You’ve always wanted a home library. Now’s the time to make it happen. Image: Trilogy Cabinets & Design
Most bookworms we know dream of having a space where they can escape from the world with a good book. Though home libraries may sound like a thing of the past, there’s no reason why you can’t create one of these areas in your own home. All it takes is a little planning to make sure this project comes out the way you’ve always envisioned.
Since these spaces are highly personal, much of your design will come down to your tastes. But there are some tips to help ensure your home library functions at its best, regardless of your aesthetic. Read on below to get one step closer to creating your dream home.
Proper shelving is key to your display. Image: JWT Associates
Focus on your display
Proper storage is the holy grail of the home library. If you’re an avid reader, you’ve likely spent a lot of time storing your books in less-than-ideal conditions. Now that you’ve committed to designing your very own library, it’s time to proudly put your books on display.
The first step is picking the best location in your home for this project. Few are lucky enough to be able to dedicate an entire room to the task. Rather, it’s much more common to find creative ways to share space with a home office or formal living space. If need be, a smaller reading nook can also be carved out from previously unused space in a master bedroom or loft area.
Once you can picture where your library will take shape, it’s time to get serious about storage. Floor-to-ceiling shelving units or built-ins are the traditional choices. However, these days, homeowners are getting more creative. Search out some design inspiration for alternatives that will work in your unique space.
Make sure there’s plenty of seating. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors
Create the right seating arrangement
After storage, proper seating is the next most important part of a home library. There are very few hard-and-fast rules here, but whether your space will accommodate a single chair or you have square footage for a whole grouping, it should be comfortable. This is one of the few times we’ll advise you to forgo ultra-modern minimalism in favor of the larger, more plush pieces common in traditional design.
Once you have your furniture in place, designing a proper layout is the next step. Of all the seating arrangements in your home, this one in particular should feel welcoming. Try arranging each piece at a slight angle to bring a casual and comforting air to the space. When there is more than one seating element involved, you’ll want to position them so they’re angled toward each other rather than turning away.
Layer lighting to make reading easy. Image: Amanda Kirkpatrick Photography
Layer your lighting
While proper lighting is a key element in every room in your home, it’s especially crucial in a library. No one likes the struggle of squinting to make out words. Providing a proper lighting scheme, as well as the right type of light, is essential to the room’s ability to function the way you want.
Start by reviewing your existing lighting scheme. Ideally, it will feature at least one of each of the following:
- Ambient: Also known as general lighting, ambient light fills the majority of the room and allows you to move around safely. It usually comes from recessed lighting, track lighting or wall-mounted fixtures.
- Accent: Accent lighting is used to highlight a particular focal point, such as a piece of wall art. Picture lights, wall-mounted-fixtures or track lighting are common, and dimmers are often used on these features to provide mood lighting.
- Task: As the name suggests, task lights are used to assist you in completing a particular function. This could be anything from desk lamps to pendant lights that hang over a kitchen island.
Here, your ambient and task lighting is most important. Make sure to have one of each directly above or beside each spot in your seating area. Then, provide the right light temperature. Day bulbs, ranging from 5,000K-6,500K, are the best choice for reading, so you may want to invest in a few of those.
This space should be as cozy as possible. Image: Kevin Dakan Architect
Make it cozy
The last component to any home library is coziness. While this isn’t an official principle of interior design, in our minds, it’s absolutely essential here. After all, this space is an indulgence at heart. Your final product needs to feel like somewhere you’d gladly curl up with a good book for hours on end.
In this case, utilizing textiles is an especially great option for bringing a level of comfort to the room. For example, you can ground the space with a nice, plush throw rug. Then, add a few throw pillows to each chair or sofa in your seating arrangement. Finally, consider adding a soft blanket to the mix to keep warm in cooler temperatures.
The last component is adding an element of personalization. Since your home library will likely function as an escape from the stresses of everyday life, that’s incentive to make it feel like an oasis. Whether it’s a piece of wall art or a particular décor item that will make this room feel like your own, here is official permission to invest.