Designing and Building Custom Home Libraries and Reading Nooks

Are You an Avid Reader Looking to Set Up a Home Library? There are creative solutions to incorporate the library aesthetic in any living space! Even without custom built-in shelves and impressive hardback collections, creating the look can still add beauty and charm.

Integrate wood elements for warmth and an iconic library aesthetic. Opt for lighter tones for a modern reading nook, while darker hues may help achieve a transitional or artistic vibe.

Designing a Home Library

Home libraries are an elegant way to add modernity and elegance to your living space. Your reading nook could range from an entire room dedicated to books to built-in niches in walls or alcoves off living rooms – the design will depend on how much storage you require, which seating you prefer and your goals for using the space.

Wall-to-wall shelving can be an ideal way to display your book collection in large rooms. However, creating a cozy reading nook with overstuffed chairs and side tables for beverages can still be just as effective.

When selecting books for your shelves, bear in mind the content will appeal to you as a reader. Don’t waste money buying beautiful volumes that may never get read if only planning on using them as decorative elements.

Bookcases and Bookshelves

Bookshelves are at the core of any home library. Built-in or freestanding, book storage ideas can make any space feel inviting for reading in a cozy chair while sipping hot beverages such as coffee or tea.

No matter the size or nature of your collection, bookshelves provide an easy way to organize them all in an organized and accessible fashion. Look for shelving units with adjustable shelves so that you can adjust both their rows and depth accordingly to meet the unique needs of each book in your library.

Wood shelves provide a timeless mid-century and rustic aesthetic, while glass ones add modernity. Customize your shelf styling by accessorizing with decorative objects and picture frames for a curated appearance that feels welcoming rather than chaotic. Consider alphabetizing or author-arranging books so they’re easier to locate quickly; alternatively stacking books horizontally could increase how many can fit on each shelf.


Your reading nook must be an inviting and relaxing space, perhaps complete with a fireplace for added coziness. Cuddle into an inviting reading chair warmed by the ambient fire while immersing yourself in your book!

Mixing built-in shelving options with freestanding storage can add a unique charm to your home library design. If traditional wall-to-wall bookhelves feel too cramped for you, try wallpapering the backs of shelves for an unexpected yet modern touch on this traditional option.

Make the cozy sanctuary feel of your reading nook part of other areas in your home, like this living room library from Meg Lonergan Interiors featuring an inviting window seat upholstered with soft fabric and pillows, striped flooring, neutral colors that match book spines on bookshelves for an appealing aesthetic, reading light, side table for drinks or decor and the ideal reading spot is complete.


Even without enough space for elaborate custom built-ins and an impressive hardback collection, you can still create a cozy home library. Use closets, corners of living rooms or cupboards under stairs as ways of turning any area into your cozy library space.

Don’t be scared to build high — floor-to-ceiling shelving keeps sightlines open while adding visual impact. If your home reaches its maximum height limit, a well-secured rolling library ladder can complete the look and make retrieving books from upper shelves easy.

Color coding the books in your home library shelves to improve their appearance can truly elevate their appearance and allow for easy navigation of shelves. Darker hues should sit on lower shelves while lighter tones increase as you move upwards — this is a small detail that elevates their elegance and makes finding exactly what you’re searching for easier. Plush pillows, blankets, rugs and string lights or scented candles can create an inviting reading nook for extra relaxation!

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