How to Set Up Your Very Own Home Library

How to Set Up Your Very Own Home Library

DIY
Additions and Remodels
By Dikran Seferian December 09, 2021

Just because we live in an age of technology doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the works of Hemingway, Orwell, and Jane Austen the traditional way. If you’re an avid bookworm, you probably have an impressive collection of books that you’d love to showcase in a neat and tidy display. A home library is therefore something that you may be aspiring to have — so does every literature aficionado. Fortunately, you don’t need to go above and beyond to create your very own reading area. All you basically need is a bookshelf, a comfy chair, and a few elements to set the mood. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can set up a fully functional library at the comfort of your home — even if you’re on a budget.

Choose a Spot

The preliminary step to creating your home library is to select an ideal spot for it. The space essentially needs to be calm and quiet. Reading requires a good deal of concentration — and nothing disrupts your concentration more than constant noise and traffic. An alcove in a bedroom, for instance, can be the perfect zone for a peaceful library. You may want to avoid humid areas such as a basement; humidity tends to ruin books over time, often causing mold to grow on book covers. Places that get a lot of sunlight are also not suitable for bookshelves; UV rays are known to cause the color of the books to fade.

Consider spaces in your house that are idle — why have a guest bedroom when you’re not expecting any guests to stay over? You can easily turn that space into your very own home bibliotheque.

Ideal Spots to Set Up a Library at Home

Ideal Spots to Set Up a Library at Home

Set a Budget

Laying your budget from the start will serve as a guide throughout the steps in creating a home library. When you’re setting a budget, it is a good idea to make a list of priorities. What are the must-have features of your personal reading area? How many shelves will you be going for? Differentiating between needs and wants is also helpful in allocating your funds properly — the needs being the priority. Once your list is complete and you have a surplus of funds, you can treat yourself to something from your "wants" list. Also bear in mind that you will probably be spending endless hours in your private reading nook. That is why it's important that it resonates with your personal taste. 

Try a Thrift Shop

Getting thrifty with your DIY library can be a helpful way to stay within your budget. You’ll probably find second-hand items that are almost as good as new. Consider shopping for bookshelves and other accessories at yard sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Chances are you’ll even find a fancy armchair for your reading nook at a bargain — but make sure it’s comfortable enough to sit on for extended periods of time. If you’re looking to expand your book collection, open bazaars can be an ideal source. You may, however, want to avoid impulse buying — even a generous budget can run out when you get carried away with your purchases.

Mind the Shelving

Choosing the layout and amount of the shelves essentially depends on how many books you are planning to store. Floor-to-ceiling shelves, for instance, are the obvious choice if you have an extensive collection of literature. Floating shelves or a small bookcase, on the other hand, can be enough to accommodate a smaller book selection. If you’re not sure how many shelves you need, try to err on the right side; having extra room for future additions is always better than running out of storage space and having to cramp your books. In any case, an important aspect to account for is fastening the case goods firmly to the wall. With all the books you’ll be storing, you’ll want the shelving unit to be stable.

Another factor to consider besides shelving is floor support. While a fully-stacked bibliotheque certainly carries an aesthetic appeal, you may want to make sure the floor beneath it can withstand the weight over time. Consider asking a professional contractor for tips regarding this matter.

Shelving Solutions for a Home Library

Shelving Solutions for a Home Library

Choose an Ambience

Your home library room should ideally be a warm, welcoming, and comfortable space — one that you’ll always be looking forward to spending a few hours in. Otherwise, what’s the point of having one if it doesn’t appeal to your senses? The elements that go into creating an ambiance that speaks to you include lighting and color scheme — among other factors that serve either form, function, or both.

Artificial lighting is more preferable in a library setting as natural sunlight tends to degrade book covers. Sconces, floor lamps, and small chandeliers are all ideal options depending on the library design you’re going for. Another element to account for is the color palette of your reading room. If you prefer a classic look, consider going for luxurious brown or mahogany for the hard furnishings paired with damask wallpaper. Calmer tones such as light gray, off-white, or pinewood, on the other hand, can create a more modern or minimalist aesthetic.

