Home library inspiration: How to store books the stylish way

Books – sure, they make you smarter. But they make your living space look pretty too.

Once upon a time the word ‘library’ conjured up images of fusty, dusty rooms filled with weighty tomes. Well, not any more. In today’s fast-paced world of digital media, the slow-burn pleasure of real printed books is not only being rediscovered but the library is now an inspiring space in which to enjoy your latest read. 

From dedicated rooms boasting bespoke book jackets and colour-coded spines that transform a humble bookcase into a work of art, here are some home library ideas to suit every taste and budget. (Unless you are Gwyneth Paltrow, of course, who has reportedly hired a curator to create her own dedicated library space). 

how to store books
Introduce painted joinery to liven up a neutral space. For a similar unit, try nevillejohnson.co.uk. Image: Tobias Partners

how to store books

how to store books
Image: sofa.com
how to store books
Flashes of colour and ornamentation allow your personality to reign supreme. Image: Fabrizio and Nelcya Cantoni
An innovative take on the home library, this shelf from gomodern.co.uk has oak reading markers to hang books without losing your place. Image: Time Inc. (UK) Ltd/ Simon Bevan
how to store books
Image: Brigid Arnott

Step up your reading

www.ti-mediacontent.com/Paul Massey

This is a clever space-saving alternative to a traditional home library: alternating tread stairs with open risers double as bookshelves that lead up to a mezzanine. This look squeezes a smart staircase into a shallow space, making it perfect for smaller homes. And regularly walking past the books means you’re more likely to grab one to read.

Teatime tomes

At Teatulia, a tea shop and library space in London’s Covent Garden, the Living Bookshelf is a monthly rotation of titles put together by musicians, artists and filmmakers, the first of which was curated by actress Tilda Swinton. For similar art deco-inspired floor tiles, try neishacrosland.com. For similar velvet lounge furniture, visit swooneditions.com.

Rework a classic

Great Gatsby Wallpaper, from £415, Danny Desk, £2,550, Saturn Acrylic Chair with Trullo Stone Seat, £1570, Andrew Martin, www.andrewmartin.co.uk

No room to display books? Paper your walls with literary classics instead for year-round inspiration. Featured here are the opening two pages of The Great Gatsby, £415 for a 2.96m x 1.4m panel, andrewmartin.co.uk. Other titles include Nicholas Nickleby and Pride and Prejudice, as part of its Scholar collection. If your walls are doing the talking, contrast the look with simple, contemporary furniture.

Tall tales

how to store books
Image: Australian House & Garden/Maree Homer

Books can add a sculptural element to a scheme – especially if you use ‘invisible’ storage to contain them, such as this floating shelf from containerstore.com, which creates a natural focal point and packs a punch. Stack larger books at the bottom, going smaller and lighter as you work upwards. Colour-code for a sophisticated note and change the look often.

Report: Emma J. Page