The day to day adventures of turning a 22 year old house into something updated, fun, and fresh for this family of five.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The first of many Playroom Projects

So a few months ago, I posted this post about re-doing our playroom and why I wanted to update the space.

Since that post, I've given the room a lot of thought, and evolved several ideas. 

Since storage and function is a priority for me, I'll start this playroom makeover with a highly functional project- Organizing my children's books.

This is what it looks like now..

This was the previous storage method...

Yet, imagine all of those books scattered on the floor, and that is what it generally looked like..


My boys would pull out books to look at, and then would have trouble putting them back onto the bookshelf correctly.  Or, they would have a book in mind that they wanted to read, but they would pull off several books before they found the specific one they wanted.   Then, of course, they couldn't get the books back onto the shelf because the other books were falling over.

I knew over a year ago that this book storage was just not working for us.  I noticed at the library that the children's section displays several books with the cover forward, so that the little ones can see the pictures since the words on the spine mean very little to them. 
I knew that this was the solution we needed.

However, what would I use to hold the books?

I have IKEA photo ledges in my family room..

and my immediate thought was to use them.  However, I measured the space and I knew I wanted at least 10 shelves.   The 45 inch version is $14.99... so for 10 shelves, not even measuring 4 ft, I'd be paying over $150.


I noticed that another blog, The Stories of A to Z, used rain gutters.

Super creative, but I wasn't sure that this would work in my space.  I wanted something more streamlined, and the gutters in my local store were kinda sharp.  Since I'm not all that great at supervising my children while they're playing in their dedicated space, I wasn't so sure sharp metal edges were a good idea.

My next thought was to just build something like the IKEA shelves, myself.  I priced the wood, and it would was going to save me about $50 to DIY them, plus I could make them longer if I wanted - I was aiming for 5 feet.

I did plan to adapt the design to make them more durable, I planned on using a flat board as the base, with a quarter round trim piece to hold the books on the ledge.  I thought the trim would give just enough bump to keep the books from sliding off, while being low profile enough to not catch the books when the boys were trying to remove them.

I decided this was my plan of action until I actually arrived at my local store to purchase my supplies.  When browsing on the trim aisle, I came across this molding (which I'm assuming is used for baseboards). 

A 10 foot strip was $6.90.   What I liked about this particular trim, was that the board came with several grooves which work perfectly to catch the books and keep them from falling.  Plus, each 10 foot length would give me TWO five feet ledges, making them 3.45 each (not including other supplies, tax, etc.). 

I put 5 of the 10 foot lengths on my lovely blue rollie cart and strolled on over to the hardware section.  I found the perfect sized L brackets in a pack of four for approximately $3.. it was a little less, but my receipt blew away in the Lowe's parking lot, so I really have no idea the exact amount.  3 per shelf x 10 shelves = 30. 

I put 8 packs in my cart and also bought some heavy duty glue/adhesive.

Following the directions, I coated each bracket with the Goop and let sit for 2 min.  Meanwhile I mended this guy.

The first casualty of the 2011 Mini-Teeball season.  :(   LOL.

After 2 minutes the adhesive was ready to attach the the trim pieces which I'd earlier cut to size.

I pressed the brackets firmly into place, placing one approximately 4 inches in from each end, and one in the center of each ledge.

Per the instructions, I then let them cure for 24 hours.   Okay, maybe 16 hours.  ha.

Then came installation.
I started at the bottom, knowing that I wanted the larger, heavier books near the floor to avoid any head injuries in case they were to fall.
I then placed the tallest of the books on the shelf, to make sure there was enough room before attaching the next up.

Just like I'd hoped, the grooves held the books perfectly.

Since the shelves have two deep grooves, I'm even able to double up the books if needed.

I used a long level when hanging the shelves, and even though the L brackets show when the shelves are empty, they cover up perfectly when full.

The final total was around $67.  This included five strips of the 10 ft. moulding, 8 packages of 4 L brackets, adhesive, and a small chip brush to touch up the white paint.

I am beyond happy with the results. 

Our books are OFF the floor, inviting my kiddos to sit and read a bit.



  1. Those look fantastic! I have got to remember this for when Rafi gets big enough for books!

  2. super creative and fantastic. all the better because of this super little nook.

  3. Wow! I am in love with this area of your toy room! I would love an area like this in my own home. Great ledges! Nice tutorial. I am featuring this at Grab my "Featured" button.

  4. Love that the house has such a cute little nook and that you thought to put the books up like that. Not only does it look great, but it is practical and encourages the kids to read. Wins all over the place here!

    I'm following now and off to explore some more.

  5. Maybe it's just temporary (it happens on my blog, too, at times), but there is nothing after the word "followers" on the sidebar to click and join. I rss'd, but thought I'd let you know in case it needs fixing.

  6. This 100 percent awesome!! Your blog is great!

  7. I just love this idea. Daisy

  8. Love it! Super creative and functional!

  9. I love this but I can see my kids still ripping them all off the shelves, trying to climb them, etc...Does that happen for you? Looks my kids are a lot younger than your though - 2 1/2 and 1. I would love for it to work for me though!!

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  12. Similar Question as another post, but do the books stay up well? How about thicker books as your boys have grown? Do they stay as well?


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