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S is an avid reader.  Some days we spend (literally!) hours poring over books.  So a Reading Room was a must!  I mentioned in my Playroom post how important I feel presentation is to small children, and I knew immediately that I wanted a WALL of outward facing books.

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Lots o' books (you can read the post on our favorite books here)


This was what the room started out looking like.  I felt like the wall below the window on the left was just the perfect height for a wall of built-in bookshelves, so right away I knew this was our future Reading Room.


You know how I said in the Playroom post that hanging things from ceilings and building an indoor rockwall were both easier than you thought?  Well, building your own built-in bookcases is a lot harder than you think.  A lot.  I wish it weren't so!  And I am certainly glad that we did it (and grateful that my parents are still speaking to me after building them - hahaha), but please know that they are a HUGE pain.  If you are not a Do-It-Yourselfer, save yourself the headache and buy a premade outward facing bookshelf. To cut down costs, we used MDF trim pieces (versus true wood) and to save time, I paid a bit more to get the MDF that was primed white.  I did ultimately paint the whole thing with white paint, but this way I could be a bit less, um, detailed with that step and no one would be the wiser.  :)

The hardest parts, other than determining the scale (we wanted consistent "units" along all the walls) and cutting all the different pieces to the correct sizes, were figuring out how to deal with the corners and the floors.  We decided to butt two pieces of wood together in the corners, leaving empty space behind them (so the corners are hollow, if that makes sense) and we decided to just "set" the bookcases on the floor, building up just a slight base.  Because of the length of each "unit" the trim piece that serves as the bar that holds the books in place is not very strong.  When X is pulling to stand, we'll have to keep a close eye on him since that part of the bookcase is fairly delicate.

Once we'd figured out the bookcases, I wanted to decide on a "theme" for the room.  S and I really love spending time outdoors, and given the setting of our house (we basically live in a forest), I felt like a woodland theme was just perfect.  To fit the theme, we painted the room a light blue, like the sky.  

Though I originally wanted green "grass" carpet for the entire room - the cost was too high.  So I settled instead for an accent rug.  I bought this green "grass" rug at Ikea and hand sewed felt toadstools and a yellow banana slug to decorate it.  I literally scoured the internet to find the perfect toadstool seats for the rug and finally found just the right ones (we have two).

Pictured:
Handsewn felt toadstools and banana slug

In addition to the toadstool rug and toadstool stools, I wanted some other sort of seating.  Beanbag chairs can be sort of lumpy and I'm not the biggest fan of them in general - but I found a great compromise in this bright blue poof.  It's shaped like a cylinder and it's filled with recycled material instead of poly pellets.  Not to mention it's the perfect size for snuggling up to read.  The walls on this side of the room needed some art, I felt, so I went with a set of prints from one of my favorite artists, Tiffany Ard.  I am constantly looking for excuses to use her art both because it's just awesome and because I was a science major in college and my husband was a math/computer science major - so we're obligated to nerd-up our kids.  :)  As a final touch, I bought a bird's nest at Michaels for "Baby Crow", a stuffed bird that S has loved since she was a baby.  I found the y-shaped branch at a pet store and just hand-screwed it into the drywall.  It's not super secure if you yank on it, but so long as no one is, it hangs just fine that way.

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Beneath the Tiffany Ard art, I wanted to use some clever way of mounting a tank for S's pet Betta fish.  I was thrilled to find these amazing tanks that fit the bill perfectly.

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I know it's super hard to get a sense of the rooms from my photos.  Particularly since I am shooting in bad lighting conditions with a portrait lens - eek!  So I tried to make a sort of panorama of this room with my point-and-shoot camera.   Please excuse the bad photo "stitching" below.  :)  But this is how the room looks from the closet.  The closet is currently empty, pending development this Christmas.  If I can convince my parents to help me again, I'm planning on converting it into a two-level fort for the kids as their present from us this year.  If it happens, I'll be sure to post an update with photos in December.  :)


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You can read more about our favorite books and authors here!

Oh, and for those of you who are interested:
You can read about our Art Room design here.
Designing Playspaces:  Our Backyard will be up sometime in June


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. What a wonderful reading room, wish I had handy parents, those shelves are great!
    We also have the green hampen rug in combination with the green komsik triple cushion from ikea (don't think they sell it anymore)and a decal of a boy and girl swinging from a tree, it is our favorite spot in the house. I love how the green gives the room a fresh but calm feeling. I am thinking of adding some of the little ikea spice racks for some of the smaller books :)

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    1. Hi Natali!

      Yes, I looooove having handy parents (as you can see, hahahaa). That sounds adorable! A reading nook is so nice to have. Outward facing book shelves are my favorite! I've seen those Ikea spice racks used before and they look great - I say go for it! It will be MUCH easier than building these at any rate, hahaha.

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  2. The fish bowls are wonderful. I want some and I don't even have any fish! The room looks beautiful.

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    1. Hi Miss Courtney!

      They're so fun, right? We tried African Frogs (totally underwater small frogs) and they were, uh, not as successful. So we recommend Betta fish only if you get the fish bowls. :)

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  3. What a fabulous space! I love the fish bowls and the toadstool theme.

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  4. So lovely! I've never seen fish tanks like that - what a great addition to your reading room!

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    1. Thank you! It's a fun way to display them for sure! :)

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    2. Do you have an issue cleaning the fish bowls? I'm thinking in terms bc I would have to do it haha! Is there an easy way to do it? Darling area!!

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    3. Hi Blueberries N Cucumbers! Hahahaha - yes, I do the cleaning, too! No, it's not a problem. I (carefully) dump the fish into a smaller container, then dump the rest of the water, do a lot of swishing to rinse, and if there's any algae growing (which sometimes happens in the summer) I just reach in with a paper towel and wipe it off. :) Thank you!

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  5. Another fish bowl question here - is it difficult to take down the fish bowl off the one screw? How often do you clean the tank?

    Do your kids leave the water alone? I'm not concerned with my 10-year-old and 6-year-old, but my three- and almost 2-year-old may find it to be a fun water table-type activity!

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    1. Hi Heather! We actually don't have ours screwed to the wall - we used a Hercules Hook (hahaha), but you could use any sort of hook and that would work. I just slip it off the hook when it's time to clean. :) S has never messed with the water; X is too young to notice just yet. You could always hang them just out of reach of the 2 year old if you were worried!

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    2. Oh and I clean the tanks around every 3 weeks give or take a few days. :)

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  6. Wondering if you got around to the two level fort? I'd love to see your inspiring ideas for something like that!

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    1. Hi Jenn! It's currently getting planned as their Christmas present. :) I will definitely share sometime in January once it's complete! :) :) :)

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    2. Looking forward to it. Thanks!

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  7. I've gone through several paint samples trying to find the right shade of light blue for our basement playroom. I just stumbled upon your website and was wondering if you know the name of the blue paint in your reading room. It seems pleasant and bright...not aggressive/offensive like the ones I keep choosing - thanks! I LOVE what you've done - thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Oh my word - I hear you! It was SO hard to find the "right" blue. This one is so great we used it in three rooms, hahahaha. It's Glidden Clear Blue Sky - we bought ours at Home Depot. Hope that you love it as much as we do!!!! :)

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Well, hello there!



Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

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