Is it naff to colour-code your books? A home library is the new middle-class boast.

Whether you prefer to arrange your books in cheerful rainbow order, in stacks of decreasing size or prefer the divisive “backs in” trend of presenting a minimalist canvas of crisp white pages, the “shelfie” has no doubt a moment.

Social media is full of snaps of proud bookworms sharing their oh-so-aesthetically pleasing shelves, or discussing their new literary favorites on TikTok’s popular “BookTok” community.

And with book sales soaring and the number of independent bookstores hitting a decade high, it seems there’s never been a better time to embrace the latest home decor must-have: a home library.

As an interior designer (, I am witnessing firsthand the huge demand for home libraries – and you can make one too.

Emma’s best tip!

If you don’t have enough books to fill a library, there are companies that can provide them for you.

I use Ultimate Library (

You can even choose to have book spines in colors that match your interior

When most people picture a library, they picture row upon row of books arranged in columns from floor to ceiling. Yet today’s home libraries are chic, soothing, organized, and intriguing.

Best of all, you don’t need an entire room for this. A library can easily be incorporated into an existing space in your living or dining room, a hallway, or that clutter-filled storage room.

In my house in Wiltshire, we installed a bespoke library on an overhanging wall adjoining the open-plan sitting room and kitchen, which would otherwise have been an empty space with striking function.

For me, a house without books lacks warmth. So even if your collection only extends to one stack, take a moment to think about how best to arrange them. I promise you that they will give you much more pleasure and satisfaction than how you place your TV.

Here five women open their beautiful libraries. . .

Not one, but three libraries!

With over 15,000 books in her collection, Seni Glaister has not one, but three libraries in the converted outbuildings of her Sussex farmhouse.

“The main one is the ground floor of a barn we grandly call The Library,” says Seni, 55, married with four children.

She is the founder and CEO of Litalist, an online community where members can recommend and discover books and keep track of what they’ve read.

Seni Glaister has three libraries on her Sussex farm. She is the CEO of Litalist, where members can keep track of what they’ve read

‘I’ve been involved with books all my life: as a reader, collector, bookseller and most recently as the author of three novels. I read Enid Blyton as a child and Jilly Cooper and Barbara Taylor Bradford in my teens – those were the authors who made me a devoted reader.’

A second annex is a library of 3,000 orange and white Penguin classics, while a third is devoted to several thousand children’s books.

“I’m stricter about how I keep my books than anything else,” says Seni. ‘Everything is in alphabetical order; there’s nothing accidental about it.’


Snobs may scoff, but I love the rainbow look!

As the best-selling author of 22 novels, it may come as no surprise that Adele Parks has a spacious library in her six-bedroom home.

“When we built the house 11 years ago, we each chose a room to include in the design,” says Adele, 53, who lives in Surrey with her husband Jim, 51, a web designer, and son Conrad, 22.

“Jim chose a movie theater, Conrad wanted a gym, and I chose a library.”

Adele Parks Likes The Rainbow Look For Her Bookshelves And Relies On Her Husband'S Photographic Memory To Find Titles

Adele Parks likes the rainbow look for her bookshelves and relies on her husband’s photographic memory to find titles

The library measures five by five meters, contains 1,500 books, has dark walls and large windows with double glazing.

“Arranging the books according to the color of their spines is considered by many to be bivalent, but creates a beautiful rainbow effect,” says Adele.

“It makes no sense trying to find something specific, but luckily Jim has a photographic memory and always knows exactly what I’m looking for!”

‘The library cabinets have higher shelves at the bottom for coffee table books and photo albums, while paperbacks are higher. Some of my most cherished books are those I’ve been given and signed by fellow authors, often when I’ve been on a panel with them at a literary festival,” explains Adele, whose latest novel, One Last Secret, is now out is.

“There are also many copies of Jane Austen’s Emma, ​​my favorite classic.”


My sanctuary with secret double doors

When former florist Maria Jones and her husband bought their cottage in Felpham, West Sussex three years ago, she turned the old dining room into a library for her collection of “a thousand” books.

“I decided to create a real library where I could express my love of reading and have all my books in one place,” says the 52-year-old mother of three.

Maria Jones And Her Husband Spent £10,000 On Wardrobes For Their Large Collection, Which Has Been Archived Alphabetically

Maria Jones and her husband spent £10,000 on wardrobes for their large collection, which has been archived alphabetically

‘We’ve invested £10,000 in bespoke wardrobes, including secret double doors that form part of the bookshelves, but – much to everyone’s delight – push open to reveal the garden room.’

Maria, whose books are archived alphabetically by section, including vintage, fiction, and topics like cooking and interior design, adds, “The secret doors are a nod to my childhood love of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.”


My £5,000 haven

English teacher Marie Kimberley describes her home library as her “retreat.”

Located in an “oddly shaped nook” in her home’s open living room, she says it might otherwise have been a small office or dead space.

For Those Who Don'T Have A Dedicated Room, An

For those who don’t have a dedicated room, an “odd-shaped nook,” such as Marie Kimberly’s, can provide sanctuary

‘The library is the heart of our home and the children will sit on the armrests of my chair and ask me ‘Mum, what are you reading?’ says Marie, who lives in Worcestershire with her sons and husband.

The £5,000 cabinets contain around 600 books, grouped into categories such as education, psychology and classical literature.


3,000 books all organized AZ

“I think my husband would have disowned me if I sorted my books by color!” laughs Susan Roe, who came up with the idea of ​​turning a cozy nook under a double arch in their Norfolk home into a library.

The pair eventually decided to sort their collection of 3,000 books alphabetically, pay a local retired bootfitter £3,000 to build the solid wood cabinets Susan designed, and opt to paint it Farrow & Ball Smoke Green.

Susan Roe Converted Her Playroom Into A Library-Cum-Living Room, With A Traditional Ladder To Reach The Higher Shelves

Susan Roe converted her playroom into a library-cum-living room, with a traditional ladder to reach the higher shelves

‘We had it as a games room with a snooker table when we first renovated the house,’ says Susan, who has two daughters.

‘It wasn’t used much though, so I decided to turn it into a sitting room with a library.

“I have everything from Dickens to Marian Keyes, as well as books that belonged to my grandmother, parents and in-laws, and my husband’s veterinary textbooks,” she adds.

“Our granddaughter loves to hold my hand as she climbs the step ladder to look at all the books her mama read as a child.

“It’s my favorite room in the house, and where all my visitors seem to gravitate.”


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