5 Tips on Building Your Home Library

Where do you go when you need to escape the bustle of the mundane? In the age of four-walled safety and isolation measures, travel restrictions and constraints on adventures, there are few places one can wander off to for peace and quiet. Home libraries are quickly becoming the new escape, for where else can you visit a hundred places at once? Whether it’s just a wall in your office or a whole room – you can build a library anywhere. But libraries are not just spaces to hold books; the gateway to literature, a world beyond our own and the comfort of knowledge. There’s an art to a space in and of itself, from its capacity to encapsulate the livelihood of the individual to the emotion it resonates and the living it reflects, each component to a space and the constructing of it requires an organized art.

The essence of a home library is its ability to be both subsistence and recreation – a space of comfort and relaxation. So how does one curate a space that allows two of these crucial livelihood elements to co-exist? The following aspects of creating a home library will present the components and characteristics that are significant in considering what you want your space to reflect and how to curate these components.

1. What Does Your Space Reflect? 

One of the most important facets of designing your home library is the environment you want to exist in – the colour scheme becomes a significant element especially in setting the tone of the space. If your intention and desire to exist in a space of sand and sea, the more natural colour schemes to gravitate towards are those of blues and greens, complimented by subtle yellows; forest representations will include variations of greens. ARTRA Magazine Aug/Sep 2020 Edition 55’s Art & Living column catalogues the perfect colour schemes and discusses the complementary ways of applying these themes. Whether it's monochrome or triadic, the colour schemes you apply will build the foundation of the image you want reflected and will eventually play into your comfort-zone.

2. Stimulating Intellect, Thoughts & Conversation

Stimulation becomes the next crucial element in curating your home library. Visual presentation is significant in its ability to stimulate conversation or conscience – what you think, how you think and why you think it. These questions are essentially literary core values and in a library, these visual incentives will play into stimulating these thoughts. But how and where you place these works of art are questions you must ask in designing your space – the 53rd edition of ARTRA Magazine features Art & Living’s Top 5 Tips to Creating & Curating Your Own Gallery Wall. From visual plans, framing options and placement patterns, the guide provides insight and assistance into how you build your visual stimulus.

3. What Goes In A Library?

After choosing your colour scheme, theme and what you want your space to reflect, your next step is the functional aspect of your home library – how many bookshelves do you need? What kind of furniture works best with your theme, and how functional must they be? What kind of decorative pieces do you intend to place and where? This step ties in vitally with your theme as you want it to be whole and comfortable. The number of pieces you choose may depend on the size of the space or your preference on the elements you want to keep; spaces like home libraries are often ideal places for placing personal elements like antique pieces or family heirlooms. The fundamentals of your home library inventory will include a seating arrangement, shelves, and an office space. The decorative pieces can include lampshades, coffee tables, designer rugs etc. But it is important to remember that the external influences the internal and vice versa – if the external is cluttered it often reflects in your inner consciousness. 

4. Functionality in Placement

After careful consideration of the pieces you want in your space, the next step will be where you keep it. Again, this step will be a matter of functionality – from your reading space to your office space, you can choose the level of distinction as this next step will require preference in functionality; do you read where you work? The characteristics of the senses become a consideration point in this step as your conscious will be influenced by what is external. It is more practical to have your ‘reading nook’ in a space of more light and accessibility, allowing flexibility to curl up or stretch out depending on your level of comfort. So, perhaps creating a nook near your window to let the light in or placing your desk so that it faces the outside are practical choices. When placing bookshelves, while aiming high with height, it is better to place them against a wall and around free space for ease of access. The edition of Art & Living on ARTRA Magazine’s Aug/Sep issue discusses ‘Aesthetic Stimulus In Spaces’ where the effect on senses play an important role in building your space. From sight to sound, each sensation influences your living. 

5. Designing Your Literature on Shelves 

If you’re a fan of the written arts, then this step is one of much significance, and if you’re not, this guide will help you navigate what goes where. The organization of books can be done in many ways – by colour, author, in alphabetical order, or by order of preference. If you choose to organize by colour, for there’s a crucial significance in the design of the book’s cover art, then you can consider the theme of your space and arrange it accordingly or, a more popular practice involves the ‘rainbow’ method where the books are placed in order of rainbow colours from red through purple. In stacking your books, the monotonous method of vertical placing could be boring – try alternating between stacks of horizontal books and vertically standing them. In between these stacks, you can’t go wrong in placing ornaments and trinkets, picture frames or vases of flowers. However, there’s also warmth and comfort in the negative spaces.

At the end of the day, this space is your own and your comfort; these tips will contribute to building the foundation of your space and eliminating any anxiety that comes with designing. Make this space your own and remember to keep it warm and comfortable, cozy and comprehensive since it is a space of leisure or work. Reading and living are often hand-in-hand concepts and ways of life – the aspects of literature greatly contribute and influence your way of life so when curating your home library, make the choices that stimulate and enhance.

30th August, 2020 Applied Art