By Brooke Chaplan
Avid readers dream about having their own home library. They long for a place to shelve their books and a place to curl up and read. A lot of people get stymied because they think they must have one entire room dedicated to being a library, and they simply don’t have an extra room to spare. Don’t get trapped into thinking this is the only space for your leather bound friends. Take a look at some creative library options for your home. Even the smallest house has some underutilized space that can serve as a cozy library and reading nook.
A standard bay window can easily be converted to a personal library. Just add a window seat and built-in bookshelves on either side of the windows. Perhaps your home has a small windowless room. Consider calling a RetroTeck Window Mfg. Ltd. and installing a window and lining the room with bookshelves. When you customize your space with windows and doors from Vancouver you can add some of your favorite book characters into the design.
The space underneath a staircase often has enough room for a reading chair, lamp, and a few bookshelves. Books can also line the staircase. Just shelve them between the rungs under the bannister. Using some old wood, re-purpose it and fit it to your staircase, creating the perfect book space.
Convert all, or part of your attic into a library. Add one or more dormer windows to create more headroom and to let in more natural light. Line either side of the attic with books, add a few chairs and good reading lamps, and you have a full-sized library.
An enclosed sun porch makes a great library space. If the porch is small, add bookshelves below and above the windows so that you still have the same foot print of the room for your furniture. An outdoor room is easy to make comfortable with removable seat cushions and fun outdoor lanterns and tea lights.
Your basement can be converted into a library as long as it is dry. Make sure you install proper ventilation and that you keep the space dry with a dehumidifier. Adding a few windows will help make the space brighter. As long as you keep the basement dry, your books will not get damaged.
Look Up, Look Down
If you look around your home and decide there simply is no extra space for a library, look again. You can line the perimeter of any room with a bookshelf in the space just below the ceiling. If you have extremely high ceilings, you can add two bookshelves. You can also line the perimeter of any room with one or more bookshelves in the space just above the floor and underneath the windows. The bookshelves, in either scenario, don’t have to be more than 8” deep, which accommodates the vast majority of hardcovers and paperbacks. Lining the room above the windows makes no impact on your living room space. If you line the perimeter of your living room with bookshelves below the windows, you will sacrifice only 8” of floor space, which means you’ll end up with a room full of books without having to rearrange or eliminate any furnishings.
For your new library, all you need to get started is a little creativity and imagination. You can find any space perfect for your reading room. Just make sure your shelves are made tall enough for even the biggest books in your collection.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance blogger and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She now lives in Los Lunas where she writes and researches when she’s not outside running, hiking and biking. Contact Brooke on LinkedIn.