The Charm of A Home Library

If you are a voracious reader with a book collection to prove it – then it’s time to create a retreat within your home where you can “unplug” from the daily grind – and decompress and relax among your favorite books.   And what better place to do this than in a home library. Decorating a room with books never gets old.  It provides warmth and character to the space instantly drawing you in.  Relaxing among books  somehow warms our souls as we surround ourselves with longtime friends and curious adventures. Whether your home is spacious enough for a dedicated “library”, a mini- library or a transformed  corner of a room– there are a few key elements to keep in mind:
  • Designate a quiet area within your home where traffic is at a minimum.
  • Take inventory of your collection and assess whether the newly designated wall space is able to house them all – if not pick those in the best condition and donate the rest.
  • Make sure that this space is able to tolerate floor to ceiling bookshelves and the excessive weight of the books it will hold.
  • Prevent the shelves from bowing by increasing their thickness to 1 ½” thick.
  • Design the shelving to reflect the style and integrity of the home and have them fastened together and scribed to the wall for greater strength.
  • Select a material and finish that best showcases your collection. (Shelves painted a dark blue or black allows for the books to pop)!
  • Provide a functional floor plan/layout. Have the shelves easily accessible with ample seating to curl up in.  A simple furniture arrangement such as a pair of oversized chairs, sidetables and lamps may be all you’ll need.
  • The proper lighting in your “library” will have a great impact over the space – and highlight your gorgeous collection. The combination of natural, general  (overheads, preferably on dimmers), task  (lamps with tri-light bulbs) and accent lighting (lighting shelves, plants, art etc.) will provide you with the best overall result.
Home libraries can be implemented anywhere.  So take a good look around your house – and see if any of these locations work for you.
  • Beneath the stairs
  • In a hallway
  • Around doorways and windows
  • Within the living room
  • An unused corner of a room
  • Loft or upper mezzanine landing
  • Bedroom
  • Family room
  • Home Office
  • Dedicated library retreat (its own space)

These deep dark shelves highlight the colorful collection – and the table and chairs vignette functions perfectly!

Photo: Cote de Texas

Incorporating window seats and bookshelves into this hallway immediately transforms it into a highly functional and beautiful space.

Photo via Patricia Gray Blog

This ideal home library nestled directly beneath the stairs fits in seamlessly with the overall design of the home – creating a multi-functional living space.

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Here is a clever use of space in a very quaint room.  The shelving wrapping around the entrance frames the doorway, highlights the neighboring space and creates a focal point within the room.

Photo via House Beautiful

I just love the dark cabinetry offset with rich bursts of red.  The lower base cabinets visually anchor the tall shelving unit.

Photo via Southern Accents

A stunning two-story library showcases the owner’s extensive book collection and the home’s spectacular architectural styling as well. So where is the best place for your library space? Stay Inspired! I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2011 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

Comments · 6

  1. COMMENT Great post! Practical information for homeowners and for other interior designers as well. What makes a home warm and inviting are our possessions, and books are important parts of our lives. It’s essential that they be stored in a functional way but that they are also a positive addition to the decor. You’ve used beautiful photos as examples!

    1. Hi Leslie!
      Thanks so much for your comments.
      I absolutely agree with you! Displaying our books/possessions is what provides our homes with a “heart and soul” that is unique to each client/homeowner. Implementing books into home decor doesn’t need to be complicated.

  2. I do love books and have one room that is primarily dedicated to them. However, seeing the photo above from Cote de Texas made me realize I have a built in bookcase in my hallway that I’m not really using to full advantage. Looks like I’ve got a weekend project!

    ~ Elizabeth

    1. Hey Elizabeth! How fabulous that you have a dedicated library space! And please let me know how your weekend project works out…..would love to see photos of your hallway when you’re done.

    1. Thank you for the comment John. I totally agree that books/library space creates instant coziness……even if you’re reading from a kindle.

Comments are closed.