Creating your own book nook

Creating your own book nook

If you're an avid reader, then reading books is an integral part of your life. You will always have a book handy by your bedside table, in the living room, in your handbag, and just about anywhere that you may get a chance to read. Imagine being able to have a customised library incorporated into the decor of your home - wouldn't that make you as ecstatic as Belle when Beast gifted her his library?

Starting small

When it comes to the creation of a home library, just like any other big-ticket inclusion in your decor, some thought needs to go into it. "Natural light is one of those aspects," says Vinithra Amarnathan, founder, Weespaces. She adds, "There is no substitute for a naturally well-lit library. It makes for a great reading experience and is crucial to the design of a good library. If you don't have a suitable spot with good natural light in your home, consider opting for a room with a large window and add additional light throughout the room."

Jidesh Haridas, COO, Capricoast, spells out four aspects that need to be taken into consideration - "Accessibility, storage, ease of maintenance and space consumption are four primary factors that one should bear in mind while considering a home library. Once you determine how much space you can dedicate to your library, the rest falls into place."

A home library can be created in just about any space you have. Tony Bopaiah, head, brand & product, Homestudio.com, says that if space is not a constraint, you can even think of dedicating a whole room with both open and closed shelving units with integrated TV, study desk and storage units - both floor and wall-mounted units, thereby giving you a library-cum-home office. "If the bookshelf or the library is a new addition," he adds, "the first thing should be to ensure if it can match the look of the other pieces in the house in terms of colour and finish. If you have a library in the living room, it can be used as a room divider."

The other important element to consider is the relative peace and quiet you can expect from the room or space that you choose. Should that not be a possibility, consider using soundproof walls or glass. You also need to keep in mind the structural limitations, especially while making space to hold large numbers of books and their weight. Once you are sure of where your library, large or small, needs to go, you can begin to explore various options you have in terms of bringing your library to life.

 Unlimited options

It stands to reason that a home library can be designed in different styles depending on your preferences. "A more traditional library has rich colours, plush comfortable seating, heavy drapes and built-in bookcases," says Vinithra. "Bookcases are typically open for easy access. However, glass doors can be a good option in the Indian context due to dust and pollution. A modern library has a more casual feel with calmer neutral colours, comfortable organic and upholstered seats and a generally lighter vibe," she adds. In such cases, open floating shelves, stand-alone shelving units and even vintage free-standing cabinets are great options to store books. These make for a more collected and charming setup than the traditional library.

"Floating, stand-alone and closed-shelved libraries are usually opted for when there are space constraints in the assigned built-up area of the house," says Jidesh. "The advantages of floating, stand-alone and closed-shelved libraries are that they can easily be a part of chic designs as well as vintage or Victorian designs. These libraries are easy to maintain while adding an extra edge to your book collection," he adds.

Tony, on the other hand, breaks down the options for you based on the rooms you may want to have your library in. "If using in the living room, opt for something that has both open and closed shelving. This helps to display decor elements along with the books breaking the monotony," he says. "If using the library in the bedroom, integrate it with the wardrobe. It will still look the part. It is best not to pile books as your favourite titles get lost in the clutter. Racks are great but make sure you do not have plants which need to be watered, and be aware that open shelves mean dusting every day. With the concept of open living room-kitchen space, it will help you to demarcate the areas. Team it with a lounge chair or an easy chair and give it a chic makeover."

As far as materials concerned, Vinithra says that if you want your library to be warm, cosy and inviting to sit down and read a book, wooden floors work best for bringing in that warmth and are also easy to maintain. Alternately, layering rugs on stone or marble floors brings in that much-needed warmth. "Seating is a crucial element in a library," she adds. "And large fabric or leather upholstered chairs or couches make for the best choices. Warm wood tables and shelves are both low-maintenance and also add to the charm of the space."

Personal touch  

There are also several elements you can bring in to personalise your home library. Some artwork that is reflective of the kind of literature you read is a good start. The way you organise your books, the bookends that you have, the memorabilia you want to surround yourself with, all make a difference. Even in your choice of seating, you can choose to go eclectic with colourful seating options, low profile seating, etc.

The most important issue is preserving your books from damage through moisture, mould and pests. Keep the room dry and well-ventilated and clean your books at regular intervals to keep them from accumulating dust. A soft microfibre cloth works best for cleaning.

Books always have a place of pride in any household. Having a room or even a little corner dedicated to your book collection is a great way to get the next generation interested in reading. Ideally, going in for modular designs ensures that you have some great solutions irrespective of the space that you have to dedicate to your library.

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