With more people working from home these days, in-home libraries are having a bit of a moment. On social media, there are multiple accounts dedicated to rating people’s rooms as they do video calls — often remarking on the lighting, plant placement and bookshelves behind them.

If you’re at home these days and need some inspiration for your workspace, whether for the social media critics or just to make your space more comfortable, there are some easy places to start.

We’ve dug through the archives to bring you a variety of libraries we’ve featured in Private Quarters through the years to give you some ideas.

Shelving options

While a traditional in-home library may have built-in shelves, complete with a ladder for navigating, there are other options as well. A library, no matter how small or grand, can start with a couple of simple shelves.

The website SmartFurniture recommends going with a floor-to-ceiling option, if possible.

“Floor to ceiling shelving reflects scale of course, but it also makes it worthwhile to seriously organize the books (and DVDs, CDs, what have you) you own in a meaningful way — when the canvas is large, categorization becomes more useful,” the blog post reads.

How to arrange books

Each person’s library is his or her own and up to the reader on how to sort it. While certainly most at-home collections tend to forgo the Dewey Decimal system, there are some easy options from alphabetical to color-coded bookshelves. On its website, the storage company, MakeSpace says “Organizing your favorite reads doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming.”

"A solid book organization system doesn't just make it easier to find what you're looking for — it also makes you more likely to actually pick up a book and read," according to a MakeSpace blog post.


Of course, libraries and offices aren’t only about books, also take the opportunity to add artwork, plants, rugs and lighting options to your space to optimize comfort.

"Special objects like vases or small sculptures can also be placed in the shelving to break up all the books," a blog post from Freshome suggests.

However, Better Homes and Gardens suggest not overdoing the accessories. Instead, "keep a clean look by choosing a one-color or tone-on-tone scheme for vases and figurines, and make sure to mix up shapes," the magazine suggests.

You can also liven up the bookshelves themselves with a fresh coat of paint.

“If your book spines lack visual style, decorate bookshelves by painting them a vibrant color to draw focus. To highlight the color even more, choose a single contrasting shade, such as the creamy white floor and ceiling trim work here,” according to Better Homes and Gardens.