I’ve always wanted a room with wall-to-wall bookshelves, and for some insane reason, I always imagined I would have to stumble upon a home with this feature already present. Why had it never occurred to me that I could build something like this? I have no idea. I can be very dense sometimes :) Luckily, I have inspiring projects like this music room renovation from Lisa to remind me that, yes, I can adapt my home to fit my needs with a little savings and creative thinking. The wall of shelves looks wonderful framing the French doors, and I love the new olive color on the walls, as well. Lovely renovation, Lisa! — Kate
Time: One year for planning/design, one week for execution
Cost: Around $2k for the entire room including painting, carpentry, window treatments and other details
Basic Steps: I actually started with the dead, wasted space on either side of the French doors. That particular area was boring and empty, and the only thing that ever made sense to eat up the space was a set of bookcases. Once they were installed, they added instant character to the space. Credit the benefit of built-ins because they look like they have always been there.
I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the rest of the room, so I moved a large area rug that was in another room to the new space. I pulled one of the greens out of the area rug and used that on the walls. The sofa and love seat were all white and while re-upholstery would have been ideal, I went the less expensive route and recovered half of the pillows using fabric to match the tobacco color in the area rug.
I suggest trying to use what you already have first. If there are items in other parts of the house that can be used to help build up the new room, go for it. The biggest thing I learned about this makeover is that it doesn’t take a huge amount of money or a knockdown, major-budget renovation to give a room a brand new look. Sometimes it’s the things you make with your own hands (like my new pillowcases) that add that little extra detail to make the room pop.
Also, when planning bookcases or other small carpentry projects, check with your local builder. The carpenter who installed my bookcases actually works for a builder in my neighborhood. That’s his real bread and butter, but he also does small jobs like mine on the side, with exceptional results. He was strictly installation and didn’t caulk or paint, which contributed to his reasonable price. It wasn’t a problem since the painters I hired included the bookcases in the cost of the room. — Lisa