Curl up with a book: Home library ideas

As Marcus Tullius Cicero exclaimed, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” A home library allows you to organise your book collection and make a design statement.

Choose a zone for a dedicated home library, arrange your favorite books, add a cosy chair, create visual interest and you'll have built a dreamy space where the whole family can curl up with a good book.

Have fun with creative ways for book storage, enjoyment and display: how about a comfy chair, floating shelves, open shelving, a floor lamp, decorative items such as family photos on a gallery wall, colorful items or a side table? Read on for beautiful home library ideas.

What is the purpose of a home library?

Mt Gold Moa Sheepskin Designer Floor Rug

Mt Gold Moa Sheepskin Designer Floor Rug

Also known as a private library, a home library usually refers to a personal collection of books and other reading material. However, the home library may also include your vinyl collection too! Held by a single person or a family, creating the perfect spot for your home library is about reflecting your tastes and interior design style. What's more, studies have shown that a home library of 80 books or more gives teen school leavers literacy and numeracy skills equivalent to university graduates who didn’t read. All the more reason to establish a cozy reading nook in one or more rooms.

How do I build a small library at home?

No matter the size of your space, when building a home library, you want to celebrate your most coveted books, with style. You can achieve this by coming up with creative storage solutions, establishing a quiet, private reading nook, or reinventing the way you read at home with cutting-edge lighting and display concepts. Starting your own home library takes a few simple steps:

  1. Take stock

    How many books do you have? What kind of storage and display units will you require? Which lighting will work best? Assess your book collection and how you want to show it. You might choose to set up different reading zones, such as on a longpile designer floor rug below the coffee table, in the corner of a room on a W&D sheepskin shaggy bag or set of stones, or snuggled up on your favourite armchair. Consider this for the grown-ups' books and those of your kids!

  2. Optimize available space

    By making the most of the space in areas where you already spend a lot of time, such as the living room, dining room or bedroom, you can routinely browse and enjoy your book collection in already-comfortable spaces rather than having to design a whole separate room for your home library.

  3. Select shelving

    A bookshelf, shelving units, freestanding bookcase or built ins: there are lots of options to choose from when creating the focal point of your modern home library. For smaller home libraries, floating shelves are a wonderful way to select and showcase your most treasured books. Add statement shelves to your kitchen as the perfect way to store your favorite cookbooks! You might make DIY shelves, search for a mid-century chic bookcase, or add the clean lines of a modern bookcase.

  4. Choose seating

    An important aspect of your home library is a comfortable reading chair, sofa, bean bag or two. A vintage leather armchair will lend the space an elegant and erudite look, or you might choose something more contemporary like a love seat, one of our luxury shaggy sheepskin bean bags or a set of W&D stones. A stylish seating arrangement will help build the perfect calming effect, inviting your family or guest to snuggle into your cosy library.

Bendigo Sheepskin CushionBendigo Sheepskin Cushion
  1. Let there be light!

    Add ambience with careful attention to lighting details. Warm task lighting is preferable for creating a welcoming atmosphere in your new home library (or reading nook, depending on space), so choose bulbs with colour temperatures ranging from 2000K to 3000K. Your lighting will require direction. A floor lamp can be adjusted as needed to send the light downwards, directly over your chosen seating and onto the page.

    If you have a small space such as a studio apartment and there isn't enough room for a floor lamp, a wall light can suffice! Consider flexible reading lights, LED options or bounceable uplights.

  2. Throw in texture and colour

    Make your home library super cosy with carefully selected textures and colours. Drape a luxurious sheepskin throw over your armchair or sofa, add an exquisite designer rug to the floor space, arrange books chromatically, or have fun with house plants!

    Just don't be afraid of negative space: not every shelf needs to be stacked with books or decorative items. Leave gaps which allow 'breathing space' within your aesthetic.

What does every home library need?

Now you're ready to get curating, we've compiled a handy checklist of the ultimate home library ideas:

  • A bookcase or shelving; maybe even a ladder if your shelving solution is really tall!

  • A cosy blanket or two

  • Snuggly seating

  • A statement rug

  • A side table, desk or coffee table

  • Natural light and/or task lighting

  • Books and magazines, of course.

How do you make a good home library?

Bendigo Sheepskin Cushion

Bendigo Sheepskin Cushion

The secret to making a practical and stylish home library is taking time to pull together a beautiful, relaxing space where you'll love losing yourself in a book. The place you choose for your mini home library could have its own dedicated room, or easily be established in a cosy corner, bedroom, hallway or by a fireplace. Any zone with wall space can work! Allow space for non-book items such as small sculptures, plants, or photo frames, and vary the position of the books to generate visual interest: stack some upright and others on their side. Stack books on other surfaces, such as side tables and deep windowsills, for a stunning layered and lived-in effect.

How do I organize my personal home library?

To display your books in a beautiful manner, organise them by size and colour for maximum visual effect. Arrange them to the front of your shelves for a sleek look. You can also go full librarian style and organise alphabetically, and by category.

How do you make a cozy home library?

Texture, colour, and light. Layer natural fibres such as gorgeous wool rugs and throw pillows around your home library space and incorporate colorful books with ambient light sources to create a blissed out, Zen bibliophile vibe.

How do I set up a home library on a budget?

Bendigo Long Wool Sheepskin Shaggy Bean Bag

Bendigo Long Wool Sheepskin Shaggy Bean Bag

Setting up a home library doesn't need to be expensive. If you scour secondhand bookstores and decor sales for home library potential, you can find all the room features to cater for your home library ideas.

What should I have on my bookshelf?

This is entirely up to you! A starting point can be your favourite children's books, some of the classics, award-winning texts, large coffee table-style books, and a selection of your preferred genres: for example, poetry, novels, biographies, memoir, gardening books, anthologies, hybrid texts.

Some suggestions:

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison

"One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

"Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon

"Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf

"Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

"Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace

"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

"Weather" by Jenny Offill

"Poukahangatus", poems by Tayi Tibble

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