Build Up Your Home Library {The Lilac Library}

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” 
– Cicero


One of the best words of advice in my motherhood and homeschooling journey was to build up your own home library. 

In a world of every changing politics and morals and seeing history literally being erased or changed, a home-based library – filled to the brim with wonderful, solid living books is quite an asset to your family.

While going to the library was once a joy and a delightful outing many years ago, now, in this new day and age, I would be very hesitant to visit a library with my little ones, not knowing what books would be featured on the shelves.

If we could no longer go to the library, then the library should be brought to us.

And so …

Over the past 15 years, I have been building it up, buying books of all kinds – not just for light reading, but books we can learn from, study, use as a reference, gain knowledge and incorporate as our own personal homeschool library. You can find books on weather, birds of North America, science and medical history, language and poetry, great fiction and classics … it has been a treasure hunt to find some of the books, but it has been a great journey. Of course, I’m not finished building up the library yet – there are a few books, I’m sure, that I still need to locate! {This set, for example, is needed for my growing boys! I have had years of finding books for the girls in my family, but now with three young sons, my eyes are set on building up the boy library.}

Can one ever have too many books?! I don’t think so!

But the problem with so many books is … of course … storage!

We have four large bookshelves (floor to ceiling) already full in our house – but we still had books that were in storage from our move two years ago. Thinking about this issue, I envisioned a built in bookshelf in the little nook of a room that is just off our kitchen. It was just a random room, too small to be a big living area, but not needed for anything other than … well, a nook. I have called it The Little Library ever since we moved into this home, even though it only housed a few books for the smaller children, tucked away on a shelf I found stored in our barn when we moved.

One morning, I woke up with inspiration to clean out this room (which was filled with mismatched furniture and seemed to be a junky sort of room, in my opinion) and create a built in bookshelf and creating a cozy reading area.

With the help of my handy husband (ladies, always marry a man who can work around the house!) … and with some labour of love from my girls … we put together this lovely Lilac Library for home —and with a few weeks to spare … just in time to use it before the nice weather draws us all outdoors for the rest of the summer. Now, we have organized and set up the library to house all the books that were still in storage.

And yes, we painted it purple – as these two items were inspiration to us (a beautiful gift from a friend in Orangeville and a sweet little footstool I found in a local thrift store recently). I was hesitant to use purple as it is a colour that can go wrong, if you get the wrong shade! And it did go wrong – we had to tone down the purple quite a few times to find the shade that we liked.

But in the end, we were happy – a cozy, sweet nook of a library to cuddle up and read a book during stormy afternoons or for the upcoming winter and cooler months …








There’s an old ladder in our barn that I would like to use for our library ladder – I just need to find the hardware for it to be a rolling ladder … because that certainly would be more fun to reach those tops shelves with a darling rolling library ladder!


Ladies, keep working on your homes — making it cozy and inviting, a place that is special for you and your children … and keep building up the library on your shelves. It will be worth it.

P.S. This is a lovely jar of antique marbles, given to my boys from a new friend we have made. The gentleman gave the boys the marbles that he had collected as a young boy – I was thrilled to put the marble jar in our little library, and double thrilled to find out we already owned a resource book on how marbles are made! That’s what I am referring to, moms … to have books on hand for most subjects that will be interesting for your family.


April 23, 2023 - 10:51 am

Janine This is such a lovely room! With darling children to boot! 🙂

I’m so impressed with what you did. I have a huge bookcase like this in my living room. I agree with EVERYTHING you said! I have books in every room of the house + boxes of books that are for younger kids but I can’t let them go. They are waiting for my grandchildren. I also have marbles. They are in a tin but now I’m going to go find a glass jar to show them off!

April 20, 2023 - 3:58 am

Gigi Teresa, that is exactly my point. They are doing the same thing in Canada. I was not raised in a public school system so I cannot compare the educations from then to now but I do know if it not an environment of godly learning, that is for sure!

