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Tips for Creating a Home Library

by Paige Pesko

Girl sitting in front of books

You’ve likely been accumulating books for years, and now that you have your own home to put them in, the options for how to design your home library seem endless—and they are! Bookshelves come in hundreds of styles and colors, making it difficult to know which ones to pick. You want your shelves to match each other and your decor, but they also need to grow with your collection. Check out these tips for creating a home library before you get started.

Pick the Right Location for Your Home Library

When you consider a home library, you might think of a room that holds all your books or a shared space where you can see your collection throughout the day. Whatever your dream, it’s important to decide how you wish to set up your home library. Choose a location in your home that will best suit your needs and the number of books you have.

Turn Your Living Room Into a Home Library

If you like the idea of seeing your books in the common areas of your home so that you can enjoy them throughout the day, consider putting your home library in your living room. All your books don’t have to be in the same space or even the same room. You can spread them out throughout the house to add sophistication to every space.

When choosing locations in your main room to place shelves, consider how the shelves will mesh with the rest of your room decor. Further, you should add bookcases in areas that don’t get much traffic so that you won’t risk knocking them over or damaging the books. You can put a bookshelf at the front of the house in an entryway or in a formal dining room. Other unique places include under stairways and in empty corners.

Transform Your Spare Room Into a Home Library

You can also turn a spare room into a home library. Especially if you own many books, you will need the space that a spare room offers. With an entire room for your home library, you can line all the walls with shelves. Cover the windows or leave them open. This space can double as a study or an office.

Pro Tip: Leave the windows exposed to get adequate lighting in your home library. Lighting is important to any interior space and will help bring out the details in your books.

Map Out Space for Your Home Library

Once you decide on a location for your books, you’ll need to map out a design. To ensure that you buy shelves of the right size, measure your space carefully. You should also measure shelves before you buy them to make sure they will fit. While you are mapping out your design, keep in mind that you will need at least a few feet of space to walk between furniture. If you don’t leave yourself enough breathing room, you risk knocking over a shelf and leaving yourself with a mess to clean up.

Choose Your Bookshelves

Part of designing a home library is choosing bookshelves. One option is to install custom-made shelves; many designers recommend building shelves into your walls to create extra storage and save space. When you choose bookcases, pick ones with adjustable shelves and cabinets at the bottom. This setup will give you more options and a different aesthetic than typical bookshelves.

Whether you put your home library in a spare room or your living room, you have many design options to consider. You could install bookcases large enough to fill an entire wall if you have enough space, or your home may only allow you to fill spaces beneath windows or against empty walls next to a fireplace. You can use bookcases of different sizes and shapes, as well as alternative shelving like multimedia shelves, to design a home library that meets your needs.

Pro Tip: Invest in sturdy shelving to support your heaviest books. Strong shelves won’t sag, no matter how much weight you place on them.

Select a Library Color Scheme

Choosing a wood color for your home library sets the atmosphere of your space. Consider the room’s existing aesthetics, particularly if you’re adding shelves to your living room or another common area. Coordinate the wood type with your existing furniture. Darker stains are traditional and sophisticated, while lighter wood is trendy and modern. You should choose what makes sense with your decor and makes you feel most at home in your space.

Decorate Your Home Library

Making your home library look stunning is about more than buying top-quality bookcases. You also want to decorate your bookshelf so that it is pleasing to look at. Bookshelves at community libraries are not always attractive—they don’t have to be—but your home library can look however you choose. You can personalize your shelves with family photos, travel souvenirs, and anything that makes you happy. If you do wish to keep your library space traditional, you can decorate with table lamps, globes, vintage books, and encyclopedias.

How To Organize Your Books

There isn’t a right or wrong way to organize your literature. While most people alphabetize by title or author, you could organize by size or color for a different aesthetic. Unique shelves may help you stack your books in fun ways, but you can also stack however you wish. Try a mix of vertical and horizontal stacking to add style and visual appeal.

Pro Tip: Try not to double stack books! You’re less likely to read the ones you can’t see.

Choose Books for Your Bookshelf

The most inexpensive books will be available at thrift shops and other secondhand stores. If you want to find books that add a specific aesthetic, you can easily find books by color and size at used bookstores. Often, books here go for as little as $1. You may also find budget-friendly used books at yard and garage sales, which are especially great places to locate vintage books.

Pro Tip: If you have specific titles you want to read, make a list of them, and be on the lookout while you are shopping.

Consider Seating

You can make your home library look and feel like a library with the addition of seating. You might create a reading nook in your living room, bedroom, or office by installing comfortable seating near a window or in a quiet corner. Seating near your bookshelf encourages you to spend time in your home library and engage with your books. If your home library is part of your office, don’t just depend on your office chair—you want comfortable chairs for relaxing and reading.

Use these excellent tips for creating a home library to spruce up your space and finally make room for your favorite books. Once you decide where you want to put your home library, pick out sturdy bookcases from the Great American Home Store. Our collection of office furniture in Memphis, TN, includes many different styles of bookcases to fit your needs. Check out our stock today!

Home Library Infographic