35 Design Tips to Create a Phenomenal Home Library

Trista - April 17, 2019

Imagine having a grand library of your own! Okay, it doesn’t have to be as enormous as the Beauty and the Beast home library, but it can be just as amazing. Not only will you have a place to put your favorite books on display, but a private reading nook to escape for a few hours. Your family and friends will ooh and aah over your library space. Nobody will adore your library as much as you though!

However, creating a home library does require some planning to get right. Home libraries tend to have a very personal touch, so you should plan around your home design as well as your style. Check out these design tips so you can create a home library!



1. Find a Quiet Area

Before you can start planning anything, it’s essential that you find the area of your home where there will be the least amount of foot traffic. You don’t want to create a library that everyone’s going to be passing through, where you can’t find the peace to read your favorite book.


2. Do an Inventory

Take inventory of all the books you have to see whether your newly-designated space is capable of holding it all. You may have to get choosy here. Start by making piles of what you could donate and those you would never dare part with if it were your last possession alive.


3. Measure the Room

For your collection, see if the potential library area you’ve chosen is capable of holding floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Not only that, but is your flooring able to keep the extra weight, too? These are things to double check before getting overzealous and ending up with a disaster.


4. Pick Decent Shelves

You get what you pay for so don’t go cheap in this category. You don’t want shelves that bow out under the weight of your books. Pick bookshelves for your library that are 1 ½ inches thick or greater so that they maintain their shape over the years of use.


5. Choose a Style

Not only do the shelves have to be sturdy, but they should reflect your sense of style. Be sure to coordinate with the decor already in the room as well. You also want a library that shows off your books in their best light. Play around with different materials and colors to see what works best.


6. Map Out a Floor Plan

You’re still not out of the woods yet. Before you can put everything together, it is a good idea to draw out the floor plan for your home library. Create a space where the shelves are easy to access, and your seating isn’t making challenging to move throughout the room. Go for simple pieces of oversized furniture and a few lamps to create a comfy atmosphere.


7. Install Quality Lighting

There’s no point in having a home library if you’re going to be straining your eyes to read. Invest in some good lighting that doesn’t take up a lot of space but equally is efficient enough for your area. Include accent lighting along your shelves and ambient lighting to make the room glow. Add floor lamps near seating for targeted lighting.


8. Select the Color Scheme

Do you want a dark and serious library? Maybe you prefer it to be more light and airy. Depending on what look you want to achieve with your library, you’re going to want to coordinate around specific colors. Pick shades that will help you relax at the end of the day and put you in the mood you desire.


9. Secure the Bookshelves

Do you have free standing bookshelves in your library? Perhaps they attached directly to the wall. Your shelf of choice will determine how secure they need to be. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to ensure their durability irrespective of what style you decide. That way you can eliminate the chance of them tipping and falling over onto unexpected guests when your cat jumps on the top of them.


10. Consider the Windows

If you don’t want to turn the lights on during the day, it’s a great idea to build your home library in a room with large windows. You can always add thick curtains that you can close at night to give you some privacy. Reading by bright, natural light is actually better for your eyes anyway.


11. Invest in Seating

Having a single chair at a desk may seem like enough, but it doesn’t hurt to have several seating options. That way if your mood changes, you can always stretch out on a couch or daybed to get more comfortable. You’ll be thankful for the additional choices in seating.


12. Make the Space Cozy

Even though the home library is your private space, you want to make it as welcoming as possible. That way, you will always want to sit in there even if it’s not book o’clock. Add a few plants to the room along with pillows and throws on the relaxing chairs.


13. Imagine a Book Nook

Book nooks are perfect for those who don’t have a lot of space in your house. Nevertheless, these cozy, quaint spots are ideal for curling up and losing yourself in a good book. Don’t let the square footage get you down. You can transform a simple closet by adding shelves and a chair.


14. Create the Classic Look

You could always go traditional and create a standard home library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This distinctive option makes your books easy to get to and puts them on display for everyone to see. Basically, it is both practical as well as aesthetic: a win-win. However, a vast library is only fitting if you have an entire room to dedicate as your home library.


15. Consider an A-Frame Library

Open attics can make great storage spaces for your books. Construct your shelves around the open door for a unique look that keeps everything out of the way while still having an intriguing look. However, be wary of moisture. Attics are close to the roof, which has fluctuating temperatures throughout the year.


16. Use Dark Shelves

If you really want to make your books pop, choose naturally dark shelves. Alternatively, you could paint them. They won’t reflect any lighting, which also makes them less distracting. Not only that but dark shelves can make it easier to coordinate whatever color scheme you want for your library.


17. Build Recessed Seating

Besides the apparent bookshelves, the centerpiece of your home library needs to be your seating options. A recessed area around your shelves can give off the perfect vibe for reading. Place a comfortable sofa and add some wall sconces for mood lighting. This style is ideal for those who don’t have a busy day ahead of them.


