Designing a Home Library

If you are a book lover, you probably have a large book collection. A home library is an ideal solution not only for housing and displaying your books but also for providing a retreat for you to enjoy reading them. A home library can also be a cozy spot for visiting with guests. Careful planning can ensure that your home library is both functional and comfortable. In designing a home library, there are five essential elements to consider: location, storage and shelving, lighting, layout and whether the library will be a dedicated space or shared with a home office.

Location, Location, Location
A home library need not be large, but there should be sufficient space to house your books along with comfortable seating and lighting. While a separate room is ideal, a secluded corner of another living space will also suffice as a home library. The library should be located away from heavily trafficked areas and, of course, quiet enough for reading.

Storage and Shelving
The shelving you choose for your home library should allow for easy access to your books and be sturdy enough to hold their weight. Avoid shelving that is overly deep. Wood or wood-look shelves provide a classic look to your home library, but metal or even plastic shelving can give a home library a sleek, modern look. If you own your home, consider anchoring shelving to the wall for added stability, especially if your shelves are high. Consider obtaining a stepladder to make reaching high shelves easier.

You’ll also want to allow room for at least one chair and perhaps a footstool. If your home library is not a dedicated space, you may need to consider other types of storage in addition to shelving, such as a chest. If your library will also serve as a home office, you’ll need to allow room for a desk, chair and perhaps an additional chair.

Proper Lighting
Proper lighting is essential for a home library. There should be at least one light for every seating area. If your library shares space with a home office, provide additional lighting for working at the desk or computer. Avoid overhead lighting.

Furniture Layout
If you intend for your library to serve as a solo retreat, perhaps a single favorite chair plus footrest is all the furniture you’ll need. If you will share your library with other members of your household, you will need an additional chair or two. Space seating sufficiently so that everyone sharing the room can read quietly without feeling crowded. If the home library shares space with a home office, ideally the desk should be placed on an opposite wall. The flow of the furniture should allow easy access in and out of the library as well as access to the books.

Shared or Dedicated Space?
Many home libraries serve a dual purpose as home offices or as sitting rooms. If your library shares space with a home office, choose a room that is large enough to accommodate bookshelves, seating, lighting, a desk and chairs, plus wiring and outlet for computers, printers and other hardware. This may also require scaling down furniture size in smaller rooms to ensure that everything fits.


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5 Things to Consider Before Your Renovation

If you’re a fan of TV home renovation shows, you know that remodeling a home can be a major undertaking. However, renovation is also the ideal way to ensure that your new home is exactly what you want. If you’ve found that not-quite-perfect home, consider the following five factors before making the final decision to take on a large-scale renovation:

  • Determine What You Want
    It’s essential to know what you want before you begin the renovation process. That includes determining your absolute must-haves along with the overall end goal. Be specific. If the renovation includes new flooring, determine whether you want hardwood, carpeting or tile. Does the master bathroom need a double sink vanity and a soaker tub? Knowing precisely what the renovation should include allows you to plan other essential aspects, including creating a timeline, obtaining necessary permits and ordering supplies.
  • Set a Realistic Budget (and Stick to It)
    It’s difficult to imagine a worse scenario than a renovation that is halted midway due to lack of funds. Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it is essential. This is the only way to ensure that you’ll actually be able to complete the renovation that you’ve started.
  • Choose the Right Contractor
    The best renovation plans can be thrown completely into chaos by choosing the wrong contractor. Before you sign an agreement with a contractor, sit down and talk with him or her about your goals and project. Determine whether the contractor considers it feasible to complete what you want with your budget. Ask about previous work and check references. If the contractor balks on any of these items, run—do not walk—in the opposite direction.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
    Depending on the scope of the renovation project, your household routine could be disrupted for weeks, even months. Asking your contractor about the details of the renovation can determine whether you can live through the process or if renting a hotel room (or bunking with friends or relatives) is called for. You’ll also want to determine whether the design plans will actually meet your needs.
  • Be a Hands-On Client
    It’s true that the contractor is the professional and he or she is paid to do the job. You don’t want to get in the way. However, it is your house and your money. It’s your right (and your obligation) to stay involved throughout the project to determine if there are problems with the budget or if the schedule is still on track. Reputable contractors will welcome your input to ensure that the results will meet your needs and expectations.

Keeping these five points in mind will help you make the best choice when it comes to renovating your home!


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