Limitless libraries: designing the perfect library for your home

A good home library is so much more than a storage space for books. Done right, it can become the tranquil heart of the home: where we relax, read, learn and escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Building the right environment for this kind of sanctuary is a process that depends on your tastes, the space available and the practical needs of your family. Perhaps most importantly, the perfect home library is adaptable: to new purchases of books and other treasures, to redecoration, to your family members’ changing needs and to the thousands of other little surprises of modern life.

yellow USM Haller sideboard with shelves and draws in a living room

What to consider: light and space

It’s worth thinking first about existing environmental features in the room where you’ll be putting the library.

You usually won’t be able to change the level of natural light, the physical shape of the room or large structural features such as beams. If the room has high levels of natural light, you can make the most of it by brightening the room with light colors and open shelving in your library – however, make sure to protect your books’ spines from bleaching as a result of direct exposure to sunlight. If there are low amounts of natural light, think carefully about how to incorporate artificial light. One option is the USM Haller E with built-in lighting elements – you can select a lighting temperature to suit the environment of your library: ‘Warm white’ for a deep and welcoming glow, or ‘cold white’ for a little more illumination.

It’s also important to work with the space that is actually available. If you only have a small amount of wall space but significant storage needs, use your shelving to maximize capacity by selecting wide shelves and cutting down on excess vertical space. More room can allow for more playful designs, incorporating more open modules or built-in study areas with desks.

yellow USM haller storage shelves in a pinewood floored livingroom

What to consider: storage and display

Most obviously, a library needs to have space to store and display all of your books, files, art objects and other accoutrements. Most collections will include books and objects of varying sizes: Small paperbacks to large hardcover coffee table books, small knick-knacks to large vases and family heirlooms. Design your shelves to have enough space to house every object without appearing cluttered, but not so much room that the shelving appears empty.

No collection of books and other objects is ever static, so preparing for future purchases is also essential. Building in breathing space is one way to stay prepared. And with the USM Haller’s modular system, each shelf is built to standardized dimensions that can be easily added to or reconfigured after purchase – so if your collection expands dramatically, we can help you adapt your shelving to accommodate it.

white USM haller draws and bookshelves in a white walled home library

What to consider: customizing your shelving

A shelving system can be so much more than a simple grid of shelves. Incorporate additional storage elements to enable full organization and save space elsewhere. Built-in adjustable bookends, for example, allow you to quickly and easily adapt your shelving when you add new books to your shelves. Build in private storage for sensitive documents and valuables with lockable doors and drawers.

When it comes to selecting colors for your shelving and other furniture, you can either design pieces that will complement existing decor, or create dream pieces around which you can base other design decisions. Pure white is a classic choice: Smooth and elegant, but with a style that’s adaptable to any number of future redecorations. For home libraries in family homes, bolder colors such as a warm yellow create a playful atmosphere that the whole family can enjoy.

Create your own home library with the USM Haller system and our other furniture ranges – use our interactive online Configurator tool to design pieces or get in touch to work with our experts on perfect designs for your home. Or, if you prefer, you can buy in stock pieces for Quick Ship delivery from our online Shop.