Creating a Home Library

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 5, 2012

Are you an avid reader looking for a special place to curl up with your favorite books? Perhaps you’re a book collector who would like a place to permanently display your beloved books. Creating a home library allows you to fashion a permanent place to enjoy some quiet personal space and your hobby.

Choosing the Right Room
Nearly any room in your home will do as a home library; it is up to you to choose which room you would like to convert. However, keep a few things in mind.

• Having lots of windows and natural light is great if you like to sit and read during the day. But, if you have a special book collection, particularly of older books, you’ll want to protect them from too much sunlight. One way around this is to use blackout curtains or blinds in the library and keep them drawn except when you are in the room reading.
• Basements tend to be prone to flooding and high humidity, which can cause mold and attract insects that are very harmful to your books. For this reason, it is best to choose a room in your home that is not in the basement, unless, of course, you have had professional basement waterproofing done to your home, and are certain you will not have any water or humidity issues in the future.

Style and Design
Typically, when we think of a home library, we think of dark wood paneling, leather-bound books and traditional décor. If this suits your personal taste, then go ahead with this type of style. However, if you don’t like traditional furnishings, your home library can be designed to reflect your personality and taste. Really, anything goes, as this room is a personal space where you should be able to sit, enjoy your reading and unwind.

Your library will need a few basic furnishings and finishes:

• Bookshelves – of course the first thing to consider when you are creating a home library is a place to display and organize your books. Freestanding bookshelves are a good idea if are renting or may be selling your home soon. You can also mount hanging bookshelves onto the wall or even buy a glass case if your have antique books that need to be preserved. Another, more permanent, option is to have floor-to-ceiling recessed or built-in bookshelves built by a cabinetmaker to fit perfectly into your space. These can be a considerable investment, but in the long run they will give you the most shelf space and flexibility for your collection.

• Seating – choose the type of seating that you find most comfortable and inviting for long hours of reading. Do you want a big cozy chair to sink into? Do you need a desk or table where you can sit and take notes while doing professional or scholarly reading? How many people will be using the library at once? There is no need for a giant sectional if only one or two people will sit here regularly.

• Lighting – overhead lighting is important but you’ll also want to select lamps that will help you see small text without causing eyestrain. You want a lamp that will not shine directly in your eyes or cause glare off the white pages. Positioning it behind you, over your shoulder is best.

A home library is the perfect place to enjoy your hobby and some quiet time in your home. If you have questions about creating the perfect home library, talk to your local home improvement expert. Don’t forget, if you’re going to put the library in the basement, talk to a foundation repair expert before you start your project.

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