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23 Unique Home Library Ideas

A library has a lot to offer your home. The best home libraries are luxurious without being tacky, sophisticated without being stuffy, and just plain wonderful places to relax and enjoy a good book. If you’re a bookworm already, a library room probably sounds like heaven for you. And if you’re trying to fit more room for books into your life, a library can give you the perfect space to do it. 

At Van Dyke’s, we love a good home library as much as you do. So, if you’re in the process of creating or redoing a library room right now, we’ve got some great home library ideas to share that will get your imagination working. Read on for 23 ideas that will bring your library to life.

1. Add a Fireplace

Here’s a cozy classic to get us started: the library fireplace. The joy of reading by a roaring fire is pretty much incomparable, especially if you live somewhere that gets really cold in the winter. Tons of options are available, from the vintage charm of the traditional wood-burning hearth to the modern convenience of a gas fireplace. The caveat: A fireplace often requires installing a chimney and committing to regular cleaning, so be aware that there might be better choices if you’re looking for something low maintenance.

Install a Library Ladder

2. Install a Library Ladder

If you have a serious book collection and high ceilings, a library ladder could be a must-have for accessing the high shelves. So it’s a good thing that library ladders are also just plain cool, not to mention beautiful. We’re huge fans of the library ladder at Van Dyke’s, which you’ll see from our massive selection of library ladder hardware and even complete kits that will help you build your own library ladder system step by step (or, in this case, rung by rung). 

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3. Incorporate Maps or Globe

Nothing creates a stately and majestic look for your library quite like maps do. A great way to start is to get a big map and invest in a quality frame for it. Now you’ve got a beautiful centerpiece for your library, and you can build on it by adding a selection of smaller framed maps around it. Want to move your love of maps into three dimensions? Get a globe and take it for a spin! 

4. Make it a Home Office

We take a turn into the practical with our next home library idea. Why not create a delightful home office or study inside your library? Lots of people love the feeling of being surrounded by books as they work, and a desk looks great as part of a library. It’s also the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to that fancy desk you’ve been eyeing — a drop-front or roll-top desk looks especially exquisite in a library. 

5. Create a Library Around Built-In Bookshelves

Built-in bookshelves are an unmistakable part of the old-school home library charm. So, if you’ve got a room with some great built-ins, a library room might be the perfect application for them. If your built-ins don’t provide enough space for your literary collection, you can always supplement your shelving with additional free-standing bookshelves against the walls! For those with a higher budget, adding a custom set of built-in bookshelves will allow you to truly create the library you’ve always dreamed of. 

6. Use Earth Colors

Many people like their libraries with a snug vibe, and that’s exactly why earth tone colors are among the most popular home library ideas. These rich and relaxing colors will give your library an atmosphere that’s comfy and serene — just the right setting for nosing through a novel at any time of the day or the year. Combine with other cozy decorations like a fireplace for a truly classic look. 

classical library

7. Or Try Tropical Colors

On the other hand, there’s no rulebook that says your library has to go for the mahogany-paneled look. Some ocean blues and shell pinks can make a lovely Key West-inspired library, like something Ernest Hemingway or Tennessee Williams might write in. Add some tropical plants if they suit your home and climate, and sneak in a little nautical decor here and there for a placid and pleasant vibe.  

8. Set Up a Fish Tank

Adding a fish tank to your library will give you beautiful fish to enjoy while you read, work or study. Tanks are available in many sizes, from tiny tanks that hold just one or two fish to mega-aquariums that can accommodate dozens of aquatic amigos. Of course, since it involves living creatures, only get a fish tank if you’re prepared to commit to caring for these finned friends, and do some careful research to make sure you’re housing compatible species together.

9. Hang Some Movie Posters

The relatively sedate design of most libraries means that a few well-chosen colorful pieces can really pop, and movie posters might be just the ticket for you. Find some colorful posters from your favorite films and invest in good frames for them that match your library’s decor. You might use a single large poster if you want a bold statement piece, or you might scatter several posters throughout if you want a more even impact. 

10. Add a Long Table

If your library gives you lots of horizontal space to play with, a long table can make a stunning addition. Those who like to conduct business in the library will appreciate it for holding meetings, but a dining room table in the library also makes for a unique and beautiful dining atmosphere. Choosing a table that suits both purposes will help! 

11. Create a Multi-Media Room

Books, movies, shows, video games — why not enjoy it all in the same room? Consolidating your library and your media devices into one place can help you conserve space in a smaller home or apartment. An entertainment center with abundant shelving makes an excellent complement to a library media room. Just beware of scheduling conflicts when one person wants to watch The Avengers and the other person wants to quietly finish their book! 

