Designing a Library in a Contemporary Home


Each individual 7 days, Mansion World-wide tackles a subject with an elite team of designers from all around the earth who operate on luxury houses. This 7 days, we check out how to make a library glance at dwelling in a contemporary house. 

When 1 imagines a home library, they are likely to feel of a cozy space with classically comprehensive created-ins, Chesterfield sofas swathed in distressed leather, and usually, masculine attributes. But libraries can introduce a cultural component into any area, and enhance any design and style. Even far more modern-day spaces can advantage from walls lined with appealing titles.

Mark Kaufman of GTM Architects in Bethesda, Maryland, said a modern library should not be extremely ornate. “It does not use major crown and wooden profiles to produce emphasis,” he stated. “It relies on the shelving materials and books to build a clean up and peaceful aesthetic.”

Mansion World wide turned to many designers for their tips on coming up with a library in a contemporary dwelling. They shared their top recommendations.

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For a Commencing Point, Search to Your Home’s Design 

“Let the dwelling manual you in the structure of the library. Produce a library that builds within the home’s language and provides to the total truly feel that is dependable with the present aesthetic. 

“The most crucial aspect of a library is storage. Recognize the linear size of shelving necessary and any complementary storage or shows. Reusing components seen in other parts of the home creates a cohesive feel throughout the house and a richness when employed in focus in a library. 

“Walnut is the product I use most usually. It has a lovely tender grain and stains splendidly. It is in a natural way additional brown than purple and looks fantastic versus most shades and other wood species utilized on the floors. It is quickly readily available and is visually really gentle and advanced.

“A medium to dim wooden stain operates quite effectively for bookshelves. It hides any scuffs that can occur from a long time of use and has a reminiscent truly feel of older regular libraries. A library ladder and rail are a stunning and practical factor to a library. The ladder results in being part of the furniture in the place.

“A library can perform in several methods in a residence. Typically, we mix a library with a residence business. The library is a right house for looking through and lounging, generally adjacent to a window is preferable. We have also performed freestanding partitions with shelves that produce visual separation from the property, even nevertheless it is aspect of an open plan. You really do not need to have a dedicated place to generate a snug library and reading place. Making a floating wall or edge amongst two spaces is more than enough to have a much more intimate environment for reading through and soothing.”

— Mark Kaufman, GTM Architects in Bethesda, Maryland

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Let Space for the Textbooks to Breathe

“Don’t overfill the library with guides. With modern libraries as opposed to traditional, we tend to utilize additional whitespace and enable the publications room to breathe with an emphasis on becoming aesthetically pleasing alternatively than overstuffed. 

“We also like to type the guides by color groupings somewhat than by subject or alphabetically, as a conventional library may be much more probably structured in that way.

“Select home furniture for the space that is modern day and minimalist. Sculptural lights and modern day home furnishings, like an Eames-type lounger, are amazing enhances for a up to date home library.”

In this household library by The New Layout Job, there’s additional whitespace, and textbooks are organized by colour. An Eames-style lounge chair completes the area.


he New Design and style Challenge

— Fanny Abbes of The New Design and style Challenge in New York

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Believe Outside the Box

“Although darker woods these kinds of as mahogany tend to be associated with common libraries with difficult trim, you can definitely use these kinds of wood in a much more present day library with significantly less ornate detailing. Also, oak millwork operates pretty effectively for rustic and transitional spaces, but we also use it in much more present-day designs.

“For a modern house library, we employed deep charcoal paint on the cabinets to reference the steel structure of a close by spiral staircase. By matching the cabinets to stairs, we avoided introducing another color or materials into the room. In this predicament, the darker colour served as a neutral history for the client’s varied assortment of artwork guides, comics, and guitars, in its place of competing visually with individuals products.

“From a performance standpoint, we’re looking at property libraries choose on new roles. It’s no for a longer time just a location to sit and examine. Clients are also working with these rooms as artwork studios or music jam rooms. We’re also seeing extra library-like sitting areas pop up in unconventional places of the house this kind of as a staircase landing.”

Morgante Wilson Architects imagined outdoors the box, producing a multifunctional area for a library and music region.


Courtesy of Morgante Wilson Architects, photography by Mike Schwartz

Elissa Morgante, co-founder, Morgante Wilson Architects in Evanston, Illinois

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