Even though we live in the digital age, nothing can compare to the feeling of holding a good book in your hands. And we want to show off our favorite books in a place that’s cozy, personal, and unique. The home library, on the other hand, is a lot smaller than the public or university library (but not any less gorgeous). It can be formal and elegant or colorful and cozy, and stylish focal points like a fireplace, desk, or cozy sitting area keep things interesting. The bookshelves are just as interesting as the furniture in the room. Here, we’ve put together some of the most beautiful home libraries from our archives to help you design your own. See how to make home library shelving that puts your favorite books on show for a well-designed and well-read space. This is a video.
Modern White Shelving
When Simon Jacobsen, a partner at Jacobsen Architecture, joined two 1863 row houses, he made a home for himself and his family. Egg-crate shelving, chairs and tables by Le Corbusier and Eames, and a desk made by the architect turned a living room into a library.
Soaring Wood Shelves
When Katherine Newman and Peter Cebulak built a library in a postmodern Toronto house, she said that it “kind of evokes the classical Ionic order.” Among the items in the room are some very important antiques, such as a worktable made of satinwood that dates back to 1790.
A Library That Does Double Duty
Author and historian Barbara Goldsmith: “I wanted to have an area where I could read my favorite books while having dinner with my family.” She hired interior designer Mica Ertegün to update and decorate her Park Avenue apartment.
A Collected Display
Actress Diane Keaton, who has a love for old California homes, and designer Stephen Shadley turned the double-height entrance hall of her Spanish Colonial Revival house in Beverly Hills into an entrance library. They filled it with pots and other artifacts, and also books about the visual arts. “The library sets the tone,” says Shadley. Everything that happens in the house is boiled down into this one piece of paper.
A Double-Height Penthouse Library
Martin Kemp, the head designer at Candy & Candy, made a library that looked opulent but was also cozy in a space that used to be very big. Kemp chose a lot of old and new books for the room, which he said was “no work, because I love books.”
A Library with a View
Sally Sirkin Lewis, a designer who worked on a house in California’s Carmel Valley, added shelves around the library and French doors to let in lots of natural light. She also put Le Corbusier Grand Confort armchairs in the room.
A Modern Display of Antique Books
David Ling, an architect, worked on an Upper East Side apartment for a bibliophile neurosurgeon. He added a rare-book library, which he called “the centerpiece of the design,” to the mix. Books about medicine that date back to the 15th century can be found on modern shelves. A Barcelona table by Mies van der Rohe is surrounded by a love seat by Le Corbusier and sling-back chairs in the sitting area.
A Traditional Mahogany-Paneled Study
One of the things that designer Friederike Kemp Biggs and architect George W. Sweeney did to her penthouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was to add a library made of mahogany. Her husband, Jeremy, loves this room because it has an antique desk and a flat-screen TV hidden behind fake book bindings. Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams in 1815: “I can’t live without my books.” There is a quote from that letter on the ceiling.
A Classic Bookcase with an Artful Twist
Thomas Jayne, a decorator in New York City, worked on a 19th-century house in Philadelphia. He brought it back to its former glory. In the library, there are French Empire chairs on either side of an English Regency table. The bookshelves also serve as a background for art.
Custom and Classic Built-In Bookcases.
On the walls of an oval library in New York City, Alexa Hampton made bookcases that curved with the walls of the building in 1912. In the middle of the room, there is a jewel-like metal frieze. The curtains and tufted love seats, which are covered in powder-blue cotton velvet, add just a little color.
Margaret Griffin and Elyse Grinstein, two architects, worked together to remodel a home on the West Side of Los Angeles. The area has natural creeks and groves of native trees, making it a great place to live. Here, the star tree is an old sycamore that protects a small spring and lush slope in the back. There was once a full brick wall facing the tree in the cozy library, but it was replaced with sheets of glass to connect the room to the outside.
An Alluring Library Ladder
After Hurricane Katrina, Richard Keith Langham went back to a Mississippi house he first decorated two decades ago and gave it a new look. Kinsey Marable, a dealer, helped build the library’s wide range of books based on the owner’s interests. He also provided the 19th-century ladder and antique globe.
A Tropical Take on Tradition
They used colonial-era details from the Bahamas and natural materials to build a house on Harbour Island, which is in the Bahamas. The library, which is two stories high, is a cube that is 24 feet across in all directions. With the same wood used in most of the house, this room has termite-proof South American ipê wood.
Brilliant Blue Bookcases
Designer Vicente Wolf used an automotive painter to spray the built-in shelves in the library of this New York City townhouse library with a metallic teal. This gave the room a glossy look like what happened in 1960s and 1970s Finish Fetish.
A Neutral Display
Drabware-like Wedgwood colors are seen on the paneling in this Washington D.C. library, which was decorated by Mariette Himes Gomez. The neutral color scheme is warmed by reddish carpet colors.