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Home Library Ideas: How to Store Your Books and Keep Them Looking New

messy living room

The New Year is now upon us, and book fans are preparing for all of the wonderful books they intend to read in 2021. If you consider yourself a reading connoisseur, you may notice that your favorite books are starting to pile up. Designing your own home library is a great way to keep them stored in an organized, creative way. Before you start planning your very own private library at home, it’s important to know how to store your books to keep them looking their best. Read on for some inspirational ideas for DIY book storage and how you can give your books the care they deserve.

Start with a Plan

Before you begin your library re-do, take time to devise a plan. If you plan ahead, it will be much easier to keep your books in order later. Consider these questions to help you plan out your home library so you can create the perfect space:

  • How much can I afford? Come up with a budget for your home library and factor in things like new bookshelves, lighting, and furniture. When you have a budget in place ahead of time, it will be much easier to stick to it and find items that fit within your limitations.
  • Do you want something fancy or functional? If you’re all about aesthetics, you might lean more toward buying gorgeous furniture and décor for your home library. If functionality is more your thing, you may want to focus on the utilitarian aspect of the library, like how much shelving you’ll need and what type of lighting is best for reading.
  • What style would you like to have? Think about the way you want the library to look in terms of your favorite design style. From mid-century modern to a classic European library, the possibilities are endless. Just make sure that the style you choose mixes well with the rest of the décor or theme in the room and in your home, especially if your library will be part of an open floor plan.
  • How many books do you have? If you have a ton of books, shelving and book storage will be your first priority. Now is also a great time to go through all of your books and decide whether or not there may be a few you can let go. If you decide to declutter your books, consider donating them to local schools or other nonprofit organizations that will appreciate them. Do a quick count and write down the total number of books you currently have.
  • How many books are you going to buy in 2021? As new releases come out, are you planning to buy some? All of them? Just a few? Consider how many new books you’re planning to buy this coming year, and don’t forget to save room in your library for this new reading material.

Home Library Ideas

built-in bookcase
A wall of books creates an interesting backdrop for a living room, but books don’t always have to be displayed with built-ins. Bookcases from IKEA work just as well, especially if you’re on a budget. The key is to make sure there’s some design intent. Bookcase color, the divisions between the verticals, and the distance between shelves should all be planned out in advance. Decide whether you want the books arranged alphabetically, or whether you’ll need a few shelves for coffee table books. If so, then plan how the spacing will look when you’re finished.

Once you’ve planned a budget, determined the style, and counted your books, it’s time to get started designing your new space. First, determine where you want to set up your library in the home. If you have a spare bedroom or a home office, these areas are perfect for bookshelves, accent chairs, and other library-related items. If possible, try to set up the library in a quiet part of the home so you can enjoy reading in peace and quiet. Here are some more ideas to consider when you’re creating your brand-new library:

  • Small apartment hacks: If you don’t have a ton of extra room or you live in a small apartment, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an awesome library. Focus on vertical storage that goes as high as possible. Look for tall bookshelves that reach the ceiling so you can store more. A sturdy book ladder can help you get to those books that are stored up high. Choose shelving that’s light in color to help the room appear larger. Avoid dark furniture and bookshelves as this can make the space feel closed-in. Leaning bookshelves are also great for small apartments and rooms.
  • Pops of color: Highlight your library with shelving featuring a bold color. You can find bookshelves in a variety of fun finishes or look for older shelving that you can paint any color you like. The colorful shelves will help the eyes focus on the library, and it’s also a fun way to add a personal touch to your collection.
  • Make it comfy: Make sure that you enjoy your library by bringing in comfortable seating. A beautifully upholstered club chair or a recliner nestled near your books are a perfect way to set up a simple book nook. Add a throw blanket to the chair and place a floor lamp next to it for a comfortable reading spot.

Create a Good Book Organization System

If you have a lot of books, it’s crucial to devise a good organization system that will make accessing everything you need simple. Here are some book storage hacks that will help you keep all of your favorite reading material neat and organized:

  • Arrange your books by color: If you’re going for looks, organize all of your books by color to create an interesting aesthetic. Keep in mind that this method is really more about how the library looks and less about helping you find the books you’re searching for, however, it really does add a dramatic and fun touch to your reading space.
  • Organize by subject: Maybe you love biographies as well as romance novels. The best way to organize your books so you can find what you want is to keep them sectioned off by the subject matter. For example, keep your nonfiction books separated from your fiction novels, or arrange everything based on the main subject of the book (i.e. music or nature) for easy access.
  • Go Modular: Modular shelving consists of smaller, separate pieces that are typically in a cube shape. This option makes it easy to compartmentalize your books simply by separating different ones in each section. You can place them lined up against the wall, stack them on top of each other, or put different ones in different parts of your home if you choose.
  • Try the classic method: For the avid reader who really wants to recreate the library feel, arrange your books alphabetically by the author’s last name. Alternatively, you can organize the books alphabetically by the title, which is an extremely easy way to help you find exactly what you’re looking for fast.
  • Separate your favorites: If there are a few books you always turn to, make them the focal point of your library. Organize the books by placing the ones you enjoy reading most on the main shelf or toward the front so you can crack them open whenever you’re ready.

How to Clean and Maintain Books

Now that your home library is set up and organized, how can you maintain and care for your books to keep them in top condition? Here are a few tips to help you take good care of your beloved books:

  • Repairs: If some of your books have a tear on the cover or spine, avoid putting tape on it to fix it. Adhesive tape can do more harm than good and can cause more damage or discoloration. For those who own valuable or antique books, consult with a professional conservator. They can determine if the book can or should be repaired and can also recommend people who can help.
  • Maintenance: Keep your books in good condition by dusting them regularly with a clean, soft dry cloth. Position your bookshelves out of direct sunlight so that the light doesn’t cause them to dry out and fade. Try not to use paperclips, rubber bands, or sticky notes to mark pages as these can cause the pages to rip, and rubber bands can even stick to the pages over time.
  • Protect your books: Exposure to moisture can cause your books to mold. Make sure that your home library maintains a reasonable temperature of about 70 degrees and a humidity level of between 40-50% as much as possible. High humidity will cause moisture issues, and excess heat will encourage mold to grow. Mice may be tempted to use the pages of your books as nesting material. Make sure your library is not in a basement or attic if possible, since this is where mice prefer to dwell.

Whether you’re a huge fan of romance novels or enjoy sitting down with a fantastic autobiography, a home library gives you the perfect place to cozy up with a good book. Plan your design in advance and set a budget so that you’re ready to create the perfect library when the time comes. Organize everything to make accessing your books easy, and practice proper care and maintenance to preserve your beloved books for many years to come.

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