that only has 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 a coffee.

But not so good if you’re trying to sleep in.  

Since I don’t need a third bedroom, but I’ve always wanted a home library with a desk, I decided to make the room into a small but cozy home office library.

The “Before” Bedroom

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Guest bedroom "before"

Here’s the room before (sorry for the really bad picture).

It was all beige with no architectural interest whatsoever, and a big fan in the middle of the ceiling. Definitely not the classic library ambiance.

And as you can see, it’s quite small, about 10′ x 10′.

1 | Choose the right black paint color

valspar "dark kettle black"

I have always liked the look of dark paneled libraries. To me, they feel very warm and cozy.

And I decided to go as dark as it gets. Black.

To be specific, Valspar’s Dark Kettle Black* in a semi-gloss finish.

Which is a rich color that has purple undertones but looks dark black on the wall. With a little bit of shine to help bounce some light around the room.

Now, I know you might be thinking…doesn’t painting a small room a dark color make it look even smaller?

Actually, no. Not if you paint the walls and ceiling the same color so you don’t really see the change from walls to ceiling. Combined with the dark color, that makes the walls look like they are receding.

Just make sure you have enough light in the room to keep it from feeling like a cave.

2 | Upgrade the ceiling

Ceiling covered in black faux tin ceiling tiles with a chandelier in the middle

I love decorated ceilings. Especially in small rooms that don’t take long to do and make an impact without being too overwhelming.

Since this room has a popcorn ceiling, I decided that covering it with faux tin ceiling tiles would be the way to go.

That way I don’t have to see the popcorn and the faux tin adds some architectural interest to my otherwise boring room.

For more details, read how to install styrofoam ceiling tiles.

3 | Add floor to ceiling bookcases

floor to ceiling built-in bookcases in a black home office library

The next thing I needed were some bookcases. It wouldn’t be a library without them.  

And I wanted them to cover the whole wall.

To make the best use of space in the room, I decided to create a built-in floor to ceiling bookshelf around the closet.

It’s a wall that wouldn’t really be useful for any other purpose so it’s a great use of space in a small room.

That gives me 2 large bookcases on either side of the closet and one shelf across the top of the doors. Lots of room for books!

You could also use store-bought bookshelves. But it’s hard to find ones that are tall enough to go all the way to the ceiling. And I think the extra height really adds to the library vibe.

built-in bookcases around a closet

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!

Update: I eventually ended up converting the folding doors into barn doors so I could get easy access to the whole closet. And I like them even better!

4 | Install crown moldings and baseboards

Crown molding painted black to match the walls and ceiling

To make the bookcases look like they have always been there, and give the room a more polished look, I installed crown molding around the top of the walls and bookshelves.

And did the same with the baseboards at the bottom of the walls and shelves.


If you are planning to install baseboards around the bottom of your bookcases, make sure the bottom shelf is at the same height as the top of the baseboards.

That way you have something to attach the baseboards to, and it will give the shelves a finished look.

5 | Add wall panels

Gold wallpaper panels outlined by picture moulding on a black wall

When I think of warm and cozy library rooms, I always think of paneled walls.

But I didn’t want the expense of real wood panels.

So I installed small picture moldings to create the look of them.

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 helps to bounce more light around the room.

The pattern is called Geo Teardrop from York Wallcovering’s Opulence pattern book.  And I think Opulent is the right term for it!

6 | Find a desk

Flight desk from

Of course, a home office library wouldn’t be complete without a desk to work at.

I fell in love with this one from (no longer available), and decided I had to have it for my library.  

A gold antique chair in front of a modern black and silver desk

It’s actually the only furniture purchase I made for this room, so I splurged!  

And it’s still one of my favorite pieces of furniture.

7 | Install lighting

Chandelier hung on a black ceiling with a gold DIY lace ceiling medallion around it

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!

I added a DIY ceiling medallion around the chandelier that really makes it look dramatic.

