One Room Challenge Week Five – The Living Room

I can’t believe it’s week five of the One Room Challenge with Calling It Home! I’m making good progress, but I’m going to have to bust a serious move in the next week. Considering I’m posting about week five a day late, there’s a good chance I won’t be at 100% by next Thursday, but it’s looking good anyway. This week I tackled the biggest DIY project – taking basic Ikea shelving and creating the illusion of a built-in bookcase.

Take a basic Billy bookcase from Ikea and turn it into a DIY built-in bookcase.

How to fake the look of built-in bookcases

The standard Billy is very basic in terms of design, and I want a little more visual appeal. I assembled three of the short Billy bookcases from Ikea. Then I bumped the center bookcase forward 3 inches to create the effect of built-in bookcases. Using 3/4″ MDF, I added topped all three bookcases to disguise the gap behind the bumped-out bookcase. The MDF was 11 1/2″ deep on the two end bookcases. The center piece was 14 1/4″ since the trim adds about 1/2″ to the overall depth.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

Finally, I added trim to the front, following this general plan from I Heart Organizing. I used a miter box to cut trim pieces from some leftover chair rail that we had. Then I nailed everything on with a hammer and sunk the nails with a nail-set.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

I caulked all the nooks and crannies, and painted the MDF and trim with a bright white to match the bookcases. This project would be easier with a nail gun and power saw, but I’m proud that I was able to do it without power tools. My arms are tired but I’m so happy every time I look at our new “built in” bookcase.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

Here’s a list of projects that needed to be tackled to complete this room. I’ve crossed off everything that’s done so far.

Hang new curtains

New sofa & chair

Built-in bookcase project

Game/project table with benches

Console table behind sofa

Style bookcases

Hang art

Dresser or console on empty wall

Paint & stain railings

Throw pillows for sofa & chair


Good luck to all the other challenge participants in this final week!

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One Room Challenge Week Three – The Living Room

It’s week three of the One Room Challenge with Calling It Home and things are happening! You can see the before (and the way before) pics of our living room here in week one’s post. Last week I shared the basic furniture layout that I planned.

Take a peek at my design plan for our living room as part of our One Room Challenge makeover.

The only part that my husband wasn’t really on board with was the tall shelving that would go against the far wall. He felt like it might be too much for the space. Since he mostly lets me make the decorating decisions in our house, I try to respect his opinion when he voices it. So instead we’re going with the shorter Billy bookcases from Ikea. These shelves are pretty basic so I’m planning to use a combination of this tutorial and this one to give them a little extra appeal.

billy bookcase

My curtains arrived, but unfortunately one of the panels has a stain so I’ll have to send them back. Luckily, is pretty speedy so it shouldn’t hold things up. I’m still working on finding the right sofa for this room. I go back and forth about the size. Once the bookcases are assembled and in place, I’m hoping it will give me some guidance. FYI if you’re in the market, Joss and Main is having a big sofa sale today with some great options!

I’m feeling great about where this room is headed. Things seem to be coming together little by little. Because life would be boring if we only had one thing going on (insert eye roll,) we’re also painting our house next week. I’m so excited to have the outside spruced up! Don’t forget to go check out some of the other ORC guest participants!

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One Room Challenge Week Two | Living Room Design Plan

It’s week two of the One Room Challenge, and while it hasn’t been the most productive week, I’m starting to see some direction for the living room. You can take a look at all the lovely before pictures of this room here. One thing that our home lacks is a dedicated playroom.

We debated using what we refer to as the den for the kids’ play area, but it’s a natural gathering area during get-togethers because it connects to the kitchen. Some people can be up in the kitchen area, while others can be on the couch, and yet, we can all be part of the same conversation if we want.

The kids obviously hang out there as well, but over the past year it felt like the toys were starting to take over. We realized that it would be nice to have a play area where the kids are still nearby.

The living room is the best spot for a play area. We’ll stick to a grownup aesthetic because it’s part of our main living area. Before I go into a few of the details that make this room a challenge to design, let me share the truly amazing layout  80s fiasco that I created on the free design planning site,

living room plan

Let’s just all agree to pretend that the furniture in this room reflects choices I would actually make! is limited in many ways. I didn’t waste time on the particulars, and since I don’t have photoshop, this and imagination are all that we’re left with.


Apart from the size  of the windows, the measurements are accurate. We really do have a fairly large corner window with another feature window 15 inches away. And of course, this living room is a sunken room so it’s two steps down from the entry (on the right in this view) and the dining room (to the left.) doesn’t have an option for railings without stairs so you just have to imagine them instead of walls as noted above. You can see one railing in the picture below, as well as our bizarre window configuration.

living room progress

Living Room Design Plan

My plan divides this large room into zones for better function. There’s room for a table where we can play games, build legos or do crafts. The other zone needs a tv so the kids can play video games or watch a movie. There’s also plenty of storage.

Despite its challenges, this room has lots of possibilities and I’m looking forward to it becoming a functional space for us to enjoy. Stay tuned for more progress!

{Linking to Calling It HomeThoughts of Home, The Inspiration Gallery, Weekend Retreat}  

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