It seems entomologists all have a desire to have a "Bug Room". While I am not officially an entomologist, I am no different in my desire to have one of these natural history rooms in my house. If you aren't a "Bug lover" perhaps there are other things within nature that inspire you, and you desire a room that reflects that. I love all aspects of nature and needed to get my "things" from all over the house, and locate them in one place where they could be enjoyed and appreciated. We are cramped for space around here with each room in the house occupied, either by myself and my hubby or our children or just normal living spaces, like kitchen, bathrooms and living room. My desire to have one of these rooms to display my varied collectibles and treasures was delegated to the basement. We live in a 1950's ranch style house with a concrete block basement.
One corner of the basement was an old canning kitchen with cabinets that were precariously hanging from the foundation. I got my son to help me with demolition and it wasn't long before we had those cabinets down and burned. They were so old they went up like tinder. Once the cabinets were removed and all the junk cleared from the space, it was time to decide on a wall color.
My husband made makeshift walls out of lattice to "box" the room off. The remaining two walls needed paint. I finally decided on a dark navy blue for one wall, and the other is painted a grayish-purple. Next project was painting the floor. I opted for something durable and practical and used gray porch paint. The fumes nearly ran us out of the house, but the floor is clean now. One lattice wall was left to hang pictures and posters from, and the other was covered in curtains in a pattern that is reflected in the paint color. I have a collection of old quilts and utilized them to cover some chairs I found at a garage sale. A large rag rug was laid on the floor for color and for warmth. I purchased a few bookshelves. I carried untold amounts of books from all corners of the house to the basement. I grouped them by type. Insect guides, bird guides, mushroom guides, tree guides...etc. There are two bookshelves located at the doorway to my room that blocks the view to the furnace and creates much more needed book space. These shelves hold my photography books and all my fiction novels. The desk in the room was another garage sale find, for $2.00, and it already had a great crackled paint finish. The pale green glass front display cabinet is one of my greatest treasures. My brother (now deceased) built it in woodworking class when he was in high school, it was made to be a gun cabinet. He later gave it to our grandfather who turned into a bookcase. He stained it a horrible dark walnut. I inherited it several years ago and painted it a light mint green and crackled it, then stenciled lavender roses on it. It holds an antique teacup collection that belonged to my grandmother, as well as many other little treasures collected over the years.
I am able to display my photography here as well as my insect collections and numerous other "finds". I use this room more than I can tell you, I've spent untold amounts of hours here, reading, researching and writing. This room inspires me and uplifts me. If at all possible, everyone should have a room in their home that reflects their personality. Even if you have to carve it out of your basement.
So while it might not have the glitz and glamor of some Bug Rooms, it certainly makes me happy, until we can build a better room. Sometimes there is something to be said for being creative and working with what you have as cheaply as you possibly can.
UPDATE: Since posting these pictures of my bug room/library we have hired a contractor and remodeled the basement. I now have an office/library. I also have a separate insect/reptile room attached to the main room.
It is nice to have such a beautiful room to do my research, to read, and to display my collections and treasures.
(This buffet was purchased for $2.00 at a local consignment auction. I traded some used furniture I didn't want any longer to a woman who refinished it for me. I think it turned out beautifully. The bird cabinet on the left was purchased many years ago at a garage sale)
(This mint green cabinet was originally a gun cabinet that my late brother Marty made in high school shop class. After he passed away my mother gave it to me. It was in terrible shape so I repainted it and stenciled it. It now houses an antique teacup collection that belonged to my great-grandmother as well as a few other treasures from friends and family.)
(My office and library area. The black cabinet was a thrift store find and houses a ton of books. The shelf behind the desk is full of insect field guides. The desk was another bargain find. It came from the same consignment auction as the buffet and was purchased for $1.50. The same woman who refinished the buffet refinished the desk for $75. It turned out wonderful.)
(Another view of the office area.)
This wall of shelves is devoted to my husbands collection of crocks, Since the taking of this picture back last summer, it is now completely full. The little desk on the right is another auction find for $5.00. The sewing rocker is a family heirloom that dates back 160 years ago. It belonged to my great-great grandma.
This is my cozy comfy chair that is great for snuggling into and reading a good book)