sharing a few ideas on how to create a living room library in a brownstone in the suburbs home

For someone who used the library for social hour and weekend (party) planning in high school, it is ironic that I want to transition our living room to a library. Except instead of big tables and plastic chairs it would have a wall of built-ins, a fireplace (think Gilmore Girls and Chilton Prep) and cozy seating to read.

My wheels started turning when Leslie shared her ORC (One Room Challenge) makeover from office to library. I messaged Leslie a few weeks ago that my husband was sharing her photos with our contractor.


I love to do these envy posts because it helps me figure out my favorite elements and provide a little inspiration to you! These posts also are a reminder to step outside our comfort zones if only just a smidge.

We have not finalized our plans for our 2 story living room wall, but we are close. I started to clear out the room after Christmas so the wall is completely bare and this hutch that was against this wall is currently in my office. She is awaiting relocation paperwork.


Here’s a view from the top-level looking down into the living room. Sorry grainy photo.

The original plan was to knock out the center wall and build a two-story double fireplace. When our general contractor reviewed our architect’s plans there were some issues with our living room being on the second floor and something about joists, plumbing and structural integrity.


We pivoted and decided a living room library would accomplish the same feels without the fear of the roof settling onto our fireplace.

Like any pending project, I looked to Pinterest for inspiration.

The following rooms provided plenty of living room library envy and inspiration. You ready to take a look at what you can do with that room that often sits untouched until the holidays.


This is Brooke Shields’s living room in her Manhattan home, not to be confused with her home in the Hamptons.

I love the contrast of the navy wall and white fireplace, windows and trim.

I have a thing for blue painted bookcases.

Source: Pinterest


On my Insta, I add  the hashtag brownstoneinthesuburbs because of our home’s multiple levels. For this reason, I had to include a Brooklyn brownstone in my search for a living room library.

. Our layout is similar in that the length is longer than the width of the room. Okay, did you just read that sentence? OMG! Wait, that’s right. The width of our room is narrower than the length from the windows to the hallway.


And,  just like this brownstone, we have a chaise in front of our window too. Our stairs are adjacent to the living room too.


Love the paint color, built-ins and the placement of the chair and side table. This makes sense because this photo is an advertisement for a furniture store. #wink

Source Pinterest Furniture Advertisement

Love the fireplace wood built-in. Love it! Even if we have a gas fireplace, I like to pretend we have wood-burning fireplaces.

Source: Pinterest AdLook at this room featured in New England Home. I love the crown molding and that fireplace insert is gorgeous. My husband is searching for fireplace inserts. I like a  mirror (this one is too ornate for our home), but it would add height against our two-story wall.

I think my signature paint color is navy.

Source: New England Magazine

Many of you likely recognize Cassie from Hi Sugarplum.

I remembered this room when she posted it and even though there is a little bit more going on in the room than I think I can carry off, I love the pops of color and the built-ins. Maybe I need a chandelier in my living room library?

I must end with where my envy began- in Leslie’s library from her previous home. You can catch the details here.

Sidenote: I met Leslie at a Haven conference. She was in the process of rebranding her blog. A year later she shared her rebranding guy with me when I made the decision to rebrand my blog

Do you have a favorite room from this envy list?


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Here’s my oven envy post.

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