Creating a Library in the Living Room
Creating a library in the living room has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our home.
I know it’s not for everyone. But I thought I would share our experience in case you’re thinking about trying out it too!
Several years ago, we made the bold decision to take the tv out of the living room. I use the word bold because everyone thought we were crazy at the time.
“How are you going to watch movies on hot summer nights?”
“What about the game on Sunday afternoons?”
“Don’t forget you need to watch the news during hurricane season!”… I could go on and on.
Creating a Library in the Living Room: Our Inspiration…
Truth be told, we don’t watch a lot of tv anyway.
At the time we were working on a home office makeover and once we started shopping the house and moving furniture from one room to another, we realized the media cabinet that held the tv in the living room could serve us so much better in the office.
That small shift solved a big problem for us in the office. But it created a big gap in the living room.
Since I had already been dreaming of creating a library in the living room for a few years, I jumped at the chance to change things up.
Before I got started though, I literally stood in the middle of the room and asked myself these four simple questions…
- Is this space fully functional?
- Does it meet our current needs?
- Does it fit our style?
- What can we do to tweak things and make them better?
After these questions had been asked and answered, I got a game plan together with a few transitional pieces we already had on hand.
Don’t get me wrong, it took some trial and error over the years, you’ll see evidence of that below.
But I’m happy to report it’s been over 5 years now and we’ve never regretted creating a library in the living room.
Here’s a look back at how we created a library in the living room and took a phased approach to the transition…
My Dad made these bookcases for my office several years ago and they are among my most prized possessions.
He’s in his early 70s now and while he says he still feels quite spry, I know his DIY days are slowly coming to an end.
At the time, I only needed 2 bookcases. But I would love to have at least one more before he hangs his toolbelt up for good.
Styling the Bookcases in the Living Room…
Once we got the bookcases in place, I filled the shelves with pieces of ironstone,
patinaed containers filled with greenery,
Some of the books, I simply wrapped in brown kraft paper to keep a more cohesive look.
I turned the spines of others around so we could appreciate their well-worn and well-loved pages. Others have been used in simple vignettes to add height and texture.
What I love most about all of them though is how easily accessible they are.
Creating a library in the living room fits our lifestyle well because it provides a place to read, play games, and relax without having the distraction of the tv.
It gives us a place to curl up and unwind on cozy days. Yet also invites us to slow down, listen, learn and love on days filled with disappointments.
We prop up our feet on the coffee table during the holidays and snuggle up with blankets to watch the fire roar and the lights on the tree twinkle.
We fall asleep on the couch on Sunday afternoons while the scent of a roast waifs through the air.
Our sweet rescue Piper hides between stacks of books whenever I’m searching for inspiration.
It’s easy to maintain and easy to dress up or down once the holidays arrive. You can take our holiday home tour here if you need some early inspo!
Truthfully, the only thing that could make creating a library in the living room even more magical is a record player.
We have a Bose system with speakers in the ceilings, so a record player is not a necessity.
And since we’re being completely honest, we also have an antique radio that’s technically in the living room too. It still works. But the wiring is so old, we’re too afraid to actually use it.
Nevertheless, I currently have a record player on my holiday wish list just for the pure dreaminess of it all.
So, Where Is Your TV…
If you’re wondering if we still have a tv, we do.
The tvs are in the bedrooms.
I know all the sleep experts will tell you not to have a tv in your bedroom.
Especially, if you suffer from poor sleep hygiene.
But if you’ve ever snuggled up and watched a Nancy Meyer movie over a warm bowl of soup while fighting off a cold, you already know, that having a TV in the bedroom is a blessing.
As we get ready to transition from one season to the next, now is a great time to reevaluate the spaces in your home.
If they’re working for you, great!
If not though, don’t be afraid to take a room meant for one thing and turn it into something completely different. It just might be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your home.
Other Book-Related Posts to Enjoy Before You Go:Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Love, love, love! CoCo – this look fabulous! It’s amazing what a little thought, ingenuity and design have brought to this space.! The room looks so much larger too! Great job!
I love this room. And cute Piper sitting between the books is adorable
We are the opposite. We have never had a TV in our bedroom.
34 years together and we still don’t. I can’t fall asleep with it on. And we watch to much baseball and black and white movies. Plus 2 pups.
I love the fact you did what works best for the family
Thanks so much, Cindy! It’s been fun to have this space evolve as our family has evolved over the years. Hope your week has been a special one, CoCo
I love this space. Books bring me so much happiness. Your library is perfect. I also love the picture of JFK above your antique radio. Very swoonworthy, thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for your sweet words, Kim! It’s definitely a cozy space that gets a ton of use. We’ve had that JFK picture for a while now. The colors are super neutral and they go with everything. Hope you’ve had a great week, CoCo
So fun to see how your space has evolved over the years! Your Dad is so talented, those bookcases are beautiful! It’s a perfect place to display all your pretty treasures! Thanks for sharing, Donna
It was totally wild to take a look back and see all the different ways my style has evolved, Donna! So many people said they couldn’t believe it was the same house 🤣 which I definitely take as a compliment. I’m beyond thankful my Dad was able to make these bookcases. I look at them every day and feel grateful for his time, talent and skill. Big hugs, CoCo
This is such a great idea CoCo, and I love how you’ve made it so cohesive and match your colors! Our tv is not in the living room either, and sometimes people wander around wondering what’s not quite right about the room! I’d actually much rather read. 🙂 Thanks for another dose of beautiful inspiration!
