A space for your books

A space for your books

Do you love books? Have you always dreamed of an exclusive space
for your collection? Then check out these cool ideas for a home library by Natasha Menezes.

America’s late President Thomas Jefferson was believed to have once told his friend, “I cannot live without books.” Jefferson was an obsessive collector of books, and his collection was known to be one of the finest in the country.

Are you also one such ‘book fanatic’ and need a quiet and relaxed space to unite with these little friends? If so, a neatly designed home library is what you need!

Not many of us have the luxury of a separate room to accommodate our books. Very often, we tend to cram up our books in the nooks and crannies of a space left untouched. But, with a little bit of planning, you can create a dream library.

There is no correct or incorrect way of crafting your library, but we will see how to design a space that will work for different tastes and preferences of the user.

Location

The first and most important decision you need to make is to choose the location of your home library. Every space has its own purpose, and so does your library. Do you want a dedicated space solely for reading books? If so, you will need to locate your library in a minimum distraction zone of your home.

Depending on the disposable area you have left in your home, the furniture and number of books, you can determine the size of your library-to-be. A library can be designed anywhere in your home except in basements, attics and in a room with piercing natural light.

A home library can consist of an entire room stacked up with book cases and reading material. It can simply be a cozy reading nook with few shelves, a table, chair and lamp.

Storage

There are primarily three choices for storing your book collection; recessed or built-in shelves, free-standing or hanging shelves. For recessed or built-in shelves, the storage space will be maximum and it can also provide for a floor to ceiling storage.
You can line them under the staircase or in any other free or unused space. But the drawback is that they are expensive to install. Also, they cannot be easily removed.
Free-standing shelves on the other hand are widely available in different shapes, sizes and colour schemes and can be changed at will. Hanging bookshelves do not eat up your space and can be mounted anywhere on the wall. They can be made with wood or glass.

 If your lighting is poor, it may lead to headaches, fatigue and straining of eyes. So make sure that while selecting lights, they should be able to read the smallest of texts. Lighting can be of various forms-lamps, overhead lighting or natural lighting.
Recessed lighting is great for appearance, as it gives a modern feel. It can be used to highlight a certain area or object in your library like a special edition book or collectible. Skylights facing the ceiling are another way of generating the openness feeling.

Dimmers are great accessories to use for energy saving and ease of control. A table lamp must be positioned over your shoulder and track lights can be used in your bookshelves to illuminate the titles.

Colour palette

Choosing an interesting colour scheme can make your library look creative and fun. It can also play up a room’s strengths and mask off its weaknesses. Traditional monotones are maroon and hunter green.

For smaller places use a more neutral scheme like beige, light yellow or off-white. If you are in the mood for experimenting, try out burnt orange, bright green, blue or barn red.

Visual treat

You can integrate books in a bookshelf in numerous ways. You may opt for vertical stacking, which is very common in most public libraries and book shops. Alternately, if your collection is limited, you may choose to stack them horizontally for a better view of their title.

The third way is a mix-&-match style that will give your space more character. The fourth way is to display a few books facing outwards, to garner more interest. It will also give your guests a sneak-in on your latest read.

Magazines can be kept separately in a magazine rack or on your reading table.

Furniture

Decide your furniture based on how you will be using this space. Ideally a comfortable chair or couch and a table are pre-requisites to a home library and it also will complete the look of your space. Desks are useful for reading huge volume books.
Desks will also come in handy when you need to take down notes while reading.
As an alternate a couch can add comfort, and a low-lying table in front of it can be used to rest your legs while reading. You can also break the symmetry of your library by hanging rich artwork, figurines and collectibles on the walls, tables as well as bookshelves.

Organisation

Public libraries usually make use of The Dewey Decimal Classification System or the Library of Congress Classification System for classification. In these systems, the books are arranged into broad subject categories like history, philosophy etc and then numbered serially.

Your home library may not be as extensive as a public library but you can take a leaf out of these systems for better categorisation of your large collection.

Other methods of organising your library include alphabetisation by author name, colour or chronology. Stack up frequent reads at an eye level and lesser-read books at a higher level.

Last but not the least, as your collection keeps rising to the top of your room, you might need to invest in a ladder to reach them. A ladder completes the look of your home library and also adds that magical, somewhat whimsical touch. The ladder should rest against a rod in front of your bookshelf and have wheels at the bottom for smooth manoeuvring.

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