When a friend reached out to me to help her create a home library out of a spare living room I was on board for the challenge.
Her current living room was not being used to its full potential, she knew that she wanted bookshelves but needed a second pair of eyes to pull it off.
I made sure to take note of all her wants to add to my digital design, allowing her to visualize what the space could become.
It's great to plan ahead when designing a space. Write down all your wants and needs for the new space to make sure you can visualize the new space before you begin.
Our major plan with this new design was to add built-in bookcases to create a home library. I suggested adding a rug to ground the space, pulling all the furniture together.
We decided to swap out one large sofa for two accent chairs creating more of a conversation area. And finally adding side tables, lamps, plants and artwork will really pull everything together and give it that cozy library feeling.
How can I make a home library?
The best way to turn your living room into a home library is by adding floor-to-ceiling bookcases, comfy furniture and of course a lot of books.
You want to create the same feel of a library even at home. Designing a space that is quiet and cozy.
Choosing a room in your home for your library is key. Choose a room that does not receive a lot of traffic, a room far away from the kitchen possibly. Possible options could be an unused office space, a second living room, a spare bedroom or even an attic.
The room we designed is at the back of the house, not in a high traffic area, making it a nice, quiet option.
Placing a bookcase along the largest blank wall in the room is best. You want a wall that is not obstructed by windows or door frames. Placing a bookcase along a long, blank wall will help to create a warm and cozy feel.
Library furniture needs to be comfortable. Having more than one option for seating is key as well. Create a space for a family read-a-loud and a place for individual reading is a great option.
Lamps are a great option for lighting in a library. Keeping the lighting low is nice for setting the mood in a quiet space. Have different options to light different areas of the room is also great.
How much does it cost to build a home library?
Built-in bookcases can be very expensive, we were able to make ours for less than $1,000 by using Ikea Billy Bookcases. After building the bookshelves we were able to assemble them in a way, making them look as if they were all one large pieces.
Building a home library on a budget?
Setting up a personal library can take time and get expensive, but it doesn't have to.
To fill your library look at second-hand stores first, books are ofter a tenth of the original price and a lot of the time you can find newer and older titles.
Other places to check out are discounted online stores. The local library often has yearly or bi-yearly sales where they sell old library books as well as books that have been donated. Fees are often by donation with the money going back into supporting the library.
Occasionally schools will also give away old books at the end of the school year, oftentimes for free.
Lastly, make it known to friends and family that you are looking to expand your library and ask for donations of any unwanted books.
What books should be in a home library?
I like to start with the classics. I was never an avid reader when I was younger but when my daughter started reading I focused on building our library with books we all know and love. Think of titles like Little House on the Praire, Anne of Green Gables and The Boxcar Children.
Once you have some classics in your library start asking friends for recommendations and keep a list on your phone. Whenever you are at a thrift store pull out the list and grab a few books from it.
How can I organize my library at home?
Group books by author, dividing children's books from adult books. When organizing a bookcase for a family I keep the bottom shelves reserved for children's books keeping the adult books on the top shelves.
Giving children full access to grab a book whenever they choose really allows them to explore and encourages a love for reading.
I hope our before and after photos of creating a home library are an inspiration to you and that you can use them to create your own library at home.