How to create the perfect home library | homify

How to create the perfect home library

April Kennedy April Kennedy
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When many people think of a library, they may be thinking of a large public building filled to the rim with a plethora of books and an older lady with librarian glasses ringing a bell! Well it couldn't be more the opposite! In fact, most homes incorporate a home library in their home, simply because they have collected an enormous collection of  of books and would like to store them somewhere. With the digital age in full swing, sometimes it is easy to stop, relax and simply switch off, drink a refreshing iced tea and read. Important to remember is that a library doesn't necessarily need lots of space or a huge budget, all it needs are the tools to create a cosy nook to read, dream and retreat from the world. So how can we make such a space?

Every great home library, no matter how big or small, needs adequate reading light, space for bookshelves and a comfortable chair. Ideally, the space should be a separate room, but an in-home library can be created out of a small corner, upon any wall or even a separate zone in any room of the house. 

The secret to finding the perfect place in your home is simply to find an area that is normally free from foot traffic and free from distracting elements such as televisions and high levels of activity. Don't forget an home library is a place where you can relax and escape the 'real' world.

Start by making your home library a design feature

SJ Bookcase Large & Midi We Do Wood Living roomShelves
We Do Wood

SJ Bookcase Large & Midi

We Do Wood

Don't hide your bookshelves behind doors or in dark corners. Turn them into the unique decorative element as seen in this quirky furniture design by We Do Wood.

The latest trend in in home library creation has been to design and use bookshelves, but for more than just books! Use them to position unique artworks, photos ,flowers or simply leave strategic empty shelves from time to time and fill them with things as you need them. What's great about this space, is that it is versatile and can be utilised in many different ways; a space, which can be seen as an ongoing element that reflects your changing life.

Bookshelves don't always need to be uniform either. While you generally want the bookshelf to be the same colour as the walls, don't be afraid to go asymmetrical. Create a puzzle of different shapes that account for the different heights of artworks and trade paperbacks. Have fun with it.

Choose an area or room

Homely dining room with bookcase Empatika Eclectic style dining room

Homely dining room with bookcase


If you only have a small space keep it simple. It's often helpful to have bookshelves match the colour of the walls, but leave lots of space between books in order to create a sense of spaciousness.

With a more classic building, floor to ceiling bookcases can show off the height of a room. A beautiful wooden ladder could even be used for some old-world glamour.

As a design tactic, bookshelves can be slotted into any number of forgotten spaces such as hallways and alongside the walls of a steep staircase. They can also be used as a room divider to create a more interesting, light filtered division. If you want to take a quirky approach, even those little nooks and small spaces in any older building—like an unused fireplace—can be filled with books. Like in this example, you can emphasise unusual design elements such as the lovely angled roof.

The right furniture to suit your mood

Reading corner with cozy armchair Katie Malik Interiors Living room
Katie Malik Interiors

Reading corner with cozy armchair

Katie Malik Interiors

Comfortable chairs are a must. If you are short on space, a simple chair with lots of soft fabrics or cushions can create a more than adequate reading corner.

Books and wooden furniture are often a good classic combination. The wood evokes a feeling of cosy comfort that invites you to curl up on a chair and disappear into a good book. For a classic old world look choose a chesterfield sofa for a classic old world look. Of course, don't forget to choose a suitable reading lamp.

Design with windows

What bliss. Like this example, a window seat can be converted into a reading nook for daydreaming and relaxation. Dress it up with some comfortable cushions, luxurious full length drop curtains like Cabbages and Roses have done and surround the windows with shelving as well.

Consider how to filter the light from outside and be careful to place your shelves well away from any windows so they don't suffer from moisture damage.

Choose the correct lighting

Dedicated lighting fixtures are an absolute must for creating the warm and intimate ambience of a library.
Ceiling spotlights have traditionally been used. These days people are using simple track lighting mounted inside the shelves to light up the books and create more dramatic displays. More modern lighting options include attaching pendant fixtures strategically around the space or just using small lamps that fit inside the shelves. It's also important to install a separate, directional reading lamp with a dimming option.

Integrate built-in shelving

Bookcase Tim Jasper Living room
Tim Jasper


Tim Jasper

Built-in shelving is an old favourite most classic design. It can be a great way to blend your library into the surroundings, particularly if they are running wall to wall. 

Floating shelving can be a better option for small spaces. Picture rails for children's books or even coffee table books in a living area. If you really want to be adventurous, build a secret bookcase door both children and adults will love.

For more design and inspirational ideas, be sure to have a look at: The Vintage Bedroom: how to guide

Do you have a home library in your home? Let us know in the comments, below!
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