Creating the Perfect Private Library

Libraries have always been a timeless space open for unique design. Whether the library is modern or historical, small or large, or used for reading or working, the library is possibly one of the rooms that invites the most creativity in its architecture and design.

Mansion Global interviewed Jeffrey Forrest, the founder of STACKLAB, a design studio based in Toronto, Canada, to ask about his advice in designing libraries.

“Your library is a record of who you are,” Forrest told Mansion Global. “Design decisions should be deliberate and very personal — with equal focus on celebrating your history, but also on the joy of reading.”

With that being said, here are a few tips on designing the perfect private library.

Photo courtesy of Binyan by IF STUDIO

Photo courtesy of Selwyn Tungol

Using your space

For book-lovers who need an ample amount of shelving space, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are functional and add a great design to the walls of the room. When all the books are placed on the shelves, it creates a beautiful assortment and makes the walls burst with color from top to bottom. Whether it’s designed with a more modern or classical touch, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are sure to be the centerpiece of the room. 

The double-height library located in the lobby of 277 Fifth Avenue in New York City utilizes this concept, creating a beautiful centerpiece for all visitors and residents to see and use.

Bold Colors and Fabrics

Feel free to bring vibrant colors out from the shelves and into the room through the furniture, curtains, walls or rugs. Whether you’re going for a more modern or historical design, bold colors can create a more interesting and unique space. In Washington, D.C., the Jefferson hosts a book room sure to attract book-lovers from all over. Its velvet green couch adds the perfect pop of color, creating the perfect balance in the space between neutral and vibrant colors. 

The bold colors can be used not only in historical designs, but in modern designs as well. Adding a statement rug or sofa can bring a room’s colors together.

Photo courtesy of The Jefferson

1000M, Photo courtesy of Miller Hare

Laying it Out

A library is the perfect opportunity for designers to get creative with the layout of the space they have. Whether the center of the room is a desk, four chairs around a coffee table or an assortment of seating, there are endless possibilities for the designer to create the perfect space to fit the needs of the homeowner. At 1000M, the layout is comfortable yet elegant, with ample seating for readers to use.

If the option for multiple levels is available, create a unique look by adding a spiral staircase to get from one level to the other or ladders on the shelves for the reader to grab whatever book they’d like. Make sure, however, that whatever the layout is, there is plenty of comfort for the reader to use the space often. Adding comfortable seating and plush rugs can do just the trick for this.

Whether designing the space or simply looking for inspiration, libraries are arguably one of the best rooms to have the most creativity in its design. So remember — regardless of what look or layout, make sure to use this unique opportunity!