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Five ways to transform your reading room into a library worth showing off

For the high-class bookworm, the library is the most important part of the home. But styling one well can be tricky

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Lucinda Chambers in her beautifully curated home
Lucinda Chambers in her beautifully curated home

Expert declutterer Marie Kondo might limit her own book collection to 30, but for those with rather more  than that, the issue is not how to edit them down, but how to store and display them in a stylish way. Here’s how to make your library part of your interiors look.

Frame them

The cosy and colourful London home of Lucinda Chambers2020欧洲杯足球即时比分 co-founder of fashion label Colville (and former Vogue fashion director), is decidedly anti-Kondo. In the sitting room, books are piled on stepped wooden shelves that have been custom-built around the door frame – a great use of space as well as a decorative device. "I like a lot of stuff; I’m not very good at editing," says Chambers of her super-maximalist approach. Wool rug, £1,495, and ceramic table lamp, £245, both .

Build a book nook

If you have an unused part of a room that you can commandeer for shelving, consider creating a book nook, with a comfortable bench seat – all the better if it’s by a window, so you can make the most of the natural light. A reading nook is also a good use of an awkward space, for example a landing on the bend of a staircase – this one was designed by . Expect to pay a carpenter in the region of £1,000 for something similar.

Bookshelf looking untidy? Place books with their spines inwards

Pigeonhole it 

2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Take advantage of the full height and width of a room with library walls, such as these. The bespoke shelving here makes use of every inch of space, and is fitted with picture lights at the top to illuminate the contents at night (built-in shelving similar to this starts from around £3,600 from ). A library ladder on a rail  is essential for reaching the books on the upper levels. The pigeonhole design – as opposed to standard open shelves – allows for pictures and objects to be displayed among the books. 

Add a rainbow

For lovers of colour (and order) there are few things more satisfying than a colour-coordinated bookshelf. This one, in the home of lifestyle blogger , elevates it to an art form. Most of the books here have been specially sourced from second-hand shops and markets, some chosen partly for the colours of their jackets. Larson sees her collection as  ‘a balance of function and fashion’. If your collection lacks such cohesion, you can achieve a similar effect by grouping together similar colours and stacking them both vertically and horizontally, which adds interest and looks neater than rows of books of varying heights.

The Ham Yard Hotel 

Call in the curators

Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed that she hired a book curator to expand the collection at her LA home, and UK-based provides a similar service, for both private homes  and luxury hotels, such the Ham Yard Hotel in London. He has put together collections based around a certain theme or interest, and others dictated purely by the colours of the jackets (and, controversially, some with no jackets at all). For those who want to remain in the know, he can also return  to update a collection  with the latest important releases. Prices for the service depend on the project, and start from a few hundred pounds. 

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