Book lovers with extensive collections dream of having a dedicated home library where they can store all of their books. Even those who primarily read on digital devices appreciate a quiet, cozy, and designated place to curl up with a good book. If you've got a spare room to devote to reading, the sky is the limit. But a home library doesn't necessarily mean a room exclusively filled with shelves full of books.
If you lack the budget or the real estate to build an aspirational home library with floor-to-ceiling shelves and a sliding ladder, take heart. You can create a home library in any size space, even if it means adding a bookshelf, chaise, and reading light to a corner nook in a studio apartment or family home living room.
Check out these inspirational examples of home libraries in a variety of styles that range from modest to swoon-worthy to help you carve out space in your home dedicated to the timeless pleasure of reading.
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Interior designers Tara Mangini and Percy Bright from Jersey Ice Cream Co., created a cozy, charming home library in an 1887 Arts & Crafts home. Built-in bookshelves and tall wraparound wainscotting painted in a warm medium toned gray has a grounded and calming feel that lends itself to concentration and focus. An antique armchair and small round side table, a vintage rug, and a collection of small framed paintings on the wall give it a homey feel. A glass French door allows privacy while letting in natural light.Continue to 2 of 42 below.
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This library in Pacific Palisades, CA, from architect Margaret Griffin of Griffin Enright Architects, is a book lover's fantasy come true. Floor-to-ceiling shelves house an enviable collection of books. A central fireplace appears to float in front of a glass wall with a view of a hillside garden anchored by a stunning 300-year-old Sycamore tree. An Eames lounger and ottoman completes the dreamy space that feels both grand and intimate at the same time, the perfect place to read, contemplate, and daydream.
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Room for Two
Interior designer Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design created a home library corner with room enough for two. A bookshelf and window seat are flooded with natural light from the wrap-around windows. The designer added cozy throw pillows to the window seat for extra comfort, and a well stuffed armchair with a small round side table for storing books in progress.Continue to 4 of 42 below.
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Black and White
This dedicated home library from interior designer Kara Mann has classic appeal with its palette of black and shades of white. Tall glass-front shelving spans the width of the back wall without taking it all the way up to the ceiling to preserve a sense of airiness. A metallic pendant light hanging in the center of the room anchors a reading table with mismatched old and new style chairs. A pair of crows sits atop the bookshelves to add a note of whimsy.Continue to 5 of 42 below.
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In this luxury Chicago highrise home office library from Alexis Bednyak Design and Searl Lamaster Howe Architects, a wall of built-in recessed shelving features varying size nooks for storing books, and displaying art, decorative objects, and plants. A large reading table/desk and a comfortable sofa provides plenty of room to share the space. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the room with natural light.Continue to 6 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Erin Williamson of Erin Williamson Design built a family-friendly home library in a 1950s multi unit A-frame lake house situated on on the shores of Lake Austin, TX. The library space is defined by a long low-profile row of double shelving that houses books, keeping them accessible for even the smallest members of the family. The designer added a large Moroccan rug, a pair of comfy low-slung armchairs, and a kid-sized rocking chair to encourage the whole family to use the space.Continue to 7 of 42 below.
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This cozy guesthouse from interior designer Jessica Risko Smith of JRS ID doubles as an off-duty home office and library. The designer built in maximum book storage that runs from floor to ceiling and wraps around the sofabed and double glass doors. A comfy armchair and corner desk with built-in book storage of its own creates a second spot to read and escape.
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Interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors created a minimalist home library in the corner of a sunny California living room by pairing a tall, sculptural, freestanding book tower with a stylish armchair in front of the windows that provides a dedicated place to read with a minimum of fuss.Continue to 9 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Ginger Barber of Ginger Barber Interior Design arranged a compact but full-service home library around a floor-to-ceiling wall of shelving. Twin Barcelona chairs upholstered in gray leather are positioned opposite one another for easy access to shelving, with a shared ottoman between them, the perfect set-up for siblings or couples that like to read together.
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Interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors painted this home library in a deep moody green that has a calming effect and invites relaxation. A built-in wall of shelving is flanked by a tufted armchair in a contrasting pale fabric and a standing metal reading light. A window seat is built into a recessed bay window that provides a place to read and a stream of natural light.Continue to 11 of 42 below.
