Homes Photo Credit: Ema Peter

5 Ways to Make Your Home Library Smarter

Give your decor story a happy ending with these clever designs.

Beautiful and smart? Home libraries have it all! These designers thought beyond the basic bookshelf and crafted new displays with stunning results. Whether you have a massive collection of stories or just a few favourites (including some dog-eared issues of WL, of course), these design tips will inspire you to take your home library to the next level. The plot thickens!

(Photo: Ema Peter.)

1. Keep It Down-to-Earth

The most timeless stories are those with humble beginnings—keep your home library modest by being selective about what to display. The designers of this contemporary Vancouver home, Heather Howat and David Battersby, made this space sophisticated without it seeming pretentious. Sliding panels and decorative knick-knacks give this grand walnut bookshelf a healthy balance of privacy and visibility. See more of this calligraphy-inspired home.

(Photo: John Sinal.)

2. Make It Multitask

Who says a home library can’t also be an understated room divider? This bookshelf, made from reclaimed wood from a retired shipyard, does double-duty. Being creative in your display creates potential for your space to be not only more unique but more functional—make your books work smart, not hard. See more of architect Everest Lapp’s Pender Island Cabin.

(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

3. Embrace Every Space

Every home has a story—and some homes have a ton of them! If your novel collection has grown from bookshelf to library status, it’s time for a change of setting. Using custom floor-to-ceiling shelving, Designer Erin Chow transformed this otherwise lacklustre 30-foot hallway into a colourful, imaginative space. The library feels built into the condo’s foundation, rather than merely placed against it. Look for unlikely places to store and display your books and embrace all the space (Under the staircase? Behind the door? Above the fridge?) that your home has to offer. See more of this art-filled Vancouver condo.

(Photo: Martin Tessler.)

4. Think Outside the Books

Not everyone has enough books to fill an entire bookshelf (or you may have only a few select favourites you want to display)—try wallpapering the back panel of your bookcase to give your library vibrance and contrast, and then complete the look by mingling your paperbacks with artwork and foliage. Get more advice for creating drama and depth in your home.

(Photo: Martin Tessler.)

5. Create an Oasis

If privacy is more your style, try setting aside a reading space that’s a little more secluded—this tiny library, designed by Elena Del Bucchia, is concealed by a barn door. The two-way fireplace connects it to the the rest of the home, but it’s still tucked away enough for a private, relaxing atmosphere. See more of this Scandinavian-meets-cowboy Alberta ranch.

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