If you are an avid reader, or are in a section of the business sector requiring a large number of books such as lawyers, architects, writers and others, a space dedicated to a home library may be in order. For the career or business person this may include an office, but for an avid reader, comfort is going to be a larger consideration in the design of a home library.
The home library may be a wall lined with shelving behind a leather couch, or it may be a room large enough to hold consultations and meetings. Occasionally, affluent homes house libraries larger than the standard home!
Whatever your dream of a home library, these tips can assist you in the design and planning of your dream home library.
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Design Tips for a Home Library
Your personal style and that of your home will dictate the style of a home library. Typically, as well as historically, a home library always include lush, soft and oversized leather furniture. Quite often this includes a well-worn Chesterfield sofa. A comfortable tufted leather sofa will be an elegant addition to a traditional library and home.
The library is one of the few rooms where the wall color is allowed to be dark, as long as ample light for reading is available. Muted lighting is in fact, recommended for a quiet retreat that is easy on the eyes. Reading areas include comfy nooks in front of windows for plenty of natural light, tables with light either in the form of lamps or carefully positioned overhead lighting to provide the reading area with light. Lush, soft leather furniture will allow a reader to settle in, stretch out and get comfortable for the reading of a favorite book or an anticipated new release. Color is neutral to dark depending upon style and your preference.
In affluent historical homes, walls were often dark woods such as mahogany. Floors were often the same or even cherished rosewood. If you are the lucky owner of a historic home, a peek under the carpet and behind sheetrock walls may reveal beautiful wood. A library is a peaceful retreat for quiet reading and study, and elegant wooden walls may impart the feel of a secluded retreat depending upon the architecture of the home.
In modern homes, muted and neutral generally are the best and most popular color choice. If adequate natural light is provided there is no reason that you can't paint with the dark color you would love to use. That is the great thing about paint, if you don't like it, you can always repaint it. Paint one wall first. If it must be repainted it is simpler to do so with just one wall. Just remember, don't try to cover gloss paint with flat.
Today's trend is towards neutral colors, but there are cases where you simply can't paint. A local historic home sold a few years ago and was converted into a Bed and Breakfast. The owner absolutely hated the dull and dark wood library. Due to the local code regarding its historic status, she was not allowed to paint over the wooden ceiling or walls. Careful cleaning of the wood, and a hand rubbed beeswax polish provided a soft sheen to the dull wood elevating it from dull and old to elegant.
Room size carpets falling a foot short of the walls with a mix of white, tan, yellow and ivory flora brightened the extremely dark wooden floor leaving a small portion of newly burnished wood flooring to be visible.
Shelving had sagged over the 150 years plus of use. New 1" x 12"shelving was constructed and painted ivory, with narrow decorative molding stained dark brown and applied to the vertical support of new shelving. An ivory ceiling medallion with gold leaf accents were installed over the 150 year old chandelier converted to electric to catch and reflect more light from the dark wood ceiling. Upon the plain wood paneled walls, decorative molding accented the lower panels adding an elegant, period style raised surface. The molding was painted ivory with the small center medallions darkly stained, pulling the untouchable wood and ivory accents all together, resulting in some much needed light reflection in a very dark room.
The windows of this room provided only dim light. White drapes with sheers behind actually provided more light than did the windows did on the sunniest of days.
The method of adding light to the dark library of a beautiful historic home was to "add brighten where you were forbidden to lighten" in the words of the 90 year old former owner.
While rules of exterior appearances are a frequent directive in modern sub-divisions, the interior is generally at the owner's discretion. Muted lighting is called for in the modern homes library with reading light provided for by lamps preferably, or overhead lighting positioned to fall upon books pages.
The modern home library generally reflects modern design with walls in neutral shades, and shelving ranging from white to polished wood. Carpet will create a more closed space design, with wooden floors creating a more open feel. Rooms with high ceilings provide drama as well as make a space feel larger.
For increased comfort, relaxation and wow factor a fireplace is the perfect accompaniment to a library. An electric fireplace can be added without construction of a chimney, many of todays "logs" and "flames" are very realistic, and many models double up as an electric heater for chilly winter nights. Leather furniture is the perfect companion for reading a favorite book. Soft comfortable cushions and full-grain leather that "breathes" will accommodate long hours with an intriguing book. Lasting for decades, and improving with age, it will cradle you in comfort for the best reading of your life in your own private home library.
Trust The Leather Sofa Company's master craftsmen for the hand construction of the finest furniture you will ever own, made entirely in the USA!
Shop online or visit any of our furniture stores in Frisco City, Dallas, Grapevine or Lewisville, Texas. We will be happy to provide you with the comfort and class of fine leather furniture that complements your dreams.