9 Tips for Designing a Home Library or Study

Are you thinking of turning a spare room  in your home into a library or study? We love when home owners dedicate a quiet space to cozying up with a good book. Check out some of our top tips for designing your room!

How to Design Your Home Library or Study

We know one of the most challenging parts of designing any room of your home is choosing a layout. With a home library, you want to make sure you’re letting in the maximum amount of natural light through windows while also providing ample space for bookshelves and comfy places to sit.

Check out some of our favorite interior design apps to help you decide on the optimal layout for your home library or study:

  • Foyr — You can design realistic, 3D layouts of each of your rooms with a free 14-day trial.
  • Amikasa — Amikasa is another 3D design app available for 99 cents on iPhones and Windows that allows you to design rooms with your exact dimensions.
  • Home Design 3D — Available on the App Store, Google Play, and Mac App Store, this app offers a free version as well as paid options to fit your budget and design needs.

Before using any of these apps, be sure to measure the dimensions of your room, including doorways and even hallways leading up to the room. This way, you can plan to move in furniture which will fit through all walkways before you finalize any design plans.

Now let's take a look at some tips and ideas for designing your home library or study:

1. Supplement natural light with additional lighting options.

Unfortunately, many rooms in our homes, especially spare bedrooms that may be converted into a library, don’t offer as much natural light as we need. Solve this dilemma by incorporating other layers of lighting, such as:

  • Overhead light fixtures
  • Hanging lights, like the ones in the photo above
  • Floor lamps
  • Table lamps

The one type of light we recommend avoiding for your home library is a fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent bulbs cast a harsh light in your room, making it difficult for you to feel comfortable reading.

P.S. Want to get a sofa like the one in this image? Try our Fillmore on for size.


2. Offer plenty of seating with a functional sectional.

Your reading room is the perfect place to splurge to optimize comfort! Make sure the whole family has a space to sit comfortably while reading together. For example, the home library shown above offers a bumper chaise sectional and ottoman so everyone has room to stretch out with their books.

P.S. Looking for a bumper chaise sectional to call your own? Try out the Hayes.



3. Don’t limit yourself to “regular” bookshelves.

Regular bookshelves are nice because they allow you to fit as many books as possible while still allowing you to read each book’s title along the spine. However, if you want to make your library more child-friendly, you may want to consider purchasing some front-facing bookshelves.

Front-facing bookshelves allow children to see the cover of each book they own, cutting down on the overwhelm of seeing a bunch of skinny spines stacked against one another. And hey, even adults can appreciate seeing the covers of their favorite cookbooks and photo books!


4. Consider using floating bookshelves to create the illusion of more space.

When most people think of a home library, they picture tall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves standing along the edges of a room. Usually these bookshelves are made of dark, heavy wood that can make a room feel small and claustrophobic.

Instead, consider using floating shelves to store your books. Because these shelves connect right to your wall instead of standing on the floor, they allow for more “white space” in a room. Visitors will feel like light is filling the space behind your books.

P.S. Do you like the sectional in this photo? Check out our Davis for a similar look.


5. Create visual space by leaving empty space on your shelves.

Another way to create the illusion of more space is to leave some empty gaps in your bookshelves. Instead of packing books in to fill every space, consider inserting some photos and vases, or even leaving some shelving units completely empty.

P.S. Looking for a sectional like the one in this photo? Try our London bumper chaise sectional.


6. Personalize your room with meaningful objects and mementos.

A home library or study can inspire more than just a love for reading. This is the perfect space to show off some of your favorite family heirlooms, objects collected from your travels around the world, and other items that put your personality on display. Consider personalizing your room by adding some of these objects to your bookshelves, coffee table, and even walls.

P.S. We love the classic Chesterfield-style sofa in this photo! Get the look for your own home.


7. Add even more personalization with a custom art piece.

Do you have any old books you’ve been meaning to get rid of? Why not turn them into a personal art piece instead? This family turned their favorite old books into a collage to hang on the wall of their library.

P.S. This photo shows another take on a Chesterfield sofa. Check out one of our other favorites, the Barcelona.


8. Don’t be afraid to make your room do double duty.

Maybe you don’t have a spare room that you can dedicate fully to the role of library or study. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice room ready for reading! Consider how you can combine your office with a study, or your bedroom with a library, to make space for the books you love.



9. Use awkward walls to your advantage.

Sometimes spare rooms have awkward corners and walls that feel difficult to work with, but creating a home library opens up a million possibilities! For example, this homeowner added built-in shelves to artfully wrap around a weird corner — No more awkwardness here!

P.S. Thinking of adding some recliners to your space? You can’t go wrong with the Fjords Modern Hans recliner.

About Sofa Creations — California’s Custom-Made Furniture Company

We’ve been California’s most trusted family-run custom furniture company since 2010. We love working with clients like you to design the perfect custom-made sofa, sectional, or sleeper sofa for your home. Please contact us to learn more about our customization process, or visit us in San Francisco or San Rafael to see some of our favorite styles in person.



Link to the blog post about ideas for decorating a spare room.

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