April 19, 2023 - 7:37 pm

Teresa Hello friend, what a lovely room..and no you can not have too many books!! (wink) My daughter said ‘the way the world is going. keeping our homeschool bible based history books is probably a good idea, or it maybe gone forever and our grandchildren will never know how America began as a Christian nation.” We don’t have a library room, it is a dream of mine. My daughters has their books in their room, and I have a bookcase in the living room. Maybe one day we can turn a room into a library. Hugs to you ~ I would love to see your book collection it looks like a nice one.

April 19, 2023 - 6:50 am

Gigi Hi Amy — I did before we moved … I will have to check!

April 18, 2023 - 7:54 pm

Amy Do you have the Ralph Moodie series? Good for boys and girls but especially for boys

April 18, 2023 - 3:46 pm

Gigi Monica, I am drawn to the room, too, also a great room for nursing the baby and having some privacy at times. 🙂
And you are so right with the fines from the library – I’m not good at returning them, even if I tried…

April 18, 2023 - 3:45 pm

Gigi Laura, so glad you have your cozy spot to read, as well! You’ll have to send me some photos. 🙂
And I love that we both have purple in our homes! I had a purple dining room in the last home …

April 17, 2023 - 6:52 pm

Laura Jeanne Gillian, how absolutely perfect! The “toned down” purple of your library nook is exactly the same colour my bedroom is painted, so I don’t think I have to tell you that I absolutely love it. What a blessing to have this sweet little area to use for this purpose. And what glorious natural light comes in from that big window!

I too, have been organizing new bookshelves that my husband just built in the room on our main floor which was our computer room/home office. Our room certainly isn’t as charming as yours, but still, it’s glorious to finally be able to display all our books in a way that does them justice. And I have already been finding it handy for homeschooling purposes, because when I need a particular book I know just where to find it! I also found some plain white bookends on Amazon that help a lot in making me feel like our little room is a “real” library. 🙂

April 16, 2023 - 4:55 am

Gigi Oh definitely, I am so sad to see the progression of takeover during that particular month.
Yes, I love all the books you just mentioned! There are so many good books to read!

April 16, 2023 - 4:54 am

Gigi Oh Ruthie, yes, can you keep some of the books for grandchildren? Books do take up a lot of room, but if you can keep the special ones, that would be nice. Some of the older books are so very hard to find now.

April 16, 2023 - 1:08 am

Ruthie When I saw this post, I just had to ask my daughter to read it with me. She’s an avid reader, so she just loves the idea of your library! I am past my homeschooling years and have a friend that wants to help me pack/give away my school books. I kept procrastinating because it’s been such a huge part of our lives, so this is such a great idea! Now, to find a little nook ☺️

April 15, 2023 - 8:59 pm

Regina Shea I love books of all kinds but my favorites are the classics. I just obtained a third copy of Little Women. I think I now have two Anne of Green Gables, two Pride and Prejudice and of course the three Little Women I mentioned all with different covers. I understand what you mean about the libraries. I won’t go during June and I won’t visit any of the library website because of “Let’s celebrate our sin month” aka Pride Month.

April 15, 2023 - 6:53 am

Monica It is so very lovely. I would be drawn to it myself (with it being right there by the kitchen….I would be distracted from cooking…haha)…. You have such a gift to create cozy, beautiful, old-fashioned spaces! I thought of another reason not to visit the library…FINES. Who can possible get the books back on time, every time?! Not us. In fact, I dropped by the library a couple of weeks ago and I still have the books…yikes. So another point is that with a home library, nothing has to be hurried to get the books back before you have to pay fines. (*must make a mental note to return books*)….I loved this post!

April 15, 2023 - 4:45 am

Gigi Thank you, Mrs. White. Yes, it does take a long time. I have told the girls when they homeschool their own children, I will be here for them to use as a resource library… 🙂

April 14, 2023 - 9:13 pm

Rebecca I love it! So cozy and fun! We also have built several built-in bookcases in our home, but I always need more book space! I recently turned one of our hutches into a bookcase in our homeschool room. And I agree about the library. I have fond memories of going to the library and discovering good books, but I don’t ever take my own kids. I choose to just buy the books myself.

April 14, 2023 - 5:36 pm

Mrs. White This is excellent advice. It takes years to build up a home library of quality books. You are doing a great job! Your bookcases are stunning. I love the library room you created. Your family will cherish it! God bless you!