A home library is something most of us dream of. You don’t even have to love reading to want one. The soothing qualities of a library and air of learnedness and class it can add to a home, makes the idea of having one extremely appealing to everybody. Most people’s perception of a library is somewhere packed with rows upon rows of dusty old books, however nowadays they are also places which access to computing equipment and the internet- making them extremely useful things indeed if you work from home, or are in or have children in education. This handy guide is intended to lead you step by step through the processes involved in creating a beautiful library for your home.
Before building a home library, some careful planning is required. The first thing to think about is where you are going to house your library. Most rooms are fine though there are a few exceptions. While reading in a room with big windows and lots of light is refreshing, storing books in natural light is harmful to them. Attics and basements heavy with humidity will cause mould and attract insects. In addition, basements are prone to flooding.
With space of a premium in most homes, one of the rooms described may be your only option- this is fine but you must make sure the room is fully prepared. In a particularly bright room install wooden, Venetian blinds behind curtains, their unique louver system will allow you to direct sunlight away from books without casting the whole room in darkness. If you are intending to use an attic space, make sure it is fully insulated against frost and completely waterproofed. Also remember to cover skylights in specialist blinds or have the glass misted. Basements may need to be tanked so that they are free from moisture and humidity. A ventilation system may also be appropriate.
When decorating make sure the walls are finished before you do anything else- a full library will be a real pain to paint around so be sure what style route you want to go down from the very beginning and stick to it. The classic green and mahogany Victorian library is the most common type recreated on a domestic level. Effortlessly classy and steeped in British history, it is not hard to see why. We will therefore use this as our model. To get this look on your walls choose either a pale mint green emulsion or forest green floral wallpaper. Wall art will not look out of place inside your home library.
Next, you should decide on flooring so that the room is ready to fill. Charcoal coloured tiles or wooden flooring is perfect for recreating that timeless look. For real period perfection choose parquet wooden flooring.
After you have the basics of the room finished, sketch out a plan for the room on paper, separating the room into zones (i.e. shelving isles, seated area etc). This is an important step as everything must be properly measured it is here that you will create the ambience of the room. Do you want an open plan where books are stacked on wall shelves around the rooms’ perimeter or do you want a more classic zoned layout where books are kept in rows of free standing shelves with isles in between?
Whatever you decide on, maintain the Victorian theme by choosing shelves and tables in a dark coloured wood with carved/burnt designs. Finishing details such as leather backed chairs, a large wall mounted clock and waist height wooden railings separating seated and shelving areas will really finish the scheme well.