Designing the perfect library

Designing the perfect library

Designing the perfect library

Most homes were initially designed keeping in mind the various bedrooms, kitchen and hall. Having a dedicated space to build your own personal library was rarely thought of. However today, most homeowners are open to the idea and it has become hugely popular. Home libraries are not only a place for storing books, but they also serve as a home office or study room, as well as a place for ultimate rejuvenation.

With many custom-built homes incorporating a library, designing them becomes critical and important. Whether you want a traditional library or a contemporary one, there are some basic components that need to be covered to make the space complete and functional. Here are some ideas to design your dream library at home, with ease:

Space matters

A home library can be a dynamic expression of your personality. With a little planning, there are plenty of attractive ways to store books; no matter how limited your space is. Although a dedicated room is ideal — which can be designed and selected according to your need — lining an entire wall in the living room or hallway with bookshelves can look
dramatic and allow you to store a huge number of books as well.

One can also consider floating shelves attached to the wall as they take up minimal space. Stacked with vertical volumes, the shelves can create a stunning look.

Stylish shelves

There are numerous gorgeous options as far as book shelves are concerned. From traditional to modern, funky and quirky to classy, these are available in wooden,metal and many other varieties that can blend in with the design that one has in mind.

Along with being stylish, bookshelves should be easy to use. A free-standing bookcase is ideal as it can be moved to suit your changing needs and often has adjustable shelves to accommodate more books. You can also mount hanging bookshelves onto the wall or buy glass cases which might be preferable if your collection includes antique books that you want to preserve.

The thumb rule is that all books should be visible and therefore, only row deep is the best shelving. Two chairs placed on either side along with small tables placed next to each of these chairs or a stunning couch or armchair in elegant hues is ideal.

Furniture picks

Your home library combines relaxation with personal growth and completes the genuine atmosphere of a modern residence. As such, the furniture should complement your library. Don’t forget a comfy chair or two where you can enjoy a good read. And for those moments of inspiration, a spacious desk is always a smart idea.

Make sure your furniture picks embody that classic library look. Carvings, cornices and cabriole legs are a few of the elegant details, making an ideal choice for a lavish library. Classic or contemporary, match it according to your taste and add grace to your library decor.Tricks of the trade It is always important that your home library provides the support and protection your books need. If metal shelves aren’t an option, coat your wooden shelves with a proper sealant to prevent acids from seeping into your books from the wood.

The room should have the right temperature and relative humidity in order to keep books safe from destruction and deterioration. So, places like the basements and other damp places are not suitable areas for a library. In locations with high humidity, consider ventilated shelving. The additional air circulation can help prevent the growth of mould and mildew.
Water and infestation can quickly wipe out your library, so consider the location carefully. Anything away from the floor, pipes, air conditioners, radiators and the likes would be a good idea.

Avoid letting books slouch on the shelf. Any book with a spine wider than three inches, or taller than 18 inches, should be laid flat. Give your books a little space to breathe on the shelf. They should be close enough to support each other, but not packed so tightly that the bindings are abraded when you remove a book.

Also, besides bookshelves, the library can be furnished with a sofa, armchairs, desk and ladder, if the bookshelves extend to the ceiling. The colour scheme should neither be too loud or distracting nor too lame or boring.

Lighting is also a very important element of your home library decor. The lighting should be bright enough, but not blinding. You can have one pendant light and couple of table or floor lamps that would give you a bit more focused illumination for healthy reading.

(The author is an interior designer and MD of MKC)

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