Furnish Your Library

Your library is not complete without the furniture. A comfortable place to sit and somewhere for that nice cup of earl gray tea will make your reading space a lot homier. However, it’s best to avoid incorporating too much furniture. A soft armchair and an end table are all that you need to furnish your reading area. An area rug and a couple of throw pillows can accentuate the design style while providing further comfort.

Regarding placement, make sure the seat is not facing the light source; you wouldn’t want glare in your eyes as you’re reading a book. Arranging the sofa with the lighting directly behind it, on the other hand, can create a shadow on the page. An ideal positioning would be such that the illumination is directly above the reader. For instance, you can adjust a floor lamp in a way that it’s pointing down towards the chair. 

Library Design Ideas

It is worth keeping in mind that this is your own personal library and not a public one. Feel free to design it according to your taste. Whether you prefer classic styles that exude Shakespearean vibes or modern aesthetics for a more casual setting, your reading nook should be a reflection of your sensibilities. 

Mid-Century Modern Reading Nook

Besides the obvious purpose of creating a home library, you could also take the opportunity to try out an interior design style. Mid-century modernism, for instance, can provide both comfort and aesthetics to your reading quarter. You’ll find out that achieving this look is fairly simple. An armchair and an ottoman can sit beside a white bookshelf. Meanwhile, patterned upholstery can introduce a subtle charm to the nook. An off-white wall color adds to the soothing simplicity of the library.

Modernist Designs for a Home Library

Modernist Designs for a Home Library

Victorian Study Area

You can have a more fancy reading area by designing it in a Victorian style. As sophisticated as it may look, having a home library that exudes Victorian splendor shouldn't be hard to attain. A vintage fauteuil chair and an escritoire that you can salvage from a thrift shop can provide the luxurious look you’re aiming for. The color palette can consist of dark cherry for the shelving and a complementary hue — such as light blue — for the wall. You can also incorporate antique elements such as a farmhouse table clock to accentuate the style.

Bringing Luxury and Style to Your Home Atheneum

Bringing Luxury and Style to Your Home Atheneum

Cozy Bookworm Zone

Who doesn’t enjoy snuggling up on a comfy sofa with a hot cup of cocoa and some Agatha Christie? If that aesthetic speaks to you, consider going for a reading area that has ‘cozy’ written all over it. A settee instead of an armchair can add extra comfort while a chunky throw blanket offers warmth on cold evenings. You can also throw in a couple of cushions to serve as accent pieces. An end table beside the sofa could provide additional storage space for a selection of books that you intend to read soon.

How to Create a Comfortable Setting for Your Book Room

How to Create a Comfortable Setting for Your Book Room

Contemporary Reading Space

If you have a taste for all things contemporary, you could apply that style to your book room. The contemporary design style essentially makes use of traditional elements to create a trendy look. Consider wooden shelving to display your collection of books and perhaps a Barcelona chair to make yourself comfortable on while reading them — try looking for the chair on Craigslist. A brick wall imitation wallpaper can serve as a feature while allowing you to stay within your budget. You can finalize the set-up with an old coffee table that’s been otherwise gathering dust in your garage.

Popular Ideas for Your Library Furniture

Popular Ideas for Your Library Furniture

Nature-Inspired Home Library 

You can’t go wrong with natural elements for your literature corner. Consider Scandinavian elements of design such as a wicker chair and a jute area rug. An Ikea shelving unit can introduce a touch of minimalism to the space while offering storage space for your books. Incorporating a few houseplants will add a splash of vibrancy while maintaining the Scandi aesthetic. For the wall, a light gray tone can accentuate the soothing aura of your library’s design style.

Bringing the Hygge to Your Reading Area

Bringing the Hygge to Your Reading Area

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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