Larger Home Libraries

I have categorized any home library that mostly occupies an entire room of average to larger-than-average size as a "larger home library," although it is not a firm rule. The library could even have two levels, making it a pretty impressive room, but it is still a room that could be found in a middle-class or upper-middle-class house – not unheard of among academics, architects and book lovers successfully employed in other fields. A larger home library probably contains at least a thousand books, possibly several thousand or even more.

Many of these are seriously drool-worthy home libraries, but some of them are not beyond the means of ordinary people (admittedly probably of above-average income) for whom having such a library is a priority. With planning, patience (and the sacrifice of a room) such a library is attainable for most people who want or need one.

For those not yet ready to commit to making such a space, these photos provide inspiration and ideas for the future, or simply pleasant dreams.



Businessweek writes that "Custom cabinet makers Interior Dimensions worked with architect Ivan Bereznickie to build a dream home library for this client, an academic who demanded a functioning workspace with lots of storage. Lavish, red mahogany cabinetry is complemented by a herringbone floor pattern and a block-mottled makore desk. The centerpiece of the space is the barrel-vault arch, custom detailed with patterns reminiscent of Middle Eastern influences." The magazine estimates that the library cost more than $100,000 in its 2006 article about home libraries.



"The current owners of this home took one look at the diamond-shaped space occupying its first floor — then being used as an art gallery — and decided to buy the house. They commissioned Interior Dimensions to design and install bookshelves on every wall from ceiling to floor, creating a one-of-a-kind library with room for thousands of books. Michael Weiss, the company's founding partner, says the hardest challenge was measuring shelf modules to perfectly lock into the angular spaces surrounding stairs and windows." The library cost more than $50,000, according to Businessweek.



"When architect Curt Lamb was called on to design a living room addition to this bungalow-style home in West Newton, Mass., the hundreds of books stacked and scattered around the home led him to the idea of designing a two-story library instead. In the 20 x 20-foot space, Lamb had cherry millwork integrated into the exterior wall and turned the four corners into tall windows to let in natural light. A miniature set of stairs leads up to the balcony." The library cost about $110,000, according to Businessweek.



Alvis Upitis/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images. This is a roomy library with beautiful wood shelving, floors and paneling, and a matching circular staircase. There is something appealing about libraries with oriental carpets over wood floors.


Getty Images

The white-painted shelves occupy three walls of a good-sized alcove in this house. There is also room for a table at which to work.



This two-story space is quite modern in design, from the "floating" wood shelves to the helix-shaped circular stair to the steel and leather reading chair. It is a space clearly meant for leisure reading, not for serious research, based on the absence of a library table or other traditional library accessories.



This impressive two-story space has an iron rail around the upper level, looking own upon the lower level containing a handsome fireplace and more books. A rolling library ladder is provided for the upper level, although I am not certain that one is quite necessary, as the shelves do not appear to reach more than eight feet up the wall – a small step stool would probably suffice. But a rolling ladder is a fun accessory anyway.



This library loft has a gothic-roof shape to it, with shelves running all the way up to the point of the ceiling. The shelves have interesting trimwork around them, and the library has such worthy components as a built-in window seat and a rolling library ladder. Additionally, the red color is my favorite one for libraries – every library I've had has been painted that color. An immensely appealing space.



These well-filled black shelves, constructed out of ready-made shelving units, wrap around the corner of this room. Although these are not built-in shelves, they are a good substitute for them, since they fit the space quite well. This is a good way to hold a fairly large number of books – probably close to a thousand in this photo (although the drawback with ready-made shelves is that they extend upward only about six feet, leaving at least two feet of unused space above them).



These white-painted shelves stretch from floor to high ceiling and occupy at least two large walls. There is space for several thousand books in this arrangement – an impressive amount. The fixed shelves set at regular heights and widths gives the room a grid-like, organized feeling, while the white paint keeps the massive units from feeling oppressive.


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