Reader SOS – A Moody Music Room Design

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for this series is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

How Do I Create A Moody Music Room?

Wendy reached out, looking for help with a lounge area in her new home that she wanted to turn into a moody music room. Basically, the goal for the room is a place to sit back, relax, and listen to an ever growing vinyl collection. Um, yes, please! That sounds so idyllic. But, she didn’t really know where to start. Here’s her submission…

Wendy’s Design Dilemma

The one room I struggle with is what we are calling our “music room”/lounge. We want it to be a spot where we can chill out by the fire without a TV and listen to our ever-growing vinyl collection.

Helping a reader design a moody music room
Picture from MLS Listing
  • The fireplace is not functional and needs to be replaced. I was thinking of a simple cast-stone surround.
  • I envision deeper color walls for a cozy and chill vibe. Plus, I want to pull in art and memorabilia from some of our favorite musicians.
Before transforming this lounge area
  • I bought a green velvet couch that I love and a unique mid-century modern dresser for a steal!
  • We need built-in storage for our record collection.
  • I also need window-covering suggestions!

The Gameplan

Wendy was already giving me a lot of good stuff to work with when it came to the moody music room – dark walls, a green velvet sofa, a love for mid-century modern furniture, and a need for record storage. Those are all totally doable! Here’s what I suggest…

  • Paint the walls and ceiling Benjamin Moore “Hale Navy”
  • Install a cast mantel and fix the fireplace
  • DIY built-ins for record players and vinyl collection
  • Add a vintage 9×12 rug to ground the space
  • Find a brass chandelier, round coffee table, and two cozy chairs
  • Add roman shades to the windows
  • Display a gallery wall highlighting favorite musicians and framed concert posters

Moody Music Room Inspiration

Music room in the basement

When reading through Wendy’s requests, I instantly thought of the coziest music room I know. Our good friends, Jon and Christina, have a gorgeous home here in Chicago, and they also happen to be huge music fans. Their vinyl collection is insane! I featured their stunning home a few years back and you can peruse the entire space here. It’s a worthwhile read!

Bookshelves with colorful books

Their moody music room is the perfect inspiration for the lounge that Wendy wants to create. It’s upscale, cozy, and gives off chill vibes. Jon and Christina’s walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Hale Navy” and I’d suggest that Wendy does the same in her house! It’s a good navy color that’s moody, but not too black. Since Wendy’s home has angled ceilings, I would also paint them navy, to match.

Fireplace Inspiration

Adding a cast fireplace mantel to the space
Photo via Room for Tuesday

My friend, Sarah, over at Room for Tuesday, has the most gorgeous fireplace mantel in her home and this post outlines lots of great cast mantel options. I would suggest doing something similar to Sarah’s setup. They purchased the mantel online and installed it themselves. I also love how she has a round mirror above, with sconces flanking it. I would suggest the same for Wendy’s music room, but with a modern twist, using this black mirror and these brass sconces.

Record Storage

Custom record player and built-in storage

Okay, onto the other big project for this moody music room…the vinyl storage! Jon and Christina had this custom piece built to house both their record players and all of their albums. It’s huge and beautiful and I would use it as inspiration for Wendy’s room.

where to put built-ins in this moody music room
I would place the built-ins on the left wall where the console table currently lives.

Looking at the layout and dimensions of the space, I think the best spot for this would be near the kitchen entry/opening. If they placed it on the fireplace wall, they probably wouldn’t have enough room for their furniture and it would take away from the fireplace focal point. I think a beautiful built-in spanning that wall would be perfection. Plus, they could paint it “Hale Navy” too, so it looks seamless, like it’s been there forever.

Our office built ins for storage

If they want to go the DIY route, I’d suggest using our office built-ins tutorials and customizing the shelf depth and height to fit a standard album. Then, the cabinet could jut out a bit more (as ours do) to house their record players, with hidden storage for games underneath.

The Layout

Moody music room layout

Taking a look at the layout, I actually think the staging in the MLS photos got it right with the sofa, coffee table, and two chairs across. However, I would change things up pretty dramatically from the listing’s overall style. We’d have Wendy’s awesome green velvet sofa, a round coffee table, and then I would suggest two leather swivel chairs opposite the sofa. Swivel would be a nice feature, so they are able to look at the built-ins or face the kitchen or fire.

To ground all of the furniture, I would opt for a large 9×12 rug with vintage vibes. Overhead, I’d add some glam with a large brass chandelier for moody lighting at night.

Similar roman shades

Wendy wanted some window treatment suggestions and I think I would go with Roman shades here. Curtains won’t work with the window jutting out, so I think Roman shades, in a beautiful fabric, are the best bet. I would opt for something similar to the shades we have in Rory’s room, but perhaps a darker color.

Music room in the basement

She mentioned an MCM dresser, but I didn’t snag a photo of it. I would place that on a wall near the window and above it I would add a gallery wall, similar to what Jon and Christina have in their music room. Large format photos and posters of their favorite bands and musicians would pop off of the dark navy walls.

Moody Music Room – The Design

My moody music room design

Cast Mantel // Leather Chairs // Green Velvet Sofa // Chandelier // Rug // Mirror // Sconces // Glass Coffee Table // David Bowie Print // Ray Charles Print

Doesn’t it look like a cozy room to sit back with a cocktail, put on a record, and enjoy the fire? Yes!! Wendy, I’m coming over when you finish this room!

Submit Your Design Dilemmas!

We are taking on more design dilemmas for 2023. Have a room that needs some help? Email [email protected] and include photos, dimensions, budget, and more information about the space. Can’t wait to help some of you out this year!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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