8 Fabulous Ideas For a Dream Home Library
Whether it's a full room or a cozy alcove, dedicating a space for books has its benefits. Books can make for simple and elegant decor, adding instant color, personality, and eclectic style. It also means you can stress less about curating the perfect mix of decorative accessories.
For bibliophiles, walls lined with floor-to-ceiling shelving can be a maximalist approach to a home library that draws focus to favorite books and collections. For collectors, coffee-table tomes can add symmetry, proportion, and depth to surfaces and along walls. And for families with little ones, a great selection of books on display is sure to inspire reading and literacy in your children. But for decor enthusiasts, designing your home library is as much about the books as it is about the shelves, seating, lighting, textures, and more.
For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some uniquely stylish home libraries to get you thinking about how to incorporate more books into your home.
Already have a space you want to turn into a home library but aren’t sure whether to start with built-ins or standing shelves? Let our Decorist designers assist you in figuring out all the right pieces.
Photo by David Land for One Kings Lane.
While we love a smartly curated stack of fashion and art tomes, not all displays have to be so precious. An eclectic array of time-worn books can infuse an unfussy, lived-in feel that’s truly inviting. Don’t worry about organizing by height or color. Instead, group books by categories and stack them horizontally and vertically for that perfectly imperfect look. Matching library lights, sconces, or even complimentary artwork on each bookcase will keep it all from looking haphazard.
Photo by Tony Vu for One Kings Lane.
You don’t need an extra room or even an empty nook to design a home library. Find areas where shelving can be nestled in (think corners and recessed walls). Any wall lined with books adds visual interest, depth, and comfort. Here, a library wall warms up a dining room, while providing the perfect place to store treasured cookbooks, magazines, and family photo albums.
Streamline The Design
Photo by Joe Schmelzer for One Kings Lane.
For minimalists, books can feel like clutter or visual chaos—but that doesn’t mean you have to live without them. Fill shelves with books in monochrome or a neutral palette, and even the tallest stacks will evoke a sense of simplicity and calm. Here, piles of magazines and quarterlies work to create a completely white backdrop, a fun optical illusion when you consider all the colorful content within those publications. And consider this: For the books you own, cover them in solid or marbled paper to achieve the same monochrome effect.
Photo courtesy of Ally Gwozdz.
Who says libraries have to be cloaked in mahogany woods and filled with academic ephemera? Design the library as you would a playroom or kid’s bedroom, and you’ll find yourself feeling invigorated every time you go to grab a book. Here, all it took was a fresh coat of Charlotte Locks paint by Farrow & Ball to turn this home library into a bright, playful, and welcoming space. A medium-gloss finish dials up the vibrancy, making this a room that appeals to all ages.
Keep It Low
Photo by Nicole LaMotte for One Kings Lane.
If your home lacks the wall space for traditional shelves, consider a low-slung bookcase. Take cues from a public library, or bookstore, and use them as dividers to carve out an area just for lounging and reading. Plus, the top of the bookcase can serve as an extra surface for books, lighting, and decorative objects. For an ultra-relaxed vibe, skip the furniture and decorate the area with a rug and some poufs or floor pillows.
Let The Kids In On The Fun
Photo by David Land for One Kings Lane.
Books and childhood go hand-in-hand, so if you're designing a kid’s room, consider making their favorite stories part of the décor. The colorful spines, fun designs, and quirky titles work as eye candy, and the bookshelves will also be a great place to store toys and display mementos. Low bookcases or built-ins, like this one over a window seat, are just the right height and placement to make it easy for children to reach titles without assistance.
Color Block It
Photo by Laura Alexandra for Stone Textile Studio from One Kings Lane.
Create an arresting visual statement by color-blocking titles in a home library. Organizing books by color is a tried-and-true stylist's trick to make spines blend in with their surroundings (this way, they don’t distract in photographs). Choose a palette that complements or enhances your room color, as seen in the cool tones here. Or consider a monochrome or neutral mix, which will have an equal impact when displayed together. You may also want to try removing book jackets; books often come in beautiful solid colors that are concealed by their paper covers.
Photo by David Tsay for One Kings Lane.
There's nothing like a well-furnished reading room that's surrounded by books and hardcover tomes that reference your hobbies and personal interests. Carve out a corner at home where you can indulge in your favorite reads. Pull in a desk and a comfy chair, and then frame the space with bookshelves all around. It will transform the spot into a home library that also doubles as an office when needed. To round it all out, add in sconces and hang a painting above the desk for an equally inspiring view that will spark your imagination.