ORC Week 1: Home Library Design Plans

Formal library room, built-ins, sconces, chandelier.

So we just finished our kitchen renovation and while I do not have a blog post up about all the details of this completed project I thought this would be the perfect time to announce our next project which is going to be a room that I have been itching to do but have not had the guts or time to tackle completely. We are going to be doing this room for the One Room Challenge for the next 8 weeks. If you are not familiar with the One Room Challenge visit the link here for more information. If you have a room that you just can’t seem to finish or if you have been wanting to give the DIY world a try, signing up with the ORC is the perfect opportunity to get you started and get that room completed!

Now you are probably thinking, tell us the room already or you may have scrolled down but if you haven’t, the room we will be renovating is our formal living room. So what is a formal living room? It’s a room merely meant to convey a space that has more elevated furnishing and style and is seen as a space to entertain guests on special occasions. As opposed to a family room, which is more of a casual, day-to-day place to go watch television, hang out, and spend time with family. We updated our family room last spring for the One Room Challenge. If you are interested in how to transform a room full of toys into a Parisian chic oasis, check it out here.

So Why Are Updating This Room?

The main reason is that we want to create a room that has more character and is more functional for what our family needs. It’s a big, wide room that has formal furnishings but nobody in our family hangs out there even though it’s probably the biggest room in our house. I don’t know what it is about it but it’s not a place you gravitate to when you want some alone time. I think the main reason for that has to do with the fact that we started utilizing the room as a storage place for thrifted items or for rugs that we no longer need.


So let’s take a look at what we will be working with for the next 2 months.

This is what the room looked like when we first moved in. Not too bad, right? It’s missing more art, warmer colors and window treatments which I could have updated. What this picture fails to show is the actual width of the room. I think the next images capture that much better.

So here you can see a bit better here that this room has a lot of very wide walls. The painting in the back is a really big artwork piece but it doesn’t even look that big compared to how much wall is still there left to be covered. My goal is to use that wall to create custom builtins for a formal home library room. By filling that wall with builtins, the room will have more architectural interest and in turn be more inviting. Who doesn’t want to lay down and read a book in a home library? I can see us going to this room daily and reading stories to our toddlers.

The opposite side of the wall we want to create built-ins on has a much smaller wall because it has another entryway opening making it a lot easier to decorate. I think the table and chair fit here nicely.

This room is south facing so it gets a ton of warm natural light. The two windows are screaming for fun patterned fabric.


After I decided that we needed to build a home library, I was on a mission to find the most gorgeous home libraries and I was not disappointed in what I found. Here are a few that have really inspired me to go for it.

Image Source: Corey Damen Jenkins

This is the library I refer back to frequently because it has such a wonderful mix of colors and patterns. I want to room that I design to exude tons of vibrant colors and patterns.

Image Source: Corey Damen Jenkins

Another home library that is trenched with vibrant color and patterns and is another library designed by Corey Damen Jenkins who is known for using bold colors and patterns.

Image Source: Jeannette Whitson (gardenvarietydesign)
Image Source: Michele Plachter Design
Image source: Nicola Harding & Co

As you can see from the inspiration images above, I’m really attracted to blue built-ins.

Since our goal is to use the Ikea Billy bookshelves hack to create the built-ins I found inspiration from people that have already accomplished this.

Image source: The Makerista
Image Source: Robyn &Wren


Here is a mood board that I have been working on for the last couple of months now. Since this room is fully furnished a lot of the furniture pieces are a representation of what is already in the room. I’m trying to work with items I have but that does not mean I will not sell or buy something new. This leads me to the next point, what is here to stay and will be or has been already replaced?

Formal library room, built-ins, sconces, chandelier.


The items that I will have to work with are as follows: The big chesterfield sofa is here to stay. The two barrel chairs may be something I work on replacing but for now, I will try to incorporate them into my design. The two peach french chairs along with the cane chair and the two tables (black and marble) are all going to stay and are both thrifted finds from Facebook marketplace. You have following me on Instagram, you may already know that I love incorporating the old with the new and I frequently share my estate sales visit and thrift store finds. I find incorporating vintage pieces really gives the room the collect look and a jolt of character. So far the rug is staying but I have been looking into alternatives and maybe be an item I decide to switch out.


You may have noticed that the mirror tabled is not listed on my mood board. That is because I officially sold that on Facebook marketplace and I’m looking for a burl wood table to add some warmth to the room. Since I have traditional and contemporary design mixed into my family room that is largely a neutral room (lots of black and white with pops of color), I struggled with how I could make my house look cohesive when building a library room that is typically very traditional and in the case where I want to go with bold colors. I learned over the past few weeks that the key to having cohesiveness is not picking sides between neutrals or saturated colors but finding the common thread that will tie neutral rooms with more saturated rooms. I thought I could make what is typically a very traditional room have more modern vibes but incorporating some sort of geometric print and what I have come up with is Brewster mid-century modern scallop wallpaper. I think the black and white prints of the scallop nicely tie this largely black and white transitional family room together for a more cohesive look.

While our family room is not close to the library room they both are on lower level of the house so it was important for me to design the library room with the family room in mind.

Based on my inspiration images above, I’m heavily leaning towards a very saturated navy blue color for the built-ins with pops of peach, and black and white geometric prints.

The fabric that I have chosen for window treatment is this vibrant Jacyln Smith Whimbre pattern in the coral reef color which was graciously sponsored by Calico Corners.

I think it will be a nice pop against navy blue built-ins.

Lighting is going to be an important aspect of making this room feel welcoming so I’m collaborating with Crystorama for some beautiful lighting options. Here is what I have chosen.

The chandelier adds a jolt luxe formality while the sconce add that modern edgy vibe to balance out the traditional furnishings.


I don’t think we could ever update a room in our house without adding trim work. Living in a colonial home, trim work really gives the room dimension and character. For this project, in addition, to installing trim work for the built-ins we will also be adding crown molding, chair rail, shadow boxes, and baseboards. Now that is a lot of molding but I think it is the best way to elevate a room.

Next week I will be sharing what we have accomplished with the room so far as we had a head start in creating the built-ins. I will also share our list of to-do’s so you can follow along on this renovation adventure. To get daily updates on our progress head on over to my Instagram.

Don’t forget to check out the other ORC guest designers too.

11 thoughts on “ORC Week 1: Home Library Design Plans

  1. This is going to be amazing!! loving this space transformation, can’t wait to see the process!

  2. I love your design plans! I can’t wait to follow along as this space transforms!

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