Speak to my heart, Barbara, I’d much rather read too! I don’t know if it’s because I’m an introvert or because I have to look at a screen all day for a good portion of my job but the last thing I want to do with my free time is watch tv. I know it’s not for everyone but I’m surprised (and grateful) on a daily basis at how well it works for us. Thanks so much for all your kind words. I hope your weekend is peace-filled and relaxing, CoCo
What a transformation and how you’re decorating as evolved. Could you fly over and help a sister out with hers? I can help everyone else except myself! Love your changes it’s exciting to hear you don’t regret it after all these years. And having the treasured bookcases from your dad is heart warming. Love it all!
I can’t even tell you how many people have sent me a side note to say they couldn’t believe those early pictures were even my house, Cindy😂 It’s so funny! Even I look back and am so appreciative of all the missteps because they led me to that rustic meets refined french farmhouse with pops of pink I adore so much. It is always harder to help ourselves than others. Especially, when it comes to decorating. Mostly because we live with our stuff daily and it all seems old. But when we see things in other people’s homes, we’re seeing it with a fresh eye so it feels new-now-next, you know? You have great style, don’t discount it! Big hugs, CoCo
This space is amazing! Would love something similar, but doesn’t work with our current season of life. Might try a few of your ideas though. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Pamela! I completely understand about it not being the right season. This would not work at either one of my parent’s homes or my sister’s homes either. One thing that might help is to have a small bookshelf with all your favorites in a quiet guest room or corner of your bedroom or office. You can also take a “mobile library” approach by repurposing an antique breakfast cart, shoe cart, basket, or using a monogrammed bag to keep everything together. I still have books everywhere because I love them so much but once I put all my favorites together it was a game changer. I use them for decorating inspiration all the time now! Hope your week has been a happy one, CoCo
Your post is so pretty, buuutttt how do you know what you have if everything is covered with brown paper??? I don’t understand that part of it? You must have a little trick up your sleeve to find a particular book…..do you title them with a small marker on the inside edge????
You are right, Eileen! On the books featured on the upper shelves of the bookcase, I’ve written the name and author of the book on the inside cover so you can see it quickly. I also try to keep all the books together by author or subject to help make it easier too. The decorating books on the bottom shelf covered in kraft paper have the names written on their spines because I reference those the most. It’s definitely an extra step but worth it to me to keep things cohesive. Hope you’ve had a great week, CoCo
I love how you style your bookshelves CoCo. Every detail is just beautiful. I only wish I had the room to create a library in my living room.
Thanks so much, Kim! Our home is an open floor plan and there is very little wall space to put furniture on or to even hang wall art on so I’m beyond thankful my Dad was able to build them for me. Loblolly doesn’t have a lot of extra room for bookcases like this either. So, I remind my mom of the convenience of a mobile library cart, a big basket, or even a monogrammed bag so she can pull out her favorite books in a jiffy! Sending you lots of hugs, CoCo
I love this Coco. What a great cozy space to relax and unwind. I’m going to share a link to your post with my readers tomorrow. I think they’ll love it too!
So sweet of you to share this post, Jen, thank you. We have the best time snuggling up in this space! Hugs, CoCo
Hi CoCo- I have so much to say in response to this post. First, I almost never watch tv too. When we built our house 2 years ago – it was a big compromise to have it installed over the fireplace- on the wall.
Second, I love how the room evolved over time. Those bookcases your Dad built are priceless.
Third, Piper is adorable. I’m pretty sure she thinks you created the room just for her.
Great post!! Pinned.
Aww thanks so much for your sweet words, Anna, I really appreciate them. It’s wild to look back on those pictures and see how much my style has changed over the years. I know this setup isn’t for everyone but I can honestly say it’s changed the way we slow down and take time to really enjoy each other without the distractions of the tv. As far as the bookcases go, they are the only things in our home I actually grieve we can’t take with us when we have to evacuate for a hurricane. I try not to get too attached to anything but I would be so sad if anything ever happened to them! Sending you tons of hugs for a happy week, CoCo
Coco, your bookshelf styling is impeccable! The neutral color palette is so well composed and I just love looking at it..
Thank you, Maria! These bookcases are almost 9 feet tall and kind of a beast but they’re always fun to decorate and play with. Hope your week has been a fun one, CoCo
Beautiful bookcase styling Coco. Love the whole look. Such a calm and serene look. I am happy to feature your lovely look at Love Your Creativity. Happy September. xoxo
That’s so sweet of you, Linda, thank you! I’m so thankful to my Dad for building these bookcases. They’re a gift every single day. Hope you have a week ahead, CoCo
Coco, your bookshelves are beautifully styled. I’ve pinned multiple photos to by Bookshelf Style Board. Thanks for the inspiration.
We have built in bookshelves in our living room as well as in my office. I wish we had room for built in shelves in our bedroom. I personally like the look for any room. A friend added built in book shelves on two facing walls in her dining room. It was fabulous!
As for a TV. We haven’t had a TV in decades. Ha! Ha!
That’s so sweet of you to pin this post, Sarah, thank you! I’m totally with you I would have a bookshelf in every room if it were possible as well. Love what your friend did with her dining room. It sounds fabulous! Hope your week is a special one, CoCo