Home libraries are a fantastic expression of personality and character within a home. No two libraries are alike – your unique collection may include a selection of favourite authors, beautiful art and photography albums, or classic titles from around the world. But the creativity and imagination doesn’t have to stay bound between the covers – your library itself can be a work of art, a carefully considered and curated collection that is a captivating focal point in your home.
Size of collection
This may seem obvious but is easily overlooked – just how many books are in your collection and how much space will you need to house them?
Get the most out of your library by thinking about how you are most likely to use it and incorporate these ideas into your design. Who will be utilising the library and how? Do some books need to be more accessible than others for children or perhaps work? Do you want to incorporate a reading space or office into the space?
Placement of library
The most common place for a home library is in a lounge/living area or bedroom. These are popular choices as there is easy access to somewhere comfortable to curl up and the warmth and character books add to a room make these areas feel inviting. For something different, why not line your library along a stretch of hallway, making functional and interesting an otherwise transitional space?
Shelving and lighting
Every artwork needs a frame and your library is no different. Wall shelving is most commonly used as it is a practical use of space – but don’t be afraid to experiment with unconventional shapes! Look at different shapes and finishes for your shelving, decide between inbuilt and freestanding units and make a decision on lighting - incorporating lighting into your shelving is a way to draw focus to aspects of your collection. Add cohesion with the overall room design by painting your bookshelves the same colour as your walls, or add interest by painting them in a contrasting colour or using exposed wooden or metallic finishes. Freestanding shelving is another great way to add interest. You can position bookcases away from walls to break up a room into sections – a great idea if you want to create a cosy ‘reading nook’.
Organise and arrange
Organising your library is a very personal but sometimes daunting task. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to sort your books into categories – group non-fiction books by subject and interest and fiction books by genre and author. From here, your placement of books within your library space should relate directly back to how you want your library to function. Books that will be accessed regularly should be easily reachable. To create visual interest amongst your collection, experiment with stacking and arranging books in different ways, colour blocking and using books of different sizes.
A library doesn’t need to be just about the books. Add other personal touches such as ornaments, vases, artworks and photographs to your shelves to complete your collection. Be strategic in their placement – if you have a section of travel books, why not place some souvenirs from your travels around them? Place photographs in front of books that are looking worse for wear and use ornaments to bring out colours and details amongst the covers of your titles. You can even hang a favourite painting in the middle of the bookshelf.
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