Clever Ways to Create an In-Home Library

Showcase and organize your favorite volumes with these clever ideas.


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All for One

    Creating a home library can be as simple as arranging bookcases. Here, three stand-alone bookcases are pushed together to form a wall of books at the end of a staircase.

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Build Out

    Rather than constructing traditional floor-to-ceiling bookcase units, pair wall-mount ledges and storage cubes for a modern take on a book display.

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Wide-Open Spaces

    Break up a large open space by creating a cozy corner library. Use a tall free-standing bookcase as a partition to separate the main room from the library. Add low shelves under the window for extra storage.

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Floor to Ceiling

    If you have the luxury of devoting an entire room to books, do it. Floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves provide storage and display space. Dark shelving allows the leather-bound collection to become the room's focal point.

    Tip: Use wood blinds to protect books from harsh sunlight, which can cause fading and eventually deterioration.

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Dose of Character

    Use the walls to create multifunctional spaces. Fill one wall with floor-to-ceiling shelves. If the room has angles, such as in an attic, irregularly shaped shelves will call attention to the room's architecture.

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Instant Built-In

    Create the look of custom cabinetry without the cost by covering an entire wall. Use basic, ready-to-assemble bookcases and finish with crown molding trim.

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Hidden Treasures

    Line the walls of one room with bookshelves. Now you'll have space for your books and space to move around. The bookshelves can also serve double duty by disguising other features in the room. The door to the powder room is lined with bookshelves to help it blend into the room.

    Tip: The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation suggests placing shelves along inside walls of your home because outside walls can form pockets of book-damaging cool, damp air.

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Window Frames

    Frame a window seat with built-in bookshelves. Now books are just an arm's length away when homeowners want to curl up on the window seat.

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Wall Space

    Instead of a traditional railing, bookshelves line the stairs leading down into the basement. The items are pushed back so people can hold onto the various shelf bottoms as they walk down the stairs.

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Air Effects

    If you only want to display a few books, build shallow shelves into the wall. Now there's enough room to mix thin books with collectibles and other special objects. Painting the shelves the same color as the rest of the room gives the objects the illusion of floating on air.

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Table Talk

    Turn a nightstand into a mini library. Stack books between the legs, and slide out of the side when ready to read. The top of the table is great for holding essentials, such as reading glasses and bookmarks.

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All Wrapped Up

    Stack thick books and use them as a bedside table. Consider making book wraps with paper and marking with labels for a unified, clean finish.

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Pullout Basket

    Repurpose wire and wicker kitchen storage pieces -- such as these pullout vegetable baskets -- to organize clusters of paperbacks in an unconventional manner.

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Rolled-Out Reading

    If you're an avid cook, keep your favorite cookbooks out and easily accessible. Store them on a rolling cart that you can effortlessly wheel around your kitchen.

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In Crates

    Mix and match milk and fruit crates, fill with books, and stack three or four units high for a shabby chic bookcase.

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On a Roll

    Stack oversize books on a plant dolly to create a mini library you can move beside your reading chair or into the center of the room as an impromptu table.

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