The Ultimate Luxury: having a designated and designed reading space in your home. There's something magical about having a room, or even just a charming nook, devoted to your treasured books. And having that space as a place where you can appreciate those books, where you can recline in a comfortable armchair and put your feet up, is an added bonus. So how to go about designing your perfect library space?
It's important so scale your library to the size of the space you have—we can't all have Beauty and the Beast sized libraries! Keep this in mind when choosing the area. Keep that space visualised while picking out your furniture as there's nothing worse than buying the perfect shelves and putting them up, only to discover they're inches too big. Comfort is also a really important thing in a reading space. You'll be spending hours in there tucked up with a good book over the winter months so make sure you'll be comfortable!
You don't want to be sitting in the half-dark, squinting in order to make out the squiggles on the page. Good lighting is not only important for design reasons, but also to make sure your eyesight doesn't suffer. There's little worse than spending hours straining your eyes in order to read a story you've been really enjoying. So avoid this, and choose great lighting when designing your reading space.
Reading lamps, such as the one in the above example, are great objects to have standing close to your special reading chair, as they shine straight down on to the open page. And a reading lamp can be directed to shine anywhere, if for one evening you're not using your reading space for reading alone, but instead having company or showing off your home library. Side lamps are also great, if you'd rather not take up the floor space with a floor lamp.
Good shelving is one of the keys things needed in a reading area/library space. You need enough shelves to cope with the amount of books you have, whether a great deal or just a dozen or so. Build your shelves around this number, as you don't want them looking sparse or overflowing. Next is to choose the space most suited to the shelves, whether it's the biggest wall available, a nook in the wall, or used as a partition (as in the above example).
It's important to get the shelves placed correctly, so that they become a feature of the room yet don't take up too much of the room. And then there's the choice between what type of shelf to use; traditional wooden ones which span the length of the wall, tall and towering shelves which reach the ceiling but perhaps not either end of the wall, or even more eclectic shelves, much like in the example above. These shelves are something just a little bit different, with a rather contemporary-twee vibe.
Once you've picked your book off the shelf you'll need a space to sit back and relax, before opening the cover and letting yourself become absorbed in the story. So the perfect chair is necessary for your reading experience. Armchairs are perhaps the most common type of chairs seen in a reading/library space, as they offer a luxurious and comfortable setting, and often come with a matching foot stool.
If you want to be less traditional with your designs, though, perhaps look into a day bed, like the one in the above example. Day beds are absolutely wonderful; they allow for the ultimate comfort as well as being a great design investment. You can accessorise your day bed with cushions, pillows, throws, and really anything else you think would work for your space. They're a simple and elegant addition to any reading area, if you have the space for one.
Perhaps you're one of those readers who would never dare to make a mark on the printed page, but maybe you're one of those readers who loves nothing more than to scribble your thoughts and observations down on the book itself. Penning things into the margins can be a really lovely way to keep a diary of how you were feeling at the time of reading, or indeed to show the progression of thought you experienced the first time you read that particular book. If you're one of these people, or maybe someone who makes notes in a separate notepad, when reading, a desk is a must for you. Even if you're not making notes on the book you're reading at that moment, it's rather lovely to have a work space in the room where you're surrounded by the books that inspire you most. As always, just make sure the desk fits with the size and style of the room.
Bean bags offer that something a little bit different in your reading space. They shouldn't be confined to the kids' room or playroom, and nor do they have to be an awful throwback to your youth. Bean bags can be cool and an eclectic addition to your reading room, in addition to being wonderfully comfortable! They give the space a much more relaxed atmosphere than you would image in a library space, which is really lovely if you don't take your reading too seriously.
Bean bags come in all different shapes and sizes too, anything from the traditional shape (as you can see in the above example) to imitating the design of an armchair. They, too, can come with match bean bag foot stools, which is an added bonus to your levels of comfort.
Any room needs its accessories and you're reading room is no exception. And there are so many ideas to choose from! Accessories can range from almost anything in a reading room, from the family photographs displayed on the shelves to knick-knacks you've acquired from your travels. In the above example we see a candle display, with little rounded candles floating in a glass stand of water.
This is a really lovely design; simple yet very elegant and soothing. A great thing about candles is that you can choose almost any scent, flavouring your room with vanilla and cinnamon, rose water to desert nights. Work with the space you have and choose accessories which suit the atmosphere of your reading space; let it remain that ambient area where you can go to escape day-to-day life.