I love books not only because I love to read but also because they add so much personality and character to a room. Well designed (and built) bookcases can add architectural interest and a sense of solidity and gravitas to even a tract house. Even though electronic readers have almost eliminated the need for bound pages, I think there is something special going to a shelf, scanning the titles printed on the spines, pulling out a book and holding it in your hands.
Long ago, the size and quality of your home library said a lot about a person. Without google or even public libraries, a person with a lot of books at his or her fingertips had a real advantage. Today, you can't tell how well educated a person is based on the number and kind of books they have in their home, but a great library is still something to be envied by most people.
If you don't have the space to have an entire room designated for books, combining a library with a formal dining room is a great option. The advantages of combining these two functions in one space are: 1. Great atmosphere 2. Better usage of a room not used everyday 3. Table provides space to spread books out on when researching.
Stu and I are toying with the idea of turning our library into a dining room and here are some gorgeous rooms that are inspiring:
This room is stunning! I love everything about it. The dentil molding, the proportions of the bookcases, the library ladder, the large niche for the abstract painting and the simple, yet elegant table and chairs. No carpet is needed and the color of the books' spines along with the art provide all the visual interest.
The next room is elegant in a clubby way. The black bookshelves, the black shades on the crystal chandelier, along with the painted Windsor chairs give this room a masculine cozy feel. This would be a great place to have dinner on a cold drizzly evening.
I love the dark floors with the white built ins and walls in this room. The drapes are also pale as are the hosts chairs. The polished dark wood floors and the upholstery on the side chairs provide beautiful contrast and keep the room from becoming too ethereal.
Okay, this room is pretty spectacular. Rustic floors and beams, a classic rustic italian chandelier look stunning played off against the dark bookshelves. All of the books with gilded spines practically sparkle and provide a counterpoint to the simple linen slipcovered dining chairs. The modern low backed silhouette is another interesting choice here in an antique looking room.
This dining area/library is actually one end of a large living room. I am loving the heavy crown molding and pilasters along with the mirrored arched niches flanking the bookshelves.
There is a lot to love about this room. The gorgeous mahogany paneling and bookshelves, a deep window seat with soft pillow, relaxed linen slipcovers and the cool globe chandelier create a magical atmosphere in this library/dining room.
I love the simplicity of this next room. The way the built ins wrap the entire room, the large windows and french doors, the dark wood floor are a great foundation on which to built a memorable dining room/library. I would add a chandelier and place books in the bookshelves to finish off this space.
Hopefully you, too, are now inspired to create a library/dining room. I'll keep you posted on our room...