Antique Ceiling Tiles

12. Install Antique Ceiling Tiles

In search of something distinctively old-school for your library? Add some vintage metal ceiling tiles. Van Dyke’s selection of ceiling tins and tiles is inspired by historic building designs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and you’ll be amazed at the lovely aesthetic that they can add to your space. They’re not just for the hardcore DIY enthusiasts, either. Most of our tiles can be installed directly onto your ceiling without specialized tools. 

Shop Antique Ceiling Tiles for Your Library

13. Add Some House Plants

House plants are the antidote to stuffy library syndrome. Our green friends have a way of freshening everything up, spreading their magic around and improving people’s mental health in the process. Consider the properties of your library room, such as how much sunlight it gets, when selecting plants. When in doubt, go for something that’s easy to care for — a shelf of succulents is a great starter that will require minimal tending! 

14. Board Game Room

Board games and the atmosphere of a library often go well together. Try stocking a few of your library shelves with an assortment of board games and then pulling one out the next time you have friends over. So many cool board games are available now that you’ll never lack for options, whether you’re into military strategy or fast-paced party games. If you’re a chess fan, a chess set made from quality materials like wood or stone is another great home library idea. 

15. Floating Shelves

Highlight some favorite titles or compose fun vignettes with a few strategically placed floating shelves. You might display your favorite book series or arrange a set of family photographs, perhaps with some cool bookends to keep your books right where you want them. And don’t forget how you hang the shelves themselves. Using decorative corbels can be a lovely option for setting exactly the look you want for your floating shelves. 

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Restore Antique Hardware

16. Update and Restore Antique Hardware

It’s never been easier to get hardware for your library that exudes old-school charm. From door handles to drawer pulls to hinges and beyond, Van Dyke’s selection of antique hardware includes a dazzling variety of period finishes and designs that will set your home library apart with ease. For the most unified look, choose one of our finish categories (such as bronze, pewter or nickel) and select your hardware accordingly. 

Browse Antique Hardware for Your Restoration Projects

17. Install a Pocket Door

A pocket door adds an air of allure to your library. As you pull it aside, you almost feel like you’re discovering an amazing secret trove of books! It can help you maximize your space if you’re working with a small area, since you won’t be designing around door swings anymore. Plus, it honestly just looks really cool, especially if you have a Victorian style home. The pocket door first came to prominence in the ornate Victorian style. 

library with chandelier

18. Hang a Chandelier

Some of us like to go big, which is totally awesome — and if that sounds like you, may we suggest adding a chandelier to your library? In a larger library, a chandelier’s majesty is pretty much unmatched, and it can provide just the amazing centerpiece that you’ve been looking for. In addition, Van Dyke’s has chandeliers available in many different styles, from luxurious crystal to stately bronze, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in setting the right tone. 

Browse Chandeliers for Your Library Restoration

19. Create a Book Nook 

Maybe you really want a library, but just don’t have the space for a full-sized one. But what if you transformed a corner of your home into your own little literary paradise? That’s the idea behind creating a book nook! All you really need is a single comfy chair, some shelves and pleasant lighting. Choose a corner that has a secluded feel and is removed from areas with the most hustle and bustle. If you’re having trouble finding such a zone of peace, try hanging some curtains to create separation for your book nook. 

Install Wall Sconces<

20. Install Wall Sconces

A good set of wall sconces provides a wonderfully versatile and intimate way to light your library. These wall-mounted miracles come in all shapes, sizes and styles, from the minimal and modern to the classically graceful. Check out Van Dyke’s selection of sconces for a rich array of versatile wall lighting that will give your home all the right looks. Read up on some basic lighting principles so you can place your sconces where they’ll be most effective at creating your ideal look.

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21. Snack Stash

Many of us like having a tasty treat or beverage as we enjoy a good book. Try placing an area in your library to hold some deliciousness! A small cabinet to hold the goodies is all most people need, perhaps along with some strategically placed paper towels for easy cleanup. Those who crave caffeine might consider adding a Keurig or another coffee maker, and the truly committed snackers might even want to add a mini fridge! 

22. Set Up a Pool Table

If you envision your library as a social space, a pool table is an excellent addition. You’re guaranteed to spend many fun afternoons and evenings in a game of billiards with friends or family, and a pool table makes an ideal choice for larger libraries that need a centerpiece to tie the room together and focus the energy. Pro tip: Grab an area rug to go underneath your pool table to protect your floor and prevent the table from sliding. 

23. Create Ambiance with Record Player/Sound System

Good books and good music are a great combination, and lots of folks like to be able to throw on the perfect tunes to set the atmosphere as they sink into their reading. The means by which you listen can vary as much as the music you’re listening to. Some people love the classic vibe and ritual aspect of playing a vinyl record, while others enjoy the unfettered convenience and endless playlists of streaming music services. Either way, the key is to have a good sound system to enjoy it on, so invest in a solid system that can accept multiple input formats.

Image Credits: 
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