Designing the Perfect Library Nook
A quiet, cozy space, adding bookish style and old-world charm to your home and creating a place that you will love spending time in.
From Home Library to Library Nook: the Origins of this Design Trend
Historically, having a home library was a status symbol indicating wealth, knowledge, literacy, and worldliness. Books were scarce and very expensive, making them a luxury that few could afford. Having unfettered access to a personal collection of books indicated knowledge as books carried information that their owners could absorb at their leisure. Moreover, in earlier periods of history, not everyone was literate, so having books suggested that the owners were able to read the books they owned and absorb their knowledge, reinforcing their symbolism of knowledge and literacy. Home libraries housed books from different parts of the world, but aside from housing books, they also served as a place to display objects acquired while traveling, showing the homeowners' worldliness to anyone who viewed their home library.
Today, home libraries are still a status symbol just as they always have been, but they have also become an interior design statement piece and a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern life. They harken back to earlier times when one could retreat to a study and not be inundated by emails, phone calls, and life's demands. However, today not everyone can afford to make a huge home library, and as a result the home library has evolved into the library nook. If you are an avid reader or even if you just love a cozy place to have your coffee in the morning or tea in the evening and scroll through Instagram or read blog posts, then you need a library nook in your home. A library nook adds bookish style and old-world charm to any space and can really become a much-loved and often-used area of your home. Creating a library nook can take an unused corner or room and make it into something special, a place you will enjoy spending time in. My library nook is my favorite space in my home; it's where I spend quiet moments of contemplation, time reading my favorite books, and writing posts for Allyson Road. In this post, I will discuss how to design a great library nook, including, ideas for great library nook spots in your home, what you will need to create a library nook, and a few examples.
Creating Your Own Library Nook
What makes a library nook?
A library nook is a tucked away spot in your home where you can install a book shelf or two, a reading lamp, a chair or couch, and decorative accents or personal effects.
Where to put a library nook?
There really is an infinite number of places you could put a library nook, as all houses have differing layouts, but here is a list of ideas in case you are sitting in your home saying, "I would love to have a library nook, but I have no place for one." You could make a library nook in the corner of your living room or family room, as a part of your home office, in a guest bedroom, in a section of a finished basement, in a hallway, on a landing, or you could even convert a walk-in closet to a library nook. A library nook does not have to be big, it could be just a small corner, making for a lot of possible places to install one.
What you'll need to make a library nook:
Whether you buy bookshelves or install built-ins, bookshelves are key to creating a great library nook. You can add some drama with floor to ceiling shelves, or keep it small and quaint with a short bookshelf. You can even buy a bookshelf side table. They are usually vintage, and are a great idea for very small library nooks.
Seating is very important in a library nook because it is a place to relax and enjoy yourself, which requires a comfortable place to sit. The type of seating you select will depend on the amount of space that you have and the number of people the library nook is meant to be used by. If your library nook is going to be yours and yours alone, then a single chair is best. There nothing wrong with having your own special place. If you want to invite others to your library nook, then you may want to include multiple chairs or a couch.
Side tables are a must in a library nook. You have to have somewhere to put your cup of coffee or tea.
Reading lamps, a must have, so that you can enjoy soft lighting when you spend time in your library nook, rather than harsh overhead lighting.
Library nooks must be comfortable and cozy! The best way to achieve both of those objectives is to add throw pillows. Throw pillows are also a great opportunity to add patterns, colors, details, and textures that give the space more personality.
Another element that makes a library nook cozy and comfortable is a throw blanket or two. When you want to curl up and read a book or peruse social media, you will need a soft throw blanket to snuggle under.
Books (of course)!
Gather all of your favorite books. Come on, you know you have a box of books in the back of your closet or in your basement. You know the ones, those favorites you just keep moving with you to each apartment and house. Your favorite childhood books that you couldn't part with, the novels that moved you, the school books that seemed useful, those fun books you bought on a whim at Barnes & Noble, the antique books you picked up for decorating after watching Fixer Upper, and of course, the books you bought that are still in the queue to be read next.
You will need these! A big part of styling a library nook is about how you arrange the books in your bookcase. To make this work, you will need book ends, so that you can block off certain sections of books and leave space for small art works, personal effects, and houseplants.
Small Art Works
Many library nooks include small art works in their bookshelves. They break up the books and create visual interest. This is a great opportunity to display small pieces from your favorite local artists, antique prints, or even fine art. You can display personal photos as well; black and white photos are a great addition to a sophisticated library nook.
No library nook is complete without some tchotchkes like figurines or glass items. These items add a personal touch to the space and give it a cozier feel. There is nothing cozier than being surrounded by some of your favorite things. Maybe it's an antique porcelain figure, or a cedar box, or a travel souvenir, whatever is special to you, your library nook is a great place to use it as decor.
If you are up for it, because I know it takes work to care for live plants, houseplants are a great addition to your library nook. They put some life into the space and give it a homey feel that connects home to garden. Succulents or orchids are easy to care for and they look great! You can put them in unique containers like antique silver pieces, terra cotta pots, or porcelain vessels, and really add some interesting elements to the design of your library nook.
Fodder For Thought: Library Nook Examples