Nothing could be nicer than gathering all the much loved books in the house in one place, your very own home library. There are some important things to think about of course, including the layout of the space, appropriate shelving, correct temperature, lighting control and, depending on the scale, comfortable seating for a start. Here are a few ideas to whet the appetite of bibliophiles everywhere.
Making use of a spare room
Those who are able to set aside a whole room to house their books are lucky indeed and this is where floor to ceiling bookcases, either freestanding or built in, can look wonderful. Some people like to create a traditional, elegant look using dark brown wood, however, these days more and more people are turning to white or gaily colored shelving for a more contemporary décor. It’s worth making sure the lower shelves are farther apart than the upper ones, so that larger and heavier books can have a home here without needing to lift them too high. Larger shelves are also great for children’s books, and if big enough they may also hold a box of toys or puzzles, so they are ideal in the lower areas where they can be more easily reached.
Even if it is not possible to dedicate an entire room as a library, use a bit of imagination to showcase a book collection in a number of different settings. Occasional ledge bookshelves in bedrooms, on landings or mezzanine floors between staircases, in the living room and kitchen and even in the dining area can all be made accessible for children as well as adults with a little bit of creativity and flair. Putting some shelves into an existing alcove is easy and, where there is space, most freestanding bookcases can be attached to walls for greater stability and improved safety.
Besides shelving, comfortable seating near the books will encourage readers to settle down with their favorite novel or thriller – serious students may prefer a classic or chic desk and chair of course. For children, giant floor cushions or squashy beanbags make tempting alternatives. In bedrooms and playrooms a book corner is easily created, with soft seating built into the corner and hanging fabric holders for the books.
Heat and light
Books do not enjoy being overheated and many covers will fade in bright, direct sunlight. Keeping drapes closed all day is not ideal as that means using electric lighting in order to read. A more stylish and energy efficient option is to fit window shutters instead. It is possible to find shutters of all types, sizes and finishes these days to match the chosen décor of the room, and those with adjustable louvers will be the most convenient for controlling sunlight and heat.
If there are any rare or precious books in a collection it is best to keep them well out of reach of small, curious children, who are not always great respecters of what might look like an interesting fairytale or coloring book.