One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook

October 19, 2016

We believe we should all love where we live.

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It has been an intense week around here. The weather hasn’t cooperated all that well, we have only had one decor item arrive (1!!), and we just realized we don’t really have three more weeks to finish this like our minds have been telling us, we have three weeks until the reveal, so just over 2 weeks to finish. There were moments of panic (like when we realized our shower is leaking into the girls’ new room!), but there were more moments of victory. Let’s talk about those, shall we?

If you are just catching up, we’re making a guest room into a shared room for our girls in just 6 weeks as part of the One Room Challenge. Check out Week 1 where we lay out the design here and Week 2 where we built the bunk beds here

This week, Chris has been chugging along framing out the reading nook that will be to the right of the bunk beds we shared the tutorial for in last week’s ORC post. It’s only framed in right now, so you may need to squint, but I can already tell it’s going to be such a sweet spot in this room.

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook

Since the nook was pretty deep (as deep as a bed), we deciding to build the back wall out with 2×4’s so it wasn’t quite as cavernous. The framed part up top will hold a pretty library sconce that will light up the corner, too.

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook

We likely won’t do a full tutorial for exactly how we built the reading nook, like we did for the bunks, but did want to walk through the design decision process and hope these photos of the bare full frame will help if you plan to do something similar in your own home.

The biggest design hurdle was figuring out how the seat would meet the bookshelves. If you think about it for more than 30 seconds, you can see how it could get awkward…leaning against shelves? In researching and looking through loads of inspiration photos, we saw basically three different options for how reading nooks combine shelving and seating.

1. Bookcases on either side of the nook. This was definitely the most common trend I noticed and if we had the space, I’d be all for it. It creates a cozy nook with ample shelving while still allowing you to lean back comfortably and practically begs for pretty wallpaper as an accent–always a win. Unfortunately, our nook is not wide enough for this option.

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nookvia

2. Utilizing Shallow Shelving. Shallow shelves, or book ledges are a great way to combat the awkward “where am I supposed to lean back while reading” scenario that comes with book nooks. They don’t stick out very far so you can stop them a little up the wall and any pillow or back cushion you add to the nook will protrude out farther leaving you with a nice depth hierarchy—totally a thing. The reason this one didn’t feel right for us, although I was initially leaning toward ledges over shelves, was because our nook is so deep. We didn’t need to minimize depth more.

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook


3. Floating bookcase? The last trend we saw was kind of a floating bookcase above seating. I actually loved all the compartments in the example below but I couldn’t shake that gap between the seating and the books. Why was it there? Are those cups? candles? Despite the gap, this example, with its banquette type back board, ultimately inspired our final design.

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook


What if we eliminated that gap and had the top of the “banquette” be the first shelf? Everything clicked when we started drawing out that option. We made the depth of the light soffit the same as the top of the seat which will be the same as all of the shelves. Again…you might have to squint looking at the frames, but do you see it now?

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book Nook

Do my illustrator mock-ups help? (I can’t stop!)

One Room Challenge: Week 3 | The Makings of a Book NookSources: Baskets (only $29!), Kilim Pillow, Blush Pillow, B&W Pillow, Reading Light

We’ll be facing the book nook, giving everything a coat of paint and installing lights all before next week so we can start on getting the wardrobes in place. And hopefully, a few more pieces will have arrived, too. Fingers crossed!

Catch up on what all the other ORC participants are up to this week by clicking the links below! The progress is amazing, I’m loving following along (and secretly wondering if anyone is as stressed as we are).


Jana Bek | Chris Loves Julia | Shannon Claire | Coco.Kelley | The Curated House

Driven by Décor | The English Room | From the Right Bank | Sherry Hart

Hi Sugarplum | House of Jade | Hunted Interior | The Makerista | Making it Lovely

Marcus Design | Pencil & Paper Co. | Megan Pflug | Place of My Taste | Suburban B’s

Waiting on Martha  Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

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What do you think?

  1. I think any book lover would die to have a sweet space like this! Unfortunately, my reach-in closet is TINY at 2’ 6” deep X 3’ 6” wide!! I have about a 10’ ceiling.
    Anyway, though all I have is this option, I still would like to turn this unused space into at least storage for all my books (250-300 in all), if not a sweet little book nook of my own. Any ideas? I am not DIY – talented, but I’m game, and desperate!

  2. thefolia says:

    Looks inviting already…happy nesting!

  3. I’m sorry. I try to warn everyone about 6 posts = 5 weeks. Starting a week before the first post is doing it in real time. I hope you are not mad. It looks amazing and your skills are through the roof.

    • Julia says:

      Linda! We’re not mad at all! We are having the time of our lives and have never shied away from a tight deadline. Thanks so much for including us. Really. We’re just silly for not doing the math. Haha.

  4. Lucille says:

    I love the idea of a book nook. I’m such a bookworm! That’s such a great idea to eliminate the gap that was in the picture. Your book nook will look so much better. I can’t picture the grand finales in my mind too well so I’m looking forward to week 6!

  5. Emma says:

    Oh man, if it were me, I would utilize that dead space by making a cabinet that opens into each bunk, or at least a little cubby. Somewhere to put a water bottle or a journal or something. I feel like there’s a way to use it!

  6. I think this little nook will be one of my favorite parts of the room!

  7. Andrea says:

    Love your plans. So cozy. Love the gold light too!

  8. Jeanna says:

    Since you are planning a shared bedroom space for the girls, what are you going to do with their current rooms? I’m sorry if you’ve already answered this question…………..I did try to look back to see if you already addressed this :)

    • Julia says:

      Greta’s current room will be the guest room. And Faye will slowly transition down to the shared room. Eventually, we’d love to have one more baby.

  9. Molly Malim says:

    Looks great. Chris’ handyman know-how blows my mind.

  10. Ah, I’m always so amazed by the progress you two make in just a week! Can’t wait to see how the reading nooks turn out – such a great addition to the space! XO

  11. Wow, this is going to be so amazing!! I kind of thought we were clicking along too, until I realized we hadn’t actually done anything yet, and we’re at the halfway point!! #nowisthetimetopanic ;)

  12. You guys made a lot of progress! I would love that reading space myself…..I could hide there and procrastinate to my hearts content:)

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