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Designing the Ultimate In-Home Library

Some symbols of success and sophistication never change. Even in our digital age, there’s something about an in-home library that radiates class.

A library as a whole paints a picture of the one who lives there much more than the titles on individual spines. Keep the following in mind when designing your library.

Pick a Style

Designing a library is unique because it doesn’t necessarily have to match the rest of your home. This is particularly true for libraries completely closed off from adjoining rooms.

No matter which style you choose, however, it’s important to stay consistent throughout and avoid a mashup of conflicting artwork and design elements.

Stay Organized

Whether your book collection has its pages turned often or it’s more for presentation than for practical reading material, the library should follow an organizational regimen.

Establish a balanced, tidy order in which books are to be displayed. How you arrange titles—alphabetical, by author or by subject matter—is irrelevant as long as you stay consistent.

Built-in Shelves vs. Furniture

Traditional libraries almost always feature built-in bookshelves that seemingly extend into the walls from the center of the space.

But contemporary libraries have the freedom to add more depth through the use of free-standing furniture, particularly when books are displayed on furnishings not originally designed for that purpose.

Functionality Matters

A well-thought-out library is as much for enjoying books as it is for storing and displaying them.

Incorporate comfortable furniture optimized for reading and provide private task lighting for each individual seating. If a window is available, arrange for at least one chair within reach of natural lighting.

Details Matter

From an ornate rug or crackling fireplace to a signature portrait or antique vase, your library should feature a focal point to pull attention away from the bookshelves.

Ideally the books themselves will become more background and less forefront.

Choose Materials Wisely

There’s a reason why most libraries are wood and leather heavy. This classic look has stood the test of time, and most homeowners prefer their library to journey back to the past as opposed to leaping forward to the future.

Should you wish the latter, by all means, let your imagination run wild. Many homeowners experiment with glass or metal bookshelves. Just be careful to carry out your vision from start to finish.