There is this awkward, lonely (and weirdly large) nook in the back wall of our condo that we keep going back and forth on what to do with. In the six months we’ve lived here, we’ve had various pieces of art hung in it, a few floating shelves, a couch, and even a desk pushed against that wall. But nothing felt quite right.
Enter: The wall of books. I’ve always dreamt of one day having a library in my home. I love the idea of a wall of large-scale built-ins that shelf hundreds of good, old-fashioned novels, encyclopedias, and history books. None of the apartments we’ve lived in before this one have had the space for such a wall, but the awkward nook in our current place is practically begging to become the start of a home library.
But like any pipe dream, mine is riddled with problems. For starters, although I love to read, 99 percent of my books live in my Kindle and have never existed (in my ownership) as physical reading material. So filling a huge bookshelf with the books I own would be impossible right now. But let’s put a pin in that problem, because it could easily be solved by a trip to Goodwill. Most problematic of all, we don’t really have the means to do a big installation of built-in bookshelves. A few weeks ago, we had a free consultation with a local company that does installations to get a quote for what it would cost, and they quoted us well over $1,000! Thanks but no thanks.
These are obstacles, yes. But like most problems, they’re solvable. Luckily, there’s more than one way to do something. And when Carter and I have our minds set on something like this, there’s little anyone can do to stop us. So for weeks, we’ve been perused the interwebs to find an alternative to built-ins. We were looking for something that was tall, wide, and most importantly, affordable. Not surprisingly, we ended up at Ikea.
The Start of Our Home Library
The Hemnes bookshelves ($149 each) fit our criteria to a tee, plus, they’re easy on the eyes. After measuring the space, we determined we could fit three of them easily without blocking any of the natural light coming through the window. This left space on either side of the shelves to bookend them (no pun intended) with tall lamps or plants. Not a bad start, right?
Fortunately, the sides of the Hemnes bookshelf are completely flat, so they could sit evenly right up against each other. After we put everything together and decided where it would go, Carter attached the bookshelves to each other using wooden screws (not included in the Ikea bookshelf packaging).
Now the only thing missing is about a thousand more books! And a rug. And furniture. And styling. Oy. I guess we have a lot to do before this nook turns into the home library of my dreams.
Side note: We were on the fence for a while and almost went with the Billy bookcase – only $49.99 each – but Carter swayed me toward the Hemnes and I’m glad he did. It really does look much nicer and is made of real wood. But the Billy is a a good budget alternative.
Chic Home Library Inspiration
I know the photos of our empty bookshelves are far from inspiring. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do. Hopefully these gorgeous photos below will help you see the potential of a wall of books! With a little TLC, hopefully ours will look as nice as these someday…
Image via Geoffaryandgrace.com
Image via Traditional Home.
Image via Kristina Lifors Interior Design
Image via The Art of Doing Stuff.