Get the step-by-step instructions for making the DIY lace ceiling medallion.

Pendant light hung in the corner over a pedestal with a decanter and glasses on it

Because the room is small, it doesn’t have a lot of room for table lamps.

So I decided to have a hardwired pendant light installed in the corner.

It has it’s own switch with a dimmer which gives me control over when it is turned on and how bright to make it.

8 | Create a reading nook

Black velvet loveseat in a black and gold home library

Every library needs a place to sit and read a book.

It should have a comfortable place to sit, a reading lamp and a table to put down a drink.

I wanted to bring the black velvet loveseat down from my bonus room. So my placement options were limited since it only fits on one wall.

However, it doesn’t take up too much floor space and is exactly the right length to allow 2 side tables and a reading lamp.

Normally, though, I would use a chair in a small room like this since it gives you more layout options.

If you need help with the furniture arrangement, take a look at the different home office library layouts I came up with for this room.

9 | Hang curtains

black and gold striped curtains in a dark home office library with a black ceiling and gold wallpaper panels

In small rooms, I like to hang the curtains right at the ceiling and all the way across the wall (not just covering the window).

That makes the walls look taller and the window look bigger.

It also means when the curtains are open, they are covering wall space rather than window. So you can let as much natural light into the room as possible.

Close up of black and gold striped curtains with a pendant light in front

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 vertical panels for the sides.

10 | Put down an area rug

Cozy black velvet loveseat and a plush area rug with a big blue flower on it

Adding an area rug feels warm and cozy under foot.

And ties the whole room together.

11 | Add office storage

Printer, paper, electronics and notebook storage with puck lights overhead

Since the room needed to double-duty as an office and a library, I needed space for storing office accessories.  

The expanded closet really came in handy for the bigger things like the printer. Adding some puck lights above them makes everything easy to see.

DIY filing cabinet in matte silver and black

I also made a DIY filing cabinet out of an old closet organizer to go with the desk.

It’s on wheels and fits under the desk (or anywhere else I want to roll it).  

To find out more, read how to make an industrial DIY filing cabinet.

12 | Finish with Accessories

The final touch was to add some accessories.

In my library, I wanted to use things that have memories or meaning attached to them. It makes the space feel warmer.

A corner of the home office library with a black velvet sofa, leopard throw, black globe and gold wine glass set

On the pedestal is a decanter set my parents got for a wedding gift. The gold obviously fits in with the room decor and the wine colored glass picks up the background color of the wallpaper.

The globe reminds me of the traveling I have done (and all that I still want to do!)

Black and gold wall with music wall sculptures over a black velvet loveseat

Music has always been a big part of my life, so these music-related wall sculptures were the perfect addition to this room.

The Finished Room

Modern desk with antique chair, and black globe in a home office library

Now that my home office is finished, I have a great desk to do some work.

A loveseat with a leopard print throw beside the built-in bookcases in a small home office library

And a very comfortable reading area. (This is what you see from the door)

Wall to wall bookshelves in a home office library

The bookshelves give me lots of space to store my books on a wall that couldn’t really be used for anything else.

And the closet space gives me lots of room for storing office supplies that’s convenient but out of the way.

So the whole area works perfectly as my home office library.

Other home library ideas you might like

Have comments or questions on how to create a small home office library?  Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on January 18, 2016 but was updated with new content on April 2, 2024.

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  1. I love this! Its not my style at all, or I never thought it could be but Wow, the look and especially the ambiance and detail is great. I’d never leave that room.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Kudzai! I love this room, too 🙂

  2. Where is the chandelier from please ? Thank you!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Melissa…I ordered the chandelier from You can find it HERE.

  3. Chrissy Antikainen says:

    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.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      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 🙂

  4. It was a great thing to splurge on – totally worth it! 🙂

  5. Hi Wanda
    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 🙂

    1. 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!

  6. 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.

    1. 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 🙂