18. An Entire Wall

Instead of carving out an area to place your home library, why not make one entire wall your library? This kind of shelving can span the entire length of your home, which is perfect for those who have too many books and can’t dare to part with any of them.


19. Try Different Levels

If you want an epic library that everyone will remember, and some funds to fork over, then this idea is perfect. Can you imagine having a large library that encompasses two stories? Of course, you need a spiral staircase to get to the second level. The rich color of the wood also gives your library a regal, elegant look.


20. Split the Room

You can have a home library, or you could have two. Using a floor-to-ceiling open wall, you can store your publications on both sides, allowing you to have even more books without having more bookshelves. Not only are all bookworms rejoicing at that news, but this library design is an excellent his-and-hers option if you want to keep your books separate but still show them off. Moreover, you’ve created personal reading spaces for both you and your partner.


21. Read Under the Stairs

That little nook under your stairs is the perfect place you have a library. However, you might have to put in the work to transform it. Obviously, you will eventually add a chair and some shelves, but you might have a wall in the way initially. However, you and your kids will definitely have a blast laying around here on a rainy Saturday afternoon.


22. Visit the Thrift Shop

Don’t be afraid to shop for used items for your home library. People are always getting rid of bookshelves and furniture they don’t need anymore. Maybe all they need is just some added support and a fresh coat of paint to look good as new again. This step is a good idea if you don’t plan on building a pervasive library space.


23. Organize Your Books

Getting your books onto the shelves is the first step, but how are you going to find anything if it’s not organized. You don’t have to employ the Dewey Decimal System to categorize your books. A convenient method is to organize them by topic: fiction, non-fiction, art, horror, mystery, romance, et cetera. Then you can use a cataloging app to keep track of what you have and where it is on your shelves.


24. Build Around a Fireplace

If you have a living room with a fireplace, this could be the perfect room for a home library. Build your shelves around the chimney stack, and you have a comfortable place where you can stoke a fire to curl up with your book. Be wary of heat, though, because it can warp wooden shelves as well as your books.


25. Try Shorter Shelves

Not all bookshelves have to go from the floor to the ceiling. If you have a smaller supply of books, get the shelves that you need. However, you can make them look taller by choosing a couch with shorter legs. Add a few thick mats for kids who want to sit and read on the floor.


26. Build a Connecting Porch

Get closer to nature by placing your home library in a room that connects to a deck or porch. You won’t have to go far if you want to read outside in the fresh air. Alternatively, you can stay inside and open the patio doors to let in a gentle breeze. The perfect setting to enjoy a cup of tea with your book.


27. Double the Space as a Home Office

A great home library also affords you the quiet space that can be used as a home office. Set up a new desk and rolling chair so that you can get some work done in peace. Being productive in a peaceful space is always rewarding whether you are getting paid or not.


28. Use a Ladder

Don’t forget to add a handy ladder to get to those taller shelves out of reach. Nothing would be more annoying than to have books so high up that you’ll never get to read because you can’t get to them. Getting a ladder with wheels is best, as long as they have a locking function so that you’re not rolling away when you get onto it. Besides, is your library even a library if you don’t have a ladder?


29. Make it Pop

Don’t forget to add some art pieces to the walls of your library. Again, your library doesn’t have to look drab with typical pictures, either. Add some modern art and feel free to dress up the walls in any way you like. Before you know it, this will be your favorite room in the house.


30. Think about Wraparound Shelves

Don’t pick just one wall, pick all of them! Wraparound shelving works wonders to encompassing an entire room with your books. Real book lovers would treasure spending their whole day being surrounded by endless pages of stories.


31. Curtain a Dramatic Flair

If you want to add a bit of mystery, you can always add a thick curtain to your room to hide your books. Then voila! Pull the curtain away to reveal shelf-upon-shelf of books! It’s also an excellent way to add a splash of color without resorting to the use of paint.


32. Try Diagonal Bookshelves

These are definitely different from bookshelves you’re used to seeing. It has a “honeycomb” effect that adds character and pattern to a room without having to do too much. Now you don’t have to worry about your books leaning over and falling into your shelves ever again.


33. Have Fun with It

Go outside the conventional and choose surprising shelving options. It may not fit into the aesthetic of what you might consider for an ordinary library, but you want yours to be extraordinary, right? Make your home library stand out from the rest of the usual libraries with boring wood shelves and dull carpet.


34. Go Neutral

Pure neutral tones can be less distracting than pops of color. Pair greys and blues together to create a harmonious mood in your library. Wooden furniture is simple and won’t clash with these tones. If you need to add a rug, choose one with an intricate but light design that’s not too busy.


35. Be Bold

There’s honestly no right or wrong way to create a library so go for it! Don’t feel ashamed if your library only has one bookshelf and a chair. It’s a start to your very own beautiful library space.