Incorporating A LUSCIOUS LIBRARY Into Any Space
Once upon a time… nearly every home had a library. Often known as “the study”, this would be a space – usually an entire room — filled with bookshelves, cozy chairs, reading nooks, a fireplace and of course … lots of books! But now it seems like the home library is sadly a thing of the past. There are two strikes against the library: practicality and space issues. For those who live in apartments and condos, it’s difficult enough to position a queen-sized bed in your bedroom along with your furniture let alone allocating the amount of space in your home needed for a library. In homes, owners are now dismissing the library option for an office, an extra guest room or a bigger media room – for all the gizmos, gadgets and other hi-tech equipment. Luckily you can have the best of both worlds. (You know how I love to have my cake and eat it, too)
Everyone admires a great collection of books, MANY of us actually LOVE our books as if they are an extension of ourselves and many of my clients want to show their books off. Why not? Books are an amazing sources of inspiration and often curious visitors will spend a large portion of their time checking out books in your beloved collection. They’re not just pieces of paper – they’re treasures! They show off your likes, interests and hobbies and remind you of past adventures, cultures and memories as well as what inspires us and symbolizes our life goals. So I urge you to show them off, BUT to their full Designer effect.
There are many things about the feeling and essence of libraries that makes you want to stay there forever. Books have a romantic and calming energy about them and libraries remind us of a space that is protected, open and nurturing. So why not combine a place we go to everyday with a space that you never want to leave? Incorporate a library nook into your already existing space – whether it is a dining room, kitchen, guest room, Entrance Hall or simple entryway. The dining room as a library is one of my favourite options. I love the fact that a dining room can be as formal as it can be informal. Plus, I adore that inspirational feeling of dining in a large library — there is something rich, opulent and glamorous about it. (I love the Downton Abbey feeling of it)
Check out these before and after images (with thanks to Design Sponge for the images). The dining room just wasn’t cutting it for the homeowners and I don’t blame them. The space is uninspired, bland, depressing and dated. But this beige box was quickly transformed into a dark, dramatic and modern space that beckons visitors to curl up and loose themselves to both a great book and a wonderful conversation. The homeowners splurged on key pieces like the curtains and sculptural light fixture (which really stand out and pull the look together). But what I would suggest to the homeowners is that the dining room could have easily been left intact. Just place a few chairs around a Saarinen table (which would work much stronger and cleaner in this room) and you’re good to go (mix vintage style chairs with the Saarinen table for a more layered look). What I especially like about this space is that it’s multi-functional. It could serve as a library, a dining space or a home office (see the little desk in the corner) and a den. If you’re low on space, this would be an fantastic alternative because it’s many spaces in one! Design trends are definitely in favour of schemes that are both multipurpose and multi-functional. For small spaces, this is ideal.
One of my favourite sources of “bibliostyle” inspiration is Jonathan Adler’s library-dining room. He paired a white table, green faux bamboo chairs with dark cushions and dark brown bookshelves. This combination gives the space a charming, dark and dramatic library feel that is still appropriate for dining (not too dark!) Let’s not forget the famous Adler touch: incorporating the horse statuette on the windowsill, the simple flowers on the table and the satellite chandelier brings an element of cheer to the space and stops it from looking too serious.
How sexy is this library and dining space that blends fuchsia, brown and black hues? There’s something about the style of the chairs that lends a sophisticated vintage corporate sensibility but they’re still appropriate for dining. One of my favourite elements is the orange colour that pops out from the back of the bookshelves. The chandelier is to die for, and works perfectly in the space because it combines the orange, brown and black tones effortlessly and naturally. You can tell that the homeowner isn’t afraid to play with colour and has a brilliant eye for impact. Pink, orange, black and brown are an interesting colour palette (I personally LOVE it), it’s not something that would initially be your first choice, but in this space the combination is brilliant and captivating.
1. Using wing-backed chairs in the room blends the two spaces. They can be used as chairs for dining (which are very comfortable and again gives it that luxurious feeling) and they can also be moved away from the dining room and used as a chair for reading. These pieces instantly build a bridge between the library and the dining room so the space doesn’t feel broken up. If you don’t have the space for too many wing-back chairs, just incorporate one or two and place them at the ends of the table like bookends.
2. Your dining room and your living room can easily be swapped. Take this image, for example. It shows a dining space next to a fireplace surrounded by bookshelves. To me, it looks like a space where a living room was with couches, a coffee table and chairs all positioned around the fireplace. Take them out, place in a dining set, and you’re good to go! Your house or apartment just got an instant face-lift! Who says you can’t mix up your rooms? Remember: there are no rules!
3. Bookshelves around your breakfast nook create an instant library that would be used often. The kitchen is a high-traffic zone so why not incorporate a library there? The kids could easily grab a book during their breakfast and you won’t have to go searching for your recipes or cookbooks. Plus, the bookshelves could also be used as storage for your kitchen accessories that you don’t want cluttering your counters.
The moral of this story… ADD some BIBLIOSTYLE to your home decor, embrace both old and new and layer various periods and styles to create an area with multi-functionality and LOTS of style. Libraries, with their time-worn charm, when added to another room in your home, is the perfect combination to create a Divine Design.