'Tis the season to curl up with a good book..
Given up the booze, the Quality Street, rib-eye steaks or your favourite Danish blue; allergic to the cold or just want to clear the credit card? Whatever – it’s a good time to take your mind off it and spend the dark evenings delving into those novels you didn’t get to finish on holiday last year or the latest best-sellers unwrapped on Christmas Day.
Even better is a dedicated space for weighty tomes, literary classics and favourite reads.
Whether you have the space for an entire room, intend to use a section of one, or create a library-come-cinema or music room, built-in bookcases make great use of alcove space either side of a chimney breast, while modular shelving is versatile and can be taken with you each time you move, or swapped from room to room when you fancy freshening things up.
Choosing a paint colour for built-in shelves that’s the same as the walls will create a calm, cohesive look that’s easy on the eye. Include the ceiling too for a cosy, cocooning effect. Take inspiration from the soothing shades and bold hues in the examples that lie ahead.
If a whole wall of books is a tad over-whelming (so many waiting for you to get through!), staggering the shelves at different heights and widths will allow you to break up the space with vases, plants and quirky objet d’art to let your personality shine through – and will create easy sections for different categories.
Rooms with high ceilings look particularly fabulous with floor-to-ceiling shelving systems lined with colourful book spines and interesting titles – like the one below beautifully complemented with a vintage ladder, so the top shelves can easily be reached. It was the long ladder, that in fact, inspired the space.
Enjoy – it’s time to be well read, rather than well fed.
A huge disc chandelier injects a bit of Seventies rock ’n’ roll to the mix of vintage and modern pieces, creating a gentleman’s club vibe.
Get the look: This is the Nimbus pendant by CTO Lighting. The reclaimed stone fireplace is from Lassco. This is the Calypso rug by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company. The vintage Seventies coffee table is from Alfies Antique Market.
The modular shelving has been put up, taken down and then put up again, in each of this family’s previous three homes. Every time it somehow fits the space perfectly.
Get the look: The modular shelving is by Nils Holger Moormann. The LC4 Chaise Longue is by Le Corbusier. The sofa and ottoman are Flexform.
An atmospheric den that doubles up as a cinema room and library. Luxe paneling and flashes of red keep this room feeling grown-up.
Get the look: The sofa is from BPA International. This is the E1027 side table by Eileen Gray for Aram Designs at Aram Store. The patterned cushions are by By Nord at Houseology. The linen cushion covers are from The Linen Works. This is a Windowpane throw by Raft Furniture.
During the Second World War, this house was home to newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook, who held secret meetings and played host to Winston Churchill in the panelled library. There are traces of an older past too: a Tudor bear pit and thick turreted stone walls, a legacy from the castle that once stood on the site.
Get the look: Try Lassco for vintage furniture and lighting. Retrouvius stock vintage panels.
Designed to accentuate the height of the ceiling, the bookshelves bring definition to the large ground floor space and, in particular, to the area around the piano.
Get the look: The bookshelves are painted in Livid intelligent matt emulsion by Little Greene. The painting is by Arrigo Wittler.
This room’s old-fashioned bones are teamed with contemporary aesthetics. The ladder, salvaged from an old postal sorting office in Liverpool, inspired this library space. The clock face, found in a junk shop, has been hung as it would have been despite parts being missing.
Get the look: For unusual wood ladders, try Lassco. The vintage clock face is from Patricia Harvey at Alfies Antique Market. The 18th-century easel is believed to have belonged to the painter Whistler. Visit Green & Stone for an antique piece like this. Beside the easel is a Smoke chair by Maarten Baas for Moooi. The vintage glass chandelier in the background is from Maison Artefact.
This home has chucked out the interiors rule book by teaming bold colours with ornate gold leaf and quirky theatrical props with vintage furniture. The oak flooring was laid at a diagonal to counteract the uneven shape of the walls and ceiling – all of which adds to the kaleidoscope atmosphere around the loft space.
Get the look: The vintage Percival Lafer seating is from Alfies Antique Market and was reupholstered by Ainsworth Broughton. The Willy Rizzo Bar table for Cassini was found at The Furniture Cave. The Twiggy floor lamp is by Marc Sadler for Foscarini. The rug is from SCP.
Architecturally, this room is a masterpiece of balance and measure, designed by leading 19th-century architect Decimus Burton, with Regency Revival pillars, a portico and elegantly high windows to prove it. But, as the home demonstrates, sometimes it’s good to give history a bit of a nudge.
Get the look: The wallpaper is hand-painted de Gournay. The chairs are vintage Hans J Wegner from Dagmar. The pendant is a bespoke design by Naomi Paul. The Sixties Greaves & Thomas sofa bed is from Scottlorenzo.com. The vintage coffee table is by Paolo Piva for B&B Italia at Béton Brut. The faux plant is from Abigail Ahern. The Sixties side tables are by Max Sauze at Béton Brut. This is Green Tea flat emulsion by Zoffany.
This library is a great example of a brave approach to colour and material – sophisticated but indulgent, the panelling covers the entire walls and ceiling. It offers a fresh take on a traditionally masculine space.
Get the look: This is a vintage Hans J Wegner Papa Bear chair and ottoman – find similar at Pamono. The Grasshopper floor lamp is by Greta Grossman. The bar cart is Florin from Consort Design.