Dreaming of building a home library? It’s easier than you think! Whether you live in a small studio apartment or a multi-bedroom house, you can design the home library room you’ve always wanted without breaking your budget. Learn how to make your own library with these DIY design and organization tips!
- Find the Right Spot for Your Home Library
- Select Your Home Library Style
- Pick Out Library Furniture Essentials
- Decorate & Organize Your Home Library
Find the Right Spot for Your Library
When it comes to designing your dream home library, it’s all about location, location, location. Whether you have an entire bonus bedroom you can convert into a library room or just a single wall, the location of your home library should be your first consideration as you begin the design process. Ideally, you’ll choose a space with enough room to get cozy for long reading sessions. Below are a few excellent library room ideas!
Living Room Library
Living rooms are one of the best places to set up a library at home. For one, you’ll already have comfortable seating available, so you won’t have to worry about furnishing your library. And no matter how big or small your living room is, adding bookshelves along the walls or installing DIY built-in bookshelves helps you make the most out of your space. Think of it like a two-for-one deal—you get an in-home library, and your living room looks well-designed! If you utilize natural lighting to illuminate your living room, keep in mind too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage the covers of first editions or other rare books, so try to arrange the shelves in your living room library away from the sun to help protect your books.
Den, Study, or Office Library
A study, office, or den is an ideal space for a DIY home library. These rooms are intended for concentration, working from home, or tackling creative projects—which means they’re also a great spot for reading! Swap uncomfortable office chairs with a structured but soft armchair to add a cozier feel while keeping your new library stylish and functional. Include a reading desk, light fixtures, rugs, and other office accessories that match your preferred home decorating style.
Closet or Nook Library
Have a cozy nook next to a window or under the stairs? Or maybe unused closet space somewhere in your home? Turn it into a reading nook! It’s easy to build bench seating and bookcases into these spaces to create library seating and storage for your favorite books. Add simple touches like pillows and shelf decor to make your DIY home libraries extra comfortable.
Rather than using it to store a bunch of boxes and holiday decorations, convert your attic storage space into a library instead! Make sure your attic is finished, so it has the proper bracing to support the weight of bookshelves and all of your books—you might be surprised how heavy they are! Since it’s common for at least two attic walls to be angled toward each other, installing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves can help you maximize available shelf space.
Hidden Library Room
Having a secret library inside a hidden room is a top dream home library idea—and not too difficult to build! If you have extra space in your home, transform it into a hidden room for your own personal library. Close it in with a large piece of art, wall panel, or make your own bookshelf on hinges. You can even use it as a hidden door to mask your secret space! Both quiet and intimate, your hidden library will be the perfect place to escape and catch up on your reading.
Select Your Home Library Style
Once you’ve picked the right spot for your books, it’s time to think about your home library design! Consider what designs, textures, and materials you like, as well as which paint colors best set the mood for reading. Here are some library design ideas to help figure out which style suits you!
The traditional home library design typically embraces a rich, elegant Victorian style. Use wood as the primary material in the room, along with leather or velvet furniture and large area rugs to bring your room together. Built-in library ladders, antique desks, globes, and grandfather clocks also work well with this home library style.
If you want to give a whimsical feel to your home library, take inspiration from classic stories to create your own DIY fairytale library! Evoking a light and airy atmosphere, this library design idea uses bright colors accentuated by wood and wicker materials. Incorporate houseplants and soothing water features to create a dreamy, imaginative library space. Don’t forget romantic, fantastical decorations and comfy blankets to round out the magical ambiance of the room. As a bonus, this library design pairs well with many kids study room decor ideas, making it suitable for the whole family!
A minimalist home library is the perfect option if you’re low on space. Plus, this low-key library style allows you to focus on your reading. Everything from your walls and furniture, to your book collection itself, will be stark and simple with minimalist library design. Remember to keep the room open, bright, and declutter your space to avoid making your library look too busy. For the minimalist decorator, a single bookshelf with your favorite titles can become an eye-catching focal point in any room!
Clean lines, industrial furniture, and efficient use of space are all components of a library with a modern design. Keep palettes to neutrals and earth tones while designing your modern reading room. To capture the refined aesthetic, complement steel and glass with wood and brick or marble, and keep the space open and brightly lit. Also, try including art with bold shapes or typography to jazz up your modern home library.
Bring the outdoors inside with a rustic design for your personal library. By incorporating new or restored wooden furniture, houseplants, and other decor ideas while prioritizing neutrals—like in bohemian and farmhouse styles—you can make your favorite reading spot feel like a homey outdoor escape. Adding vintage or antique decor can help round out the peaceful, pastoral atmosphere for your rustic home library.
Dark Academia Library
Want your home library to have the moody, intellectual feel of an old Gothic conservatory? Implement the dark academia style! Keep the color palette dark and subdued for a more formal aesthetic or bring in the opulence with jewel tones. Furnish your library with rich leather or dark-upholstered furniture to complement the leather-bound texts on your shelves. Decorate with stately objects like globes, statues, sculptures, and gold-framed wall art to give the space a historical, academic feel. Be sure to use opaque curtains and ornate light fixtures to keep the lighting low and bring out the full drama of your dark academia library.
