Raising Readers: Make a Library in Your Home

Sep 14, 2015

I have always wanted a library in my own home. I set my sights high at age eight when I watched Beauty and the Beast for the first time. That library! Walls of books, so high you needed a ladder to reach them, and balconies and a cozy fireplace. Sign me up.

But wealthy princes-turned-beasts are not in abundance, and as time went on, my library ideals also changed. I still wanted a space reserved for books, but I realized I'd rather have something cozy and comfortable instead of elaborate and spacious.

When we moved into our home last year, we didn't know what to do with one of the little rooms in the basement. It didn't have a closet, so we didn't plan on using it as a bedroom. For a couple of months, it was the playroom, but the toys always migrated to the family room. One day I had the brilliant idea to turn it into the library. True, it wasn't the perfect room for it, but I was determined to make it as perfect as possible.

Even though Mike wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about the project as I was, he was a good sport and willingly did all the little jobs I gave him. The room is an odd shape because it jogs out a couple of feet on one side, so one of the first things Mike did was to make that little section into a bench seat (it opens up for additional storage). We hired someone to make the cushion for it, and then, because every library needs a nook, we hung curtains so a little reader could close himself in.

The room took us forever to finish, but I'm very happy with the result. Who knew this little basement room could be so cute? I think having a room dedicated entirely to books sends a strong message to my kids that our family loves and treasures reading. Books are some of our most prized possessions, and because of that, we want them to be accessible and located in a place that's pleasant to be in. This room isn't the only room we read in, nor the only one with books in it, but it's a guaranteed, cozy spot, perfect for reading, any time of the day.

Your home might not have the perfect place for a library either. But I would encourage you to be creative and figure out if there's a little corner that can be turned into your own little library.


Tall bookcase: IKEA (but we got it from a friend who was getting rid of it)
Little Tikes table and chairs: yard sale
Turntable bookshelf: yard sale
Red chair: given to us by a friend
Blue, green, and white pillow: made by me
Peter Pan print: Litographs
Hanging light: IKEA (this particular color is not on their website)
Small, black frames: IKEA (we took out the mirrors and replaced them with prints)
Children's book prints: starting in the top left and going clockwise: All the World (free from a cereal box), Make Way for Ducklings (thrift store), Blizzard (unbound copy from publisher), Harry the Dirty Dog (thrift store) 
White bookcases: garage sale
Window curtains: made by me
Window valence: made by Mike
Bench seat: made by Mike
Bench seat cushion: fabric purchased at Jo-Ann
Body pillow: Smiths
Knitted pillow: made by me
Wall lamp: IKEA
Long curtain panels: Target
Area rug: Target (similar)
Book timeline: made by me (more info here

I would love to hear about your cozy reading spaces and/or how you make your books accessible for every family member. Please share in the comments (or send me an email: sunlitpages [at] gmail [dot] com).


  1. Soooo cute! Absolutely and in every way jealous of this room. It turned out perfect! Can't wait till we have space for our own library or reading nook, but at just over 1,000 sq. ft. I guess our whole apartment could be considered a "cozy" reading space. :)

    1. Ha! Yes, we used to live in an apartment like that!

  2. Oh Amy, I love everything about this! What a great space. I bet the boys just love it. That little bench seat is wonderful! Job well done!

    1. Thank you, Carrie! I knew you'd appreciate it.

  3. Oh, Amy, I love it! Good for you! My favorite part of your post is: " I think having a room dedicated entirely to books sends a strong message to my kids that our family loves and treasures reading." I have always wanted a dedicated library, but haven't been able to manage it yet. One day... Your photos inspire me.

    1. Jen, that's so nice of you. I'm sure your home has lots of great reading spaces.

  4. How lovely! (I don't think I actually say "lovely" in real life, but I can't think of a better word! :) It looks so cozy and THE BOOKS! eeek ! I was enlarging your pics to read titles. ;o) Love it, love it, love it.

    1. I love looking at other people's bookshelves too! It's so fun to see which books people treasure enough to own.

  5. This is so perfect! I love it and I'm sure you all do too!

  6. I want this! We've taken the "every room is a library" approach in our house (meaning that there are bookcases and baskets of books in just about every room), but now you've got me thinking that maybe I need a designated library instead (as well?). You guys did a beautiful job, and I love the idea that staking out space for a library in the home sends a clear message to your kids that your whole family values books.

    1. Ha! We kind of take that approach too. We definitely have books all over our house, but it's fun to have one room actually dedicated for that purpose. Thanks for your kind words.

  7. Oh la la, I love library tours. We recently finished our library, did you catch it?
    and I've yet to buy chairs so checking out yours, they look inviting. Just want to curl up and check out your books.


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