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Blogger Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess installed a wall of bookshelves in her living room that she lined with a color-coordinated rainbow of titles that is as decorative as it is functional. The high vaulted ceiling makes for a dramatic presentation. Shelves were kept white to highlight the colors of the books. The main sofa is positioned with its back to the shelving to create the sense of a room-within-a-room, and a vintage rattan armchair is positioned in one corner to provide a place to read.
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In this sleek and polished home library from the interior design team at Forbes + Masters, a tufted blue reading nook is built between a pair of tall glass-front shelves in dark brown-stained wood, accented with brass handles. Deep chocolate paint on the walls makes the shelving look custom built. Crisp white trim on the high windows and ceiling creates a polished look, and the spacious room is decorated with art, objects, and a central glass and brass table that holds vases of flowers.
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Blogger Mandi Johnson from A Beautiful Mess created a wall of shelves using Billy bookcases from IKEA in her home study. With its midcentury-style reading chair and side table, sofa, and desk, it's a multipurpose space that functions as a workspace and off-duty sanctuary for leisure time reading and relaxing.Continue to 14 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Jenn Pablo of Jenn Pablo Studio created a home library corner by installing a freestanding, warm, wood bookshelf housing books and decorative objects that complements the all-white decor. A plush armchair, industrial-style task light, and small side table create a comfortable place to read by the window.Continue to 15 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design turned this cozy top floor space into a book-lined getaway for reading, relaxing, and playing music. The designer painted the walls in a deep emerald green that adds depth and makes books and objects pop, painting the slanted ceilings and custom wrap-around shelving bright white to keep the room feeling airy. A cozy daybed upholstered in pale turquoise velvet invites hours of getting lost in a book.Continue to 16 of 42 below.
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In this sunny Craftsman-style living room, interior designer and Emily Henderson Design contributor, Velinda Hellen, outfitted the built-in shelving with books and added an old school magazine rack, plenty of throw pillows, and a cozy throw blanket to turn it into a reading corner that is perfectly integrated with the rest of the living room.Continue to 17 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Kim Nadel of Kim Nadel Interiors created a home library book corner with contemporary built-in black, white, and wood shelving that is backlit for dramatic effect. An oversized pouf provides a place to page through coffee table books.Continue to 18 of 42 below.
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Home Office Guest Room
This home office guest room from Emily Henderson Design contributor Emily Bowser is lined with bookshelves, a built-in magazine rack, and a large, comfy off-duty daybed strewn with pillows and throws that turn it into an off-duty home library for whiling away a rainy Sunday afternoon.Continue to 19 of 42 below.
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This home library from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors has built-in shelving, a cozy sofa, a large upholstered ottoman, and a pair of armchairs that make it as comfortable for family reading sessions as it is for solo afternoons with a good novel. A large map anchors the wall space between shelves, and a pair of sconces provides ample light for reading.Continue to 20 of 42 below.
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Interior designer and Emily Henderson Design contributor Lea Johnson created a home library wall on the far end of this open plan space by installing floor-to-ceiling shelving that houses a generous collection of reading material and decorative objects. The library space is defined with an inexpensive paper lantern pendant light and a small round table and chairs that can function as a place to read or have a meal.Continue to 21 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors created a streamlined home library corner in this minimalist living room by hanging a midcentury wood shelf on the wall next to the fireplace that is flanked by a modern chaise, once again demonstrating that it doesn't take much to carve out a home library no matter what your space constraints or aesthetics may be.Continue to 22 of 42 below.
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While shelves crowded with nonchalantly stored books will always have a certain appeal, there's no reason why your bookshelves can't be as well styled as the rest of your house. In this home library from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors, a wall of built-in cabinetry and shelving features shelves of varying widths lined with books, objects, and decorative items. To add dimension, the designer hung framed art on the front of the shelves, a clever trick that also works with small decorative mirrors.
