How to design a home library

Phantom Screens / August 4, 2016

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There are plenty of things you can do with the spare room in your house. You probably have a list of remodeling projects to accomplish and ideas of what function you want the space to serve. If you are an avid lover of literature, you might decide to convert a spare room into a home library. Consider a few things before you start moving bookshelves so that the space becomes the library you’ve always imagined.

The right location

Avoid putting your home library in an attic or basement. Both spaces tend to be humid, which can cause mold to grow on books. Furthermore, basements are most prone to flooding. Whatever room you decide on, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture levels of the room, thereby protecting your collection. Choose a room that is away from the heavily trafficked areas of the home so the sounds of other people won’t disturb your reading. A corner office or rarely used family room could be the perfect option.

Sun concerns

Sunlight is the enemy of books. Ultraviolet rays have the power to drain the color from your favorite book cover. If you are a collector, light damage will reduce the value of your items. Fortunately, protecting literature from sunlight is easy. One simple option is to turn shelves away from direct light. Another method – one that allows you to layout your library however you’d like – is to install retractable screens on windows in the room. Some types of mesh from Phantom Screens prevents up to 90 percent of UV rays from entering the home. If you’re using motorized retractable screens, you can program them to cover the windows or doors during the day, when the sun is at its peak. Phantom’s retractable screens will keep your book collection safe from the sun.

Install shelving

Books need shelves. Consider what types of shelves you want when planning your home library design. Built-in units look nice as they fit into the architecture of the room. They also offer the most space for your collection because many cover the wall from floor to ceiling. Be careful with wide units, as thin shelves can sag. Make sure the shelves are thick when you purchase or build the furniture.
If you have chosen tall shelves, you may need a ladder to reach the highest books. Rolling library ladders are a fun way to journey through your shelves. These are designed so that a track runs across the top of your shelves. Wheels on the ladder allow it to glide from one end of the room to the other.

Design a floor plan

The number of books in your collection will determine how much space you need. A large collection requires more shelves, which leaves less room for seating. Sketch out the room and draw in the furniture you’d like to have in your library. Consider a comfy sofa where you can read or a desk to layout those giant reference volumes.


Though you should be careful with the amount of sun getting into the room, you still need a decent amount of light in order to see the page of a book. Install a nice chandelier to be a focal point in the room or add several standing and table lamps. These fixtures allow you to concentrate light in one area of the library rather than flooding the whole room. Having an oasis of light pouring over your armchair creates a cozy atmosphere perfect for your literary endeavors. Aim lamps over your shoulder. This way the light is not directly in your eyes, but still illuminates the book you’re holding.