Pick Out Library Furniture Essentials
No matter what style you’ve settled on for your library room design, there are a few pieces you’ll need to turn your space into a reading room and book storage room. Check out these home library furniture ideas!
When it comes to home library shelving, your options are limitless. You can install built-in shelving, build your own DIY bookshelf, add quirky wall shelves, or use upcycled furniture to bring an individualized touch to your personal library! Ensure the shelving you choose is able to hold the weight of your books and don’t be afraid to get creative with your shelf designs to give your space a unique flair. If you have a lot of books, think vertically. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves typically hold more books than short, wide shelving units can—plus, they don’t take up as much floor space!
If the shelving you plan to use for your in-home library is tall, consider buying or building a library ladder. This could be anything from a DIY rolling ladder that goes all the way around the room, to a simple wooden ladder you can prop up against your bookshelves. Not only does a ladder serve a practical purpose in your library—but it’s fashionable, too!
There are a ton of seating options you can use in your home library. Armchairs, floor cushions, loveseats, sofas, chaise lounges, desks with seats, and even DIY reading chairs—the list is endless. Whatever you have space for in your personal library, just be sure it’s something you could sit in comfortably for hours!
Your home library will be most functional if you have some kind of table or work surface, like a traditional reading desk or even a wall-mounted drop-down desk. If your designated space has multiple uses, like an office or a study, a larger desk gives you more workspace. However, if you’re creating a home library in a smaller room, a small end table or coffee table will provide the work surface you need while also serving as a quaint decorative piece.
Having good lighting for your home library is a must. Even if you have windows that let in lots of natural light during the day, you’ll need an alternative light source in your library room for nighttime reading. Decorative wall sconces, picture lights, ornate lamps, electric candles, string lights, and hanging chandeliers can help you create proper lighting while enhancing your chosen style!
Decorate & Organize Your Home Library
As you set up a library at home, it’s important to think about how organization and decoration play a role in creating the perfect reading environment. To avoid distractions and feel comfortable in your new reading space, follow these useful home library decorating and bookshelf organization tips!
Bookshelf Organization Ideas
- By Author: Arranging books by author’s last name is how most public libraries organize their collections. It may be your best option if you’re used to this system.
- By Title: The simplest option for book organization is to arrange books by title alphabetically. This makes it easy for you to find a specific book quickly.
- By Genre: Separating fiction and non-fiction books—as well as organizing by specific genres like mystery or romance—is ideal for anyone who searches for books depending on the mood they’re in. You can even organize books further by arranging them by title or author within each genre’s section.
- By Favorites: If you want to give your most beloved books extra attention, try arranging your books by placing your favorites front and center on your shelves. You can also use a small stand to make them stand out in your collection.
- By Color: A popular option incorporating both decor and organization is arranging books by color. In fact, this technique is great for those who recall what a book looks like more than who wrote it or what genre it falls under. To top it off, this trendy library idea creates an attractive color gradient on your shelves!
- By Size: Whether your bookshelves are oddly shaped and slanted or you have various shelf heights to work with—organizing your book collection by size makes fitting your books into these spaces easier.
- By Surprise: More of an aesthetic than an organizing system, turning your books backward (spines facing the back) makes selecting a book from your bookcase an exciting adventure. You never know what you’ll get! Arranging books with the pages facing out can also help accentuate warm or neutral color palettes—especially those that incorporate light-colored woods, like Japandi home design.
Decorating Ideas for Bookshelves
- Try Different Layouts: When styling a bookshelf, mix up your book arrangement. Position some books vertically, others horizontally, and even a few at random angles to add visual flair.
- Add Decorative Pieces: Whether it’s bookends, artwork, small plants, photographs, or vintage knick-knacks—weave decor among your books to break up space and provide pops of color and personality.
- Focus on Layering: Especially if your book collection is small, you can create depth by layering items of different heights and adjusting where they’re positioned on the shelf.
- Keep It Simple: Remember not to go overboard with your styling. Your bookcases shouldn’t look cluttered. More importantly, you should be able to grab books without difficulty!
How to Arrange Furniture
- Prioritize Comfort: It’s important to ensure your home library is cozy. Keep clear paths to your bookcases and seating, and have blankets or throw pillows handy if you feel cold or need to adjust your position.
- Be Mindful of Clutter: When it comes to library designs for small spaces, don’t add more furniture and decor than is necessary. If the point of the room is to focus on your reading, a cluttered space full of distracting trinkets won’t be good. It’s possible to arrange your furniture to maximize space in a small room while still being stylish.
- Sit Next to Light: Whether you have an overhead light fixture, lamp, fireplace, or natural lighting from a window, position your couch, chair, or cushions in the place receiving the best light.
- Keep Tables Close: Having a small table within arm’s reach of your reading spot is ideal. This way, you have a spot to set your book down, place additional lighting, or put a beverage.
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