Design Trend: Home Libraries

My very first Home Style post, seen here, featured a beautiful display of color coordinated bookshelves in a casual chic living room. I created that post on November 3, 2013. In the year since then, that post has become the single most popular post on my blog. It has traveled all over Pinterest and been picked up by other blogs where it continues to attract attention. The enthusiasm surrounding those color coordinated bookshelves suggests that, despite the transition to e-books, blogs, and e-zines, our deep-rooted love for actual paper books remains. Personally, I have always been enamored with libraries and the history and possibility contained within. With that in mind, I’m highlighting a few of my favorite bookshelf trends.

black bookshelf yellow sofa

Bookshelf Trend #1: Dark Shelves, Bright Furniture

I’m clearly not the only person who loves this particular trend. Black or dark bookshelves contrasted by chartreuse sofas and chairs (not just any color – it always seems to be chartreuse) are taking home libraries by storm. The refinement of dark shelves pays tribute to traditional library style, while the bright furniture jolts the room with energy and modernity. The colorful mix of books pops against the contrast of the dark paint for a look that is far from old-fashioned.

dark bookshelves

black bookshelves chartreuse sofa

Bookshelf Trend #2: Artwork on Bookshelves

Look at the images above and below and you will notice artwork in every one. Framed paintings, prints, and photographs are either inserted into the shelf cubbies themselves, or hung on the front edge of the shelves. The art serves as a visual respite from the continuity of books, allowing your eyes to rest and relax. Do you have less attractive items that you’d like to store on the shelves, but you don’t want to disturb the beauty of the display? Hide them behind the hanging art! That beautiful painting takes on the role of cabinet door, concealing the contents behind it.

art in bookshelf nook

art in bookshelf cubby

art hanging on bookshelf

Bookshelf Trend #3: Shelves Built into Passageways

Space is limited. A wonderful (and practical) way to display your collection of books is by utilizing empty space in doorways, entryways, and hallways. By sacrificing one or two feet against an otherwise unused wall, you gain organization, storage, and a decorative display. A few of my favorite uses of space include this bookshelf built around a wide passageway…

doorway bookshelf

these bookshelves lining both sides of a long hallway…

hallway bookshelves

these bookshelves built into the pony wall at the top of this stair landing…

stair landing bookshelves

and this recessed wall of shelves alongside a banquette and stairway.

entryway bookshelf

Bookshelf Trend #4: Library Ladders

What bookshelf review would be complete without the mention of library ladders!? These tall sliding ladders are both beautiful and functional, allowing you to maximize wall space from floor to ceiling and still access books on the highest shelves.

library ladder white bookshelves

chartreuse bookshelves

The range of options when designing a home library or simply styling a bookshelf are seemingly endless. It would be impossible to cover them all in one blog post. Built-in, free-standing, metal, wood, low, high, colorfully painted, back-painted, organized for a rainbow effect… One thing is certain: the more we turn towards tablets for our everyday reading, the more valuable our old books become. They are pieces of history: tangible, entertaining, and lovely to look at.

For more bookshelf inspiration visit my Pinterest page:

Photo Credits: Style Carrot, Sketch 42, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, The Decorista, Daniel Farmer for House & Garden, Sadie and Stella, Style at Home, Most Beautiful Things, Ryann Ford Photography for FAB Architecture, Wendy Haworth Design, Little Green Notebook, Ciave Design