Cozy Reading Room Ideas: 15 Creative Small Home Library Design Ideas

Just because you live in a small house doesn’t mean you can’t have a home library. It just means making the most of some unused space in another room like your home office or living room. Get some inspiration for cozy reading rooms with these these small home library design ideas.

15 Small Home Library Design Ideas

I have loved reading and books for as long as I can remember.

So it probably isn’t too surprising that I have a lot of books. And I love the idea of creating a home library with a cozy reading nook.

The problem is that I have never lived in a house big enough to actually have a dedicated home library.

Which usually means creating a small home library by making another room in my house play double-duty

Fortunately, bookshelves are pretty easy to squeeze into a lot of spaces.

And adding books to a space seems to instantaneously create that cozy reading room feel.

Maybe that’s why I have small home libraries in pretty much every room in my house. Which I only realized when I started writing this 🙂

In any case, here are my favorite cozy reading room ideas and small home library design ideas.

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Home Office Library Design Ideas

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Install A Library Wall Around A Window

Home library in a small home office

The first of my small room library ideas is to add some bookshelves to your home office. To me, work and books go hand in hand so it’s a natural place to create a home library.

I have a lot of decorating and gardening books and magazines that I like to read. And keeping them in my office makes them easy to access when I need to look something up or find a little inspiration.

Since bookshelves are very flexible in how wide, deep and high they can be, I like to install them in places where not much else will fit.

In my bonus room office, that meant building the bookshelves around the window. Because of the angled ceilings in this room, it was pretty much the only way to make the wall space usable.

Add Built In Seating

Adding a built-in window bench to my home office library also makes great use of this small space.

No extra chairs required!

Build Bookshelves Over A Door

Similarly, in my small home office library downstairs (the room is less than 10′ x 10′), I built the bookshelves around the closet door.

And got a lot of storage out of an area that would otherwise have been wasted space.

Cover All The Walls With Books

If you really want to maximize your home office library space, cover all of the walls with bookshelves…and I mean all the way to the ceiling…

How cool would it be to have a platform like this one to get to the books at the top?

Living Room Library Designs

Wall To Wall Book Cases

Living room home library with a wall of books

The next of my small home library design ideas is to make use of the walls in your living room. It is often the easiest place in your home to find some extra wall space.

Putting up a wall of books doesn’t take up much space and gives your room some extra interest.

Plus you probably already have some comfortable seating available for when you want to sit down and read.

My mother installed floor to ceiling bookcases all the way across one wall to create her living room library.

Painting them the same color as the walls and adding some mirror details to the front panels make them look built in even though they’re not.

Cozy Home Library With Fireplace

If you happen to have a fireplace in your living room, think about installing the bookshelves on either side of it to create a cozy reading nook.

Then make sure you have a comfortable chair close by so you can sit by the fire with a book and enjoy the ambiance.

Who wouldn’t love to hang out in this cozy home library with a fireplace?

Make Room For The Sofa

If you don’t have enough room for a bookshelf and a sofa in your living room, try building the bookcase over the couch.

It will act as the focal point in the room and provide the feeling of a living room library at the same time.

Installing wall sconces and picture lights on the shelves provides extra lighting without taking up any extra space.

Re-purpose An Awkward Space

Another living room library design idea is to take advantage of an awkward space by installing bookshelves at one of the room.

Wrapping the shelves around the corners of the room creates creates a cozy reading nook.

Painting the book cases the same color as the sofa makes sure that they tie in with the rest of the room decor.

Add Extra Storage

For extra storage, enclose the bottom of the shelves with doors or drawers.

That way you’ll have an out-of-sight place to stash remotes, cards, games and anything else you don’t want out in plain view.

Create A Library Around The TV

If you have a TV wall in your living room, that could be the perfect place to create your home library.

Building bookshelves around the television set will make use of the rest of the wall space, and make the TV less of a focal point in the room.

Dining Room Library

If you live in a house with a formal dining room that you don’t use very often, you might make it more functional by turning it into a dining room library.

The bookshelves add warmth to the walls while still keeping the formal feeling.

And the table provides a great surface for spreading out your books or placing a cup of coffee while you’re reading.

Small Bedroom Library Ideas

Install Book Cases Around The Bed

Small bedroom library with bookcases on either side of the bed

The next one of my small home library ideas is to create a bedroom library by adding bookshelves around the bed.

In my