Photo Gallery: Amazing Libraries
Get inspired by these reading retreats.
A quiet, contemplative space to browse books and magazines.
“There’s something about stacked books that makes me really happy,” says homeowner Katherine Yaphe of her main floor reading area. The dark walls create a moody ambiance that’s further enhanced by a graphic honeycomb-patterned rug.
Two pocket doors conceal a bright and airy home office.
Along with providing access to the highest shelves, the sliding library ladder adds an old world decorative touch.
Jewel tones add a dramatic feel to this study.
Red wingback chairs that interior designer Theresa Casey picked up in New York offer a complementary contrast to the millwork.
Pretty wall panelling conceals additional storage.
In the same home, the bold blue millwork amplifies the impact of the floor tiles in the entryway.
Custom shelving accommodates a TV perfectly.
Cosiness emanates from this Theresa Casey-designed space. Wide crown moulding, worn leather sofas and a detailed floor pattern add a luxurious feel to an often-used family room.
Reupholster antiques in gutsy fabrics.
Designer and TV host Sarah Richardson installed bookshelves in an old doorframe to convert a full wall in this living room into a library. An Italian marquetry table, paired with French wing chairs — recovered in cut velvet — offers a perfect spot to plan the day.
Pair glossy black walls with brass accents.
HGTV star and Toronto designer Tommy Smythe chose dramatic black walls for this luxe library in a Victorian house. The paint’s glazed finish sets the walls aglow. A brass mirror, chandelier and pillow fabric infuse the dark space with warmth.
Colour-blocked books create visual impact.
The homeowners built the shelves themselves to carve out a library in a cramped nook at the front of the living room. Leaving the bottom recesses open gives the weighty wall a completely unique look.
Designer Colette van den Thillart uses this room for her home office.
A blue lacquered wall and ceiling fresco are just two of the rich details that give this room personality. The striped tablecloth and green velvet chair adds contrast. Gold shell-shaped lights shine on book spines for easy searching.
Custom shelving brings a pulled-together look to a living room.
In the den of this Vancouver condo, designer Julie Molnar had the custom shelves built to frame the sofa so it all looks like one unified, contained unit. A large painting by Jack Shadbolt is displayed on a ledge rather than hung and can be easily swapped out to showcase other pieces.
For more design and decorating ideas, browse our Amazing Libraries photo gallery.
Forget the Dewey Decimal system — organize books by hue for a tidy, uncluttered look.
Paint a built-in bookshelf to create a focal point. Here a soft green shade suits the cottage feel in this hallway. A deep red rug picks up on the books above. Closed lower cabinetry hides away other objects.
Use shelves that suit the height of your books.
The unique scale in this room, combined with old wood beams, an antique cradle and horse saddles give this space fairytale charm. The ladder is a book lover's delight and an orange-red rug adds to the cosiness.
Coordinate custom bookshelves with a fireplace surround for a unified look.
An artful placement of unusual objects offset the otherwise formal symmetry in this living room. The wood creates warmth, and isn't overpowering as the shelves are only placed midway down the wall.
Accentuate art and accessories with lighting.
A dining room wall is cleverly turned into a mini-library. Designer Chris Lischkoff disguised vertical ductwork with a built-in bookcase. Shallow shelves in front of the awkward element act as picture rails. Really short on space? Make use of deep window ledges, too.
Add layers to a bookshelf by hanging artwork in front of shelves you don’t need to access frequently.
A yellow velvet sofa pops against the black bookshelves behind it. Floor-to-ceiling shelving provides enough space for countless books, objects and mementos.
Create a quiet oasis for guests.
A traditional, wood-panelled library creates a dark, moody atmosphere. The oversize armchair in light brown silk offers a comfortable spot to recharge.
Decorating with fresh colours and shelves help make a fireplace shine.
An apple-green paint treatment above the living room’s mantel creates an attention-grabbing niche to display photos on a framed mirror. Purple-shaded lamps pull in the palette from the room’s furniture and potted orchids add a touch of whimsy.
Vintage and modern pieces work together to create a Parisian look.
A gilded settee, upholstered in a ticking stripe fabric, is the focal point of this library. Ikea bookcases are mounted on the wall and the floral skirt along the bottom hides a storage area underneath. Accessories and framed artwork add the layers that make this room look vintage and timeworn.
View more French inspired interiors in our gallery.
CEO Piero Bisazza, whose family is known worldwide for their glass mosaic tiles, makes his passion for literature evident in his Vicenza, Italy, home.
A symmetrical shelving arrangement, vibrant red rug and animal print runner give this room punch. With minimal furniture, the space exudes a posh, gallery-like vibe. Glam covers break up large expanses of book spines.
A patterned carpet, leather chairs and a grand desk combine in this cosy office space.
“This library is off the bedroom of a studio executive who works a lot,” says Kelly Wearstler, celebrity designer and author of the book, Hue. “After she puts the kids to bed, she still wants to be close to her husband, so this is her home office. It’s very warm and dynamic, and the red signifies power.”
Learn more traditional-style tips in our Traditional & Formal Interiors photo gallery.
See more photos of Wearstler’s work in her photo gallery.