Design Dilemma: Is the Home Library Dead?
Have E-readers killed the home library? Years ago, it was every home dweller’s dream to own a quiet room filled with books and a big fat easy chair. Libraries suggested refinement, coziness and worldliness. They were also a place to escape the noise and chaos of everyday life. But these days, books are taking a back seat to electronics. More of us actually do our reading online and are building a “virtual” library of books.
Does this mean the death of the home library?
Most likely, yes and no. Yes, we may find fewer and fewer dedicated rooms to libraries and reading. But in truth, only the very wealthy could afford to set aside a room entirely for that purpose anyway. So we’ll probably see fewer separate rooms, but we’ll still collect a few special books (most likely reference and art books that don’t work well in the ereader format ) to become a part of a much smaller library, somewhere in our homes. Our libraries are likely to go from this:
Or maybe this:
In other words, spots for books that exist as part of a multifunctional space given to other activities, such as socializing and eating. In fact, it’s virtually guaranteed that as more of us seek out open space floor plans and buy more books online, our home libraries will become just a few odd bookshelves tucked away in some corner of our larger spaces. Or perhaps we will make the few books we have a centerpiece of our home decor.
If you’re still hankering for a library somewhere at home, here are a few ideas:
1) Set up a reading corner. A comfortable chair and a good reading lamp are imperative. Your corner can be in any spot you choose —- perhaps a corner of your livingroom, but also your bedroom, a hallway, a sunroom or even in the dining room. If you’re a serious reader, seek out more serene corners of your home. Something like this:
2) Pair books and art together. As the actual number of books in our libraries shrink, it’s nevertheless a great opportunity to show off another collection —- your art collection! Check out the first photo of this post, in which artwork is hung over books on a bookcase. Or, maybe something like this:
3) Finally, why not set off your book collection as a bit of art in itself? No, we’re not talking about organizing books by the color of their binders (that always seemed kind of forced to us). Instead, why not highlight your library by painting your bookshelves an interesting color. Something like this:
4) Books can take the visual weight off your TV. One way to have your library serve a double purpose is to use it to soften the visual impact of a TV. A TV, by itself, hung on a wall or over a fireplace can instantly suck all the life out of a room. One way to bring the life back is to surround that TV by books — your home library — so that the TV recedes in importance. Here’s a perfect example:
Images: via apartmenttherapy.com; architecturaldigest.com; heartfireathome.blogspot.com; decorationupdate.com