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Blogger Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess installed a custom built bookshelf wall complete with a library ladder on one side of her living room that houses a nonchalantly stacked collection books and knickknacks. While it might seem antithetical to install a TV in the middle of your home library, this one largely disappears against the black paint of the shelving.Continue to 24 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design created a home library in the corner of a spacious living room that has built-in shelving, a fun retro chaise, a quirky, vintage reading light, and a gallery wall that adds interest and texture.Continue to 25 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Jenn Pablo of Jenn Pablo Studio added long white floating shelves to a white wall in the corner of the living room to keep things light, adding an oversized floor lamp and a comfortable upholstered armchair and folded blanket to encourage reading breaks.Continue to 26 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors created a mini home library in the corner of a bedroom that is outfitted with a round upholstered armchair, a multitude of throw pillows, and built-in shelving housing books and knickknacks. Light pours in from the adjacent window making it the perfect place for daytime reading.
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Blogger Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona gave her parents' rustic and traditional mountain home library a modern refresh with white paint, floor-to-ceiling shelving, and a built-in window seat. She added a pair of armchairs flanking the wood burning stove that make the space comfortable for two to read, relax, and play music.Continue to 28 of 42 below.
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Room With a View
Interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design created a simple, streamlined home library with a view on the far end of this sunny living room that's also a perfect spot for studying. A round white tulip table and a pair of natural wood Scandi-style chairs are nestled in the floor-to-ceiling bay windows that provide natural light and a pretty view of the outdoors. The space is defined by a pair of sconces on opposite walls, and a small bookshelf houses reading material.
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Home Office Library
Interior designer Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo lined the back wall of this home office with bookshelves and a small library ladder, using wood tones, neutrals, and black and blue accents for a fresh modern take on the classic home library.Continue to 30 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Laquita Tate of Laquita Tate Interior Styling & Designs created an affordable take on a home library with a pair of leaning bookshelves. She helped define the space by hanging a striking piece of art between the shelves, and accessorized the collection of books with decorative objects, plants, and family photos.Continue to 31 of 42 below.
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In this streamlined take on a home library from the interior design team at Forbes + Masters, a pair of long and linear wood shelves are mounted on the side wall of the living room, and a corner armchair provides a place to read that is separate from the main seating area.Continue to 32 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo carved a cookbook library in this spacious kitchen that provides a dedicated place to display and browse favorite cookbooks, or sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and plan meals. The nook is decorated with wallpaper and outfitted with floating shelves that highlight its purpose and make it more fun to use.Continue to 34 of 42 below.
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Interior designers Tara Mangini and Percy Bright from Jersey Ice Cream Co. created a kid-friendly reading attic with wrap-around seating, cozy floor rugs and pillows, and a chandelier that frames the lovely arched window to provide kids with a dedicated place to escape and decompress.
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This home office library from interior designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design is bright and eclectic with its unexpected color palette of deep plum and orange. A built-in desk and shelving, and a comfortable love seat and coffee table provide multiple ways to use and enjoy the space.Continue to 37 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Becca Casey of Greenwich, CT-based Becca Interiors created a home library corner in this Hudson Valley, NY Colonial home. Visible from the main living room, the library area is framed and defined by dark stained wood cased openings, and features built-in bookshelves, a pair of sconces, and a cozy overstuffed velvet couch tucked under the window.
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A home library doesn't have to be expansive or expensive to get the job done. Here, interior designer Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo created a home library area in a dark blue living room by installing a tall, freestanding bookcase, a comfortable armchair, a rigid pouf that doubles as a side table, and a floor lamp reading light.Continue to 39 of 42 below.
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Wall to Wall
This light and bright home library from interior designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design includes a wall of floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving, a library ladder, and a reading table, armchair, and oversize floor lamp to define the area.Continue to 40 of 42 below.
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Interior designer Andrea Pietragallo of Britt Design Studio added a convivial seating area with four comfy armchairs around a coffee table in this saturated blue home library, making it the perfect place to read or gather.Continue to 41 of 42 below.
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Home Library Dining Room
If you live in a traditional home with a dedicated dining room that only gets use on holidays and special occasions, consider lining the walls with bookshelves so that it can double as a home library, like this multipurpose dining room from photographer Margaret Wright.
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Guest Bedroom Library
Blogger Leslie Saeta of My 100 Year Old Home turned her third floor guest room into a modern, farmhouse-style home library with a wall of bookshelves lined with books and styled with decorative objects that she pulled from around the house. This is a good solution for book lovers with overflow or for those who prefer to keep their main living spaces clear of visual clutter. And it guarantees that your guests will always have something to read to help them fall asleep in a strange bed.