The Reading Room - Mini-Makeover and Plans

When you walk into our front door, the first room you see, besides the entry you'd be standing in, is the formal living room.

Or at least, that's what we think it was intended for and probably was right after the house was built.  For us though, it was a space we didn't really know what to do with.  We were looking for houses in the 2000 square foot range when we were hunting and well, this one rang in at 2400 and a big chunk of that extra 400 square feet is this room.  So, extra space?  Great!  Except, what do we do with it??

There's another living room/den at the back of the house and a formal dining room so we didn't need either of those.  It's not really in the ideal place to turn it into an extra bedroom, nor do we need one of those either.

When we moved in, we just threw pretty much everything that was in our old multi-purpose room in here - the kids' art table, all of our bookshelves, a club chair - along with some stuff that was piling up with construction in the kitchen and living room - some cabinet doors, a large built-in cabinet, our new range hood that's waiting to be installed, trim, etc...  A few things got moved over the last few weeks - the kids' art table is currently in the breakfast nook and we acquired a piano - but this room was becoming a sort of catch-all room which also kept it from ever being totally organized and spiffy.  Not really ideal.  Does that happen to you?  I've found that anything, whether it's a room or a drawer or a closet, that's a catch-all space never really gets organized because what's the point?  It's just going to continue catching all.  You can move stuff around into like-piles but it's still just a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't really have a "home" that's all just put into one space together.  The organization part of me was going crazy... 

Like, the bookshelves are mainly books, some games, and a few pieces of decor but there's not really a rhyme or reason to it all as evidenced here:

Over Christmas break, we had a little bit of a stall on any progress in the kitchen and I was itching to do something; to see some progress somewhere.  And so, we shifted our attention to this room, moved everything away from the walls, painted trim and walls (the ceilings were painted right after we removed the popcorn last summer), reorganized, and stepped back with a sigh of content.
It's not done or miles away from the catch-all title quite yet, but we're getting there and it's a space that's look a tad more organized, brighter, and seemingly more intentional.  And all it cost us was the price of paint.  (Sources are at the end of the post.)

(Scroll up a smidge for the befores of these two shots!) ^ \/

And the sight line into the "finished" entry is way more on the cohesive side.  It's like the two spaces belong in the same house again...because, HEY, they do!

Quick story about the piano...I saw posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that there was going to be an estate sale in our neighborhood; like down the street.  In the post, they had a picture of a piano and this mom got the great idea a few months ago that maybe we should buy a piano for Christmas.  I'd been keeping my eyes peeled on Facebook marketplace but just haven't found one that we were motivated enough to go pick up.  But then, this one...just down the street.  I mean, I figured we could just go buy it and roll it down the street.  How much easier could buying a piano get?  (Turns out, not quite that easy but...)

I went to the estate sale and tried not to beeline it too quickly to the piano 1) because I didn't want my hopes to get dashed fast when it wasn't there so it allowed a few preparatory deep breaths and 2) because I didn't want anyone to think I was really, really interested in the piano lest they want it too.  I know, I'm redic.  Lucky for me though, the piano was still there (and seemed perfectly tuned) but they wanted $200.  It was a tad more than we wanted to spend, especially after seeing what was out there on Fbook marketplace.  Boo.  But then I overheard someone say that everything that was left the during the last two hours of the sale, would be marked 50% off.  So, I put on my best patience pants and waited until those last two hours, when I promptly sent Anthony down to see if it was still there (while I prayed and prayed at home of course).  You can probably guess since I'm telling the story and there's a pretty picture of a piano above that IT WAS!!  And with that glorious half-price sticker on it nonetheless.  And then there was a touchy little aspect where we couldn't actually roll it down the street if we wanted to keep the front legs unbroken, had to go borrow a truck and rent a trailer, grab a friend for help, and heave and ho down front porch steps and up front porch steps and around tricky sidewalks and stuff, but HEY, it's here now isn't it?  Huzzah!  Let the piano lessons commence!

On the wall opposite the piano, we moved the small white shelving unit to the playroom, where it's already proving way more useful, and decluttered a little by moving books around and filling empty spaces with decor.  The plan for this entire wall is to line it with cabinets below and shelves above, just like the shelving unit that we moved in here from the living room but that probably won't happen for several months.  

The range hood and some cabinet doors are still taking up residence in the corner but they'll be up and out soon-ish.  Even with the hood on the floor though, things still look a lot better, right?  Here's that before again:

So, after living with the space from the time we moved in and finally getting a feel for the potential it has, we've decided to dub it the reading room.  We've called it the library a few times but that just still feels like an awkward name for a ranch house.  Reading room sounds more normal and so I think it'll stick.  Alongside the wall of shelving, we want to grab a pair of arm chairs (if any of you ever come across a duplicate of the chair we already have in there, PLEASE let me know!) and an ottoman to fill the space and add some cozy.   I added those using the Decor Matters app on my phone to kind of get a glimpse of how we might place them.  (The app is free and it's such a good way to help figure out furniture placement!)

I think we'll go with a color on the shelves (I've been envisioning a medium gray-green lately) and maybe some fun, patterned wallpaper behind them so there won't be quite as much natural wood but we're excited where this room is heading!  I see a lot of DIYs in our future...but that's always the case, isn't it? 

Have a great week friend!

ceiling paint:  High Hide Paint by Sherwin-Williams in Pure White
trim paint:  Pure White by Sherwin-Williams color-matched to Valspar in semigloss
wall paint:  China White by Ben Moore color-matched to Valspar in eggshell
piano:  estate sale find
lamp on piano:  secondhand // similar
curtains:  made by me (tutorial here) in this fabric (I found it in cheaper remnants)
bamboo planter stand:  thrifted and refashioned (tutorial here)

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