Much Ado about Books: Home Library Inspiration

There was much consternation recently when people believed that Marie Kondo had suggested that people should only keep a maximum of thirty books in their homes. People rebelled against this notion by the ‘Declutter Queen’, jokingly asking if she meant ’30 books per subject?’, ’30 books per shelf?’, ’30 books in the “to be read” pile?’, or ’30 books on the bedside table?’. As it happens, Kondo had simply said that she limits her books to thirty and it works for her but it’s clear that books are precious to so many people.

With that in mind, how many of us have home libraries? How many of us have bookshelves in every room? If you are thinking of building an extension which will include a home study / library, or you’re planning on changing the use of another room (perhaps a seldom used dining room or a spare bedroom) to a home library, here are some inspirational ideas for you to consider.

Scandinavian Home Library

A Scandanavian-inspired home library is perfect if you like muted tones with bursts of colour. Bookshelves tend to be built-in stretching from floor to ceiling so are ideal for rooms with very high or slanted ceilings (you can include a ladder in the design scheme). Built-in bookshelves offer optimum storage, not an inch is wasted. Another advantage is you can vary the shelf height on each row, according to the height of your books.

Victorian Home Library

If you would prefer a cosier atmosphere, the perfect backdrop for snuggling up on a deep buttoned armchair by the fire with a hot drink and your favourite book, then a Victorian-inspired home library might be the best option. While bookcases can be free-standing or built-in, they tend to be of darker woods like mahogany. Accessories such as ottomans, side tables with lamps, leather armchairs or buttoned Chesterfield sofas will complete the design.

Tiny Home Library

If you don’t have the space or a room to devote to a home library but would still love to be surrounded by books within an area of your home, consider creating a mini home library or reading nook in an alcove off the hall or landing or perhaps a corner of the dining room. All you need are bookshelves, books, a chair, a lamp and a side table or desk.

Colourful Home Libraries

Home libraries colour schemes tend to be dominated either by the colour of the shelves or the colours of the book spines. Most design schemes have white, neutral or wooden book shelves but there’s no reason why your home library can’t be different. The green woodwork in this home library, from shelves to cupboards to skirting boards and coving, is certainly vivid, eye-catching and bold.

Blue, particularly in paler shades, creates a very calming environment, perfect for reading. It can be ‘warmed up’ with warm chocolate tones in flooring, seating and accessories.
If painting all the shelves in a vivid and strong colour pushes your design limits, then painting the shelves in the main colour, red as in the example above, and painting the wall to the built-in shelves in a more subtle shade, could be the answer.

Eclectic Home Libraries

And if you are looking for a design that is more unusual and perhaps eclectic, think about the shape of the shelves. They don’t have to be in straight horizontal lines after all. These diagonals are certainly eye-catching.

Check out our other posts:

What your bookshelves say about you

Tips for creating your dream home library

Whether you would like a builder, carpenter, decorator or interior designer to help you create your own home library, we hope these have given you some inspiration to get started. Remember you can get up to four quotes from rated tradespeople on our website.

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