I recently came across a picture of Mark Twain’s home library. I couldn’t take my eyes of it! It was beautiful – 19th century Victorian Gothic style. It had everything that I could want in a home library; even the color of the walls was in my favorite shade of green and best of all it had a fireplace, giving it a warm and cosy feel.
The furniture, bookshelves and carpet rugs were all elegant and perfectly arranged within the room. The picture got me thinking about ways that I could make my reading space more comfortable and inviting.
At first I got completely carried away with my thoughts – planning in my head my perfect home library, but then reality struck and I remembered that I don’t have a spare room in my apartment to convert into a library. I would have to make the most of my bedroom and living room for reading.
Here are some of the decorative and practical ideas which I came up with. I hope that they inspire you to enhance your reading space or to create your very own home library.
Choose paint colors that invigorate you, not dull colors which make you want to fall asleep. Stay away from colors that are too alarming, example bright red. Perhaps choose a palette of pastel shades and pretty it up with edgings of feminine floral or masculine striped wallpaper. If you are not a fan of classic literature and lean more towards sci-fi, you could choose colors that give your room the feel of being in outer space (dark galaxies with stars and planets). If you enjoy crime and mystery novels, I wouldn’t quite suggest blood-stained walls, but rather maybe an eerie forest-like look or court room effect.
If you feel inclined to splash out, invest in a daybed instead of a simple, standard sofa. Choose a reclining daybed which can adjust into upright or lay down position. Again, be creative with the color and fabric that you choose.
If you have chosen the option of a sofa instead of day bed, you could get yourself a foot rest. To be creative with this, you could choose printed material which makes your foot rest look like a stack of books.
Use large and soft cushions on your bed or sofa. Be creative with the cushion covers – perhaps print your favorite literary characters on them or choose inspirational book quotes. I can picture a sci-fi lover having cushion covers with different superheroes on them or a Shakespeare fan having lines from his famous sonnets printed onto the cushions covers.
Place a coffee table within reach of your reading sofa. In this way, you can enjoy sipping on your tea, coffee or wine while reading. Maybe even choose a table with a drawer to keep a small stash of chocolates hidden. Include a classic or quirky lampshade on your table for night reading.
Personalize your space by choosing artworks for your room that reveal your personality. You could hang up a portrait of your favorite author or a painting of your favorite book cover or a scene from your favorite book. Just imagine the effect of having a painting of Hogwarts, Narnia, Nerverland or Middle Earth as the focal point of your room.
To give the room a bookish theme, stack books around the room. Don’t be shy to stray away from bookshelves. Stack books on your coffee table and into other nooks and crannies. When selecting your bookshelves, don’t choose one large, square bookshelf for all your books.
Rather use many small bookshelves in different shapes around the room. You could even use old suitcases or other vintage items to store your books. To the many Sci-fi lovers out there, perhaps try storing some books in a “space shuttle.”
I strongly suggest you position yourself next to a window. Never underestimate the therapeutic effect of a good view. Imagine looking out your window, with book in hand, on a rainy spring afternoon.
Or imagine a view of your garden in summer with colorful flowers and greenery. Also imagine being next to a window in winter to soak up the warm rays of morning sunshine.
In a more practical sense, make sure your room has ventilation. Much as us bookworms enjoy the smell of an old book, the smell of a roomful of old musty books can be quite overpowering.
It is also important to make sure the room doesn’t have excessive moisture especially if you live in a coastal area. The moisture will damage your books over time.
Soft carpets or rugs soften the look of the room and gives the room a warm and cosy feel, as opposed to floor tiles. If you are not a fan of carpet, perhaps consider hardwood for your floors, as those also soften the look of the room.
It might be wise to choose a room in the house that is far removed from any noise. Choose a room with a door so that you can block out unwanted noise. Take into consideration the distance between your kids’ bedrooms, busy roads or noisy neighbours.
Do not put a TV in the room! I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one 🙂
These ideas are just a basis of what you can begin with. Hopefully this small taste has got your creative juices flowing so that you can come up with your own ideas. Whether you prefer a minimalist or extravagant look, classic or avant-garde, you can you still bring out your personality in your reading room by choosing the right décor.
A book-themed room allows for much variation and creativity, and can be arranged to truly reflect one’s own personal style and taste.