Given up the booze, the Quality Street, the rib-eye steaks or your favourite Danish blue for Dry January or Veganuary? Want to stay warm, be mindful or just clear the credit card? Whatever your good intentions for the New Year; it’s a good time to spend the still dark and cold evenings delving into the juicy novel you didn’t get to finish on holiday or the latest inspiring read unwrapped over Christmas.
Even better is a dedicated space in your home given over to a large bookcase or a home library where you can display and indulge in those weighty tomes, literary classics or best-sellers in calm and peaceful surroundings.
Read Also: Stylish Study Ideas & Dreamy Home Offices
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.
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.
Read Also: Ceiling Decorating Ideas
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.
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.
Enjoy – it’s time to be well read, rather than well fed.
Brick arches and rustic details are seamlessly blended with concrete and other modern finishes in this funky home library.
Built-in lighting illuminates the owner’s collection of books.
Get the look: Art is Gustav Rembrandt etchings. Sofa is the Noel sofa by Pinch, upholstered in Pierre Frey velvet, from The Future Perfect. Rug is a custom mohair pile rug by MND. The coffee table is custom by Gachot; leather inset top with lacquer base.
A large bespoke bookcase showcases the family’s book collection.
This landing features book shelves with kids’ books that they can share and swap.
This corridor space is fitted out with wall-to-wall bookshelves.
The simple materials create a calm, relaxed look.
Bespoke shelving makes a feature of the unusual angles at play in this study.
Get the look:The shelving is by Darma. Orchid sells tall Chinese urns.
A powerful shock of incandescent yellow around the architrave, links the front living room to the middle sitting room, and instantly saves the two spaces from becoming ‘too polite’.
Get the lookBookcase painted in Bone China Blue, Little Greene. Vintage chandelier, George Smith – try Vinterior. Zero-In table, Barber & Osgerby for Established & Sons. Vintage armchair, Les Couilles du Chien; upholstered in Pueblos linen-mix, Pierre Frey. Early 20th- century Chinese rug, Talisman.
Shelving wraps around the ‘man’s snug’ providing space for books. The shelving is painted oak. Sliding doors transform it from an extension of the living area into a cosy, intimate library.
Get the look: Shelving painted in Down Pipe Estate Eggshell, Farrow & Ball. Noelle sofa, Pinch. Peas rug, Hay at Nest.co.uk. Noelle sofa Pinch. Cushion Kirsten Hecktermann.
Floor to ceiling shelving house a collection of objets, accessible via this smart, purpose-built ladder.
Get the look: Paper decorations, Pipii. Cards, National Portrait Gallery and Hello Geronimo. Neo Geo obelisks, Jonathan Adler.
Creating a space where designer Tara Bernerd could cleverly hide her TV and display her favourite possessions and books inspired the central, concrete and wood bookcase.
Get the look The bookcase is Tara’s own design.
The dark, moody tones in this reception room beautifully showcase the carefully curated furniture and accessories.
Get the look The walls are painted in Down Pipe estate emulsion by farrow & Ball.
Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves highlight this house’s voluminous height.
Get the look For bespoke shelving in this style, try Richard Baker Furniture. This is a B&B Italia day bed. The vintage coffee table was brought back from Paris. Istdibs.com is a good source of similar pieces. For a rug like this, check out the range at Deirdre Dyson.
Architects Stiff + Trevillion designed the built-in storage.
Get the look The built-in shelving, created by Manning Bespoke, is made of oak veneer backed by bronze mirrors. The wood flooring is from Parquet Flooring. The Anemone Cocoa rug is by Marni at The Rug Company.
A soft grey palette provides a soothing backdrop for the brimming bookcase.
Get the look The bookcase was made bespoke by Rick Baker. The reclaimed chevron oak flooring is from Solid Floor. The rug is by The Rug Company. Ros sourced the coffee table from an antiques shop. Talisman stocks similar. The Salute sofa from sofa.com is a good match.
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 bookcases were created by Trilbey Gordon Interiors
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.