DESIGN IDEAS TO BUILD YOUR OWN HOME LIBRARY

“When in doubt, go to the library,” – True to this famous Harry Potter quote, the library has indeed provided us with answers since childhood. If you can relate to the pre-digital era, most of our sources of information used to be in libraries. Not just for the avid reader, but the library proved interesting to people as a meeting point to gather and socialise around. Hence, a wide and varied collection of books on different subjects and age groups was greatly sought after. Interestingly, the library found a place in most old houses of the bygone era. If you can picture any colonial home, a library room complete with a study would immediately come to your mind. Gothic-styled bookcases span the entire length of the room, covering the total height from floor to ceiling. These rooms often looked crammed with wall units filled with books, memorabilia, wall decor, paintings, a study table and a rocking or “grandfather “chair with a footstool, all jostling for space with each other. In hill station dak bungalows, a fireplace can also be found in these rooms. In some such houses that I’ve visited, these library rooms or study is often attached to the billiards room, a clear indication that reading and sharing of ideas was a way of entertainment and socialising in that era. One can also picture innumerable scenes from Hollywood classics shot inside such rooms. Nevertheless, this overly done room had its aesthetic appeal and has etched a clear picture in our memories.

Photograph Courtesy: Design DeconstructLibrary, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home
Photograph Courtesy:  Ravi Kanade.Library, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home
Photograph Courtesy: Maxalto available at Scala Home.Library, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home
With the advent of technology, our sources of information have changed. The library has shrunk in the age of digital gadgets and smartphones and a lack of space in the modern urban house. It has been reduced to a mere bookcase, where books share space with other accessories, succulents and decorations- often below a staircase, an unused niche in a corner and sometimes as a versatile furnishing concept. So, let’s look into some of the aspects to ponder upon if you are contemplating making a home library a part of your design.

Photograph Courtesy: Maxalto available at Scala Home.Library, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home

Finding the right place

If it can be envisaged during the initial space planning process, a home library can be intended to suit your personal needs and choices. You need to figure out whether you need an elaborate space, a specific location, and a home office, or would you like it to be scattered across the house, with every room getting a fair share.

  • Many living rooms, for instance, have library units placed as dividers or an elaborate wall system that becomes the room’s aesthetic focal point.
  • In bedrooms, too, wall units and dividers can be planned, fulfilling the purpose of aesthetics and functionality.
  • In smaller rooms, however, certain unused corners and niches along the peripheral walls can also be used.
  • Spaces below window cills or the space behind the bed’s headboard facing a window with a couch are also interesting applications that can be done.
  • In Washrooms, too, niches can be carved to create space for books and other accessories.
  • Study tables inside bedrooms with shelves and book storage can also be planned if a separate study room cannot be created due to lack of space.
A separate study room with a library can work well if envisaged within the home. Especially during the current pandemic, work from home has become a natural prerequisite. Contrary to the colonial times’ home libraries, which stood as a defiant symbol against technology and progress, the modern-day study can be contemporary or neoclassical depending on the design genre, incorporating the latest technological systems.
Photograph Courtesy: Maxalto available at Scala Home.Library, Home Library

Lighting & Materials

Earlier libraries at home were dimly lit, with probably a few sconces on the walls and a floor lamp alongside the rocking chair, emanating just enough illumination for a quiet reading experience. Today, modern study rooms are intended to serve multifunctional purposes and are brightly lit with various lights on the ceilings and walls. Controlled by an integrated automation system, care should be taken such that the different types of illumination can all be combined differently for different ambiences.

Photograph Courtesy: Giorgetti available at Sources Unlimited.Library, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home
Thus, warm yellow cove lights on the ceiling and shelves can be planned along with table and floor lamps for that quiet read. Whereas pendants hung from the ceiling and track lights might be necessary for online meetings or everyday office work and studying at home with the required lux levels. The services of a lighting consultant should be taken to get optimal results.
Photograph Courtesy: Ravi Kanade.Library, Home Library, Work from home, Home Desk, Study at home
Conventional home libraries are generally envisioned in wood finishes. Emanating an old-world charm, dark hardwood flooring with gothic style arched book units, colonial-era tables and chairs – all bring about the warmth necessary for retiring into a peaceful solace. Modern-day study rooms cum libraries can be livelier with a different material palette depending on the design theme. Bookshelves or units can be done in metal, wood or stone, as the case may be. Wooden flooring is preferred due to its warm feel, and a couch can also be placed on the floor, making it cosy. A formal arrangement of a home office can have a tiled or marble floor too. The exposed surfaces on the walls should be clad with soft acoustic material to increase sound absorption and reduce reflection. If a glass partition acts as a separation between the library and other areas, double glazing units should be used to keep the outside noise out. So, with unlimited options available, you just need to put your creative hats on to get your  prized books a happy place to stay home!

Photograph Courtesy: Ravi Kanade.
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