The common book library has undergone such a dramatic evolution in the past few centuries. Once relegated to the private chambers of royals and nobility, stored upon shelves smelling of rich mahogany in the midst of velvet drapes, the reading library became a resource and right for common folk throughout the 20th century, a bastion of civic life. However, with the advent of the Internet and the rapid rise of technology, the library—and books themselves—became digitised, and every classic text, from the Magna Carta, to the world of encyclopaedias, Dickens to J.K Rowling is now readily accessible in the form of ‘1s’ and ‘0s’. But just like vinyl records to the mp3, the book is far from dead, folks. And so too, the reading library. If anything, the library has become a far more intimate thing, a realm of personal pleasure, embraced not so much in a civic way, but in the privacy of ones own home. Today, more and more people are choosing to feature their personal book collections in style with their very own in-house reading libraries.
As the following fabulous examples highlight, they really make a wonderful design statement as well as a creative refuge for the budding bookworm.
Building a home library need not be an arduous allocation of heavy woods and ladders, with cloistered privacy and seclusion. Today’s domestic library can be as simple as this neat set up—a basic wall shelving construction, delightful painted in white, with a simple, sturdy ladder and railing system. A great way to incorporate a dedicated library element to an already well appointed, functional living or sitting room.
A good library is really a question of shelving. You’ve probably got a fine space already in your house just waiting for the right shelf system—here an ordinary sitting room or study, replete with comfortable sitting chairs, transforms into a ready-made reading library with the inclusion of ample vintage floor to ceiling wooden shelves.
Contrast is always a well sought after flavour in any interior space, not least of all your study or aspiring reading library. Plus, when it comes to libraries, more really is merrier; there’s nothing like a decked out wall full from floor to high ceiling of books, magazines and titles. Yet here, we see a neat modern contrast to the otherwise rather classic study setup—the inclusion of corrugated alloy shelving works wonders with the artistic ceiling chandelier and blue velvet rug, giving a light modern touch to the period elegance of the room’s parquetry flooring and elegant white wall hues.
The bold use of marble flooring against the 1970-style woodgrain-shelving unit really bring a strong sense of retro to this library-cum-sitting room setup. There’s a real element of minimalism here, of functionality and purposeful dedication—here, you come to sit, relax and read; the décor and furniture make it easy.
A key consideration when it comes to full-length floor to ceiling library wall space is accessibility—will you be able to reach all those titles on the top shelf? Can you do it comfortably, in a way that doesn’t compromise the room aesthetics? This example delivers a neat solution that caters to both of these needs. Not content with a simple roll-bar ladder, the designers here have taken the opportunity to install a mini-mezzanine level, turning this neat library wall into an delightful home feature talking point, and stunning split-level reading experience.
Now this is a real multi purpose living and entertainment space that breathes charm, elegance and imagination. What a stunning setup: clean, polished wooden floorboards, a comfortable symmetrical lounge setup and an immaculate black grand piano, tied together with this delightful wall to wall embedded book shelving system. A sanctuary room to tinkle the ivories, bask under warm halogen, flick through some classics and let your imagination soar. Encore!