Modest Home Libraries

I have categorized any home library that does not occupy an entire room of average to larger-than-average size as a "modest home library" (although the room itself may be far from "modest" in decor). These usually constitute more than one bookcase of books (although I may include some photographs of exceptional single bookcases). Most modest home libraries cover a single wall in bookshelves and probably contain several hundred to one thousand books.

These are good photos to look at when planning the average home library. They contain many interesting details and attractive interior design ideas that can be incorporated into anyone's home library or office. The photos are in no particular order -- I add them as I find them online.


Getty Images

"Cozy home library with fireplace." This modest library includes many of the traditional elements of a home library: built-in wood shelves, a rolling library ladder, a fireplace and a bearskin/faux bearskin rug.


House Beautiful: Storage; Gropp

This library in a 1790 Paris, France building is an elegant space, with bookcases running up to the high ceiling, art displayed on the bookcase fronts and lovely furnishings.


Getty Images

"Large number of books arranged on the bookshelves in the living room." The books in this library/living room stretch to the high ceiling, occupying one wall of the room and sharing the wall with a handsome fireplace (perhaps marble?).



This very stylish room (no source or designer listed) contains a wall of books running up the very high ceiling. It appears that a green velvet curtain can be drawn across the book wall to conceal it (although why anyone would want to conceal such a grand set of shelves is beyond me). It is comfortably furnished with a mix of traditional and modern furniture and clearly serves as a social room, as well as a library.


1005 (chotda)

In this home library of books on two walls, the volumes are unexpectedly arranged by color, in a rainbow-like progression across and down the shelves. While this might not be the best method for categorizing large collections, it is without doubt a striking visual image.



This small grouping of shelves is rather unique in that it starts at the ceiling and runs partway down the wall, instead of starting at the floor. This allows the shelves to make use of an awkward space marked by two doors and a change in level.



This dining room/library features a long wall with shelving running up to the high ceiling. The shelving also serves to store wine, as well as books. I am not certain if this is the best arrangement for storing wine, as it as best stored away from sunlight and at temperatures below the average room temperature in modern houses (as are books, for that matter), and it does have the disadvantage of limiting the amount of book shelving that is available. But it is certainly an impressive room in which to have dinner parties.



This library has one wall of nicely-constructed shelves (notice the detail picked out in black paint) and other walls are covered with art in gold frames, one above the other up to the ceiling (a very European-looking arrangement). The circular staircase certainly gives the room a formality and flair, as does the beautiful desk. A lovely room.



These handsome bookcases are painted black and have cabinets at the base in which to store things. The shaded lamps projecting from the top give interest to the shelves, and the table provides a good place to work.



These white-painted shelves fill the entire wall of this room, running all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, coming to a peak at the top. The very top shelves are so high that they are used for decorative items that do not need to be accessed regularly.

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