Carolyn Roehm’s personal library. To see how she changes her personal library with the seasons, click here.
Hi Hadley Court Readers! This is Lynda Quintero-Davids, guest posting today about how the essentials to design a custom home library. Even in the digital age we’re in, with e-Readers and Pinterest, bookshelf styling and library looks have become increasing popular in home decor. Bookshelves are not only a means book lovers have for storage, but bookshelves can also creatively tell the story of you. But what if the books you collect are rare or family heirlooms handed down to you from your family? What is the best way to house these rare reads? What are the essentials to create a custom library? When asking yourself these questions, also consider hiring a professional to manage the task of properly designing a custom home library for you. Please refer to the two previous informative Hadley Court posts:
Hiring a professional will save you time and save your money in the long run because a professional will understand the importance of your requirements and have the professional and reliable trade relations to complete your task within budget. Hiring a professional will help resolve the 3 essentials to create a custom library, which are storage, seating and most importantly – lighting.
Library Essential No. 1 – Storage & Display
Without a doubt, the first essential requirement of creating your custom home library, is taking inventory of the books you have, how you want them displayed and/or catalogued for easy reference so you can pull them down from their shelves if you need to find them and then comes the fun part… what style?
What style will best not only suit you and display your personality, but what decor style will also flow with your home design and architectural characteristics. If your style is Traditional, dark walnut or mahogany would be appropriate or a custom stain. However, if you’re more daring, a lacquered look for your library room can bathe it in a sophisticated color, such as navy, turquoise or teal. The width & depth of your shelf space can vary between 12″ – 14″ deep and can include pull out shelves that are deeper, so you can take a look at very special books, whenever you want to. Make sure to measure your deepest book, though, before you begin to plan a custom library. Typical book heights are 9″, however, if you collect specialty art, atlas, or travel books, you may some custom specialty shelves, or consider displaying over-sized books on your coffee table. Here are a few library looks to inspire you…
For additional library design ideas, visit onekinddesign.com
Adding glass accents in a dark wood in a traditionally styled library space can help reflect more light in an otherwise dark room, bringing a sense of balance to the space. Glass apothecary jars can corral smaller travel treasures, such as shells you’ve collected on your trip to exotic beaches. Other glass accents can come from vases of fresh floral bouquets, candles in glass hurricanes, or glass bowls. Mix these travel treasure with captured family moments, and you’ve not only lightened your space, you’ve personalized it. Other means of lighting the look of an existing dark wood library is to update the space with lighter colored textile selections, such as upholstery, custom draperies, and area rugs.
Library Essential No. 2 – Library Seating
Depending on the size of your home library room, multiple seating options are available. A popular sofa choice for a traditional home library is the Chesterfield, with its rich leather and tufted texture. However, if you are seeking to lighten the look, opt for a lighter textile version such as a French linen. Besides a traditional sofa and two club chair configuration, another seating arrangement can be a set of four club chairs, and a round coffee table ottoman. This works especially well in a square space. For an L shaped space, a combination of both arrangements would also allow space for a writing table, desk or round table and chairs. For finely crafted quality furnishings known for sophisticated luxury, visit Ebanista.com
Wow factor with lacquer and window seating.
Another furniture factor to consider for your home library is to have a custom window seat built into the surrounding millwork or to create your own with a beautiful piece of upholstery. A window seat in a home library can help to optimize your space along with personalize your own reading nook + provide additional lighting.
Library Essential No. 3 – Library Lighting Is Key
A custom library need not only be a space to store books. A library can be a creative hideaway to write ones own memoirs or a book. A library can be a relaxing spot to enjoy an after dinner drink when entertaining. And a library can be just what it implies: a room to surround yourself with distinctive literature, history, references and or novels. When designing your custom library, lighting is key.
Types of Lighting
Thom Filicia designed this small space home library above with 3 of the 4 types of lighting you will see below: natural, ambient, accent and task.
If you’re designing a custom home, and planning on including a library, consider your library to have windows facing north. This is especially important if you plan to utilize your library during the day. Natural light tends to move, and can be especially brighter or dimmer, depending on the time of year. Northern light provides a more steady cast of light into a space, but also be sure to include custom window treatment to further defuse sun light and protect books. Other forms of natural light are candle light and firelight. If you’re planning on a fireplace being a part of your library design, this can also add to the drama of another type of light: Ambient lighting.
Ambient lighting washes a room with a glow, much like a fireplace on a cold winter evening – but an ambient light source can also come from a wall mounted fixture, such as a sconce. Although a fixed wall sconce can cast a glow on an area, a swing arm sconce, which is excellent to set as a repeating light element on the vertical members of library millwork, can become more directional or another form of lighting called Accent. For an assortment of ambient lighting, visit RalphLaurenHome.com – Lighting.
Accent lighting is lighting used to highlight an architectural element, art, an object, or in this case, books in a library. Accent lighting is used to draw attention to the object or area. Picture lights, usually used to feature beautiful artwork, can sometimes be used on a book case cornice / crown molding to accent beautifully bound books. This technique is also known as grazing. For a sophisticated look, accent lighting can also be used withing the millwork bookshelves. Most library shelf lights are ordered by the architect, builder or interior designer at the time the shelf is being built. For these hidden accent lights for your library shelf, refer to PhantomLighting.com.
By far, in a library, the most important lighting source is lighting needed for the task of reading, or in some cases writing as well. Task lighting can come from a floor lamp set next to a club chair, lamps set on a sofa table, or even swing arm lamps next next to a bed for night time reading – which is another optional space for the book lover to consider: The bedroom. A swing arm lamp is an excellent light source for task lighting because you can pivot, swing, and adjust the light source where you need it, and avoid glare. For a beautiful assortment of light fixture options, be sure to visit ArteriorsHome.com – Lighting.
For additional tips to build or repair your home library books:
1. Growing your collection of books, see 3 Ways to Collect Rare Books.
2. Book binding repair and restoration see Stanley Book Repair, located in Nelson, WI.
And if you’d like to see other wonderful examples of personal libraries and be introduced to the library in the Unites States that has the largest collection of rare books on furniture design and furniture history, that is free and open to the public, please visit http://facebook.com/BienenestockFurnitureLibrary and see the site at http://furniturelibrary.com.
Lynda Quintero Davids
Leslie Hendrix Wood, Founder and Editor In Chief of Hadley Court and
Thank you for reading Hadley Court, I hope you’ve enjoyed my guest post today about the 3 essentials for Creating a Custom Library.
Images 1 –CarolynRoehm, Quote, 2 – Room by Luis Bustamante, 3, 4 – Ebanista, 5 – Tommy Chambers Interiors, 6, 7 – William Christopher, 8 – Rupert Bevan Furniture Commissions, 9 – Alexander Gorlin Architects, 10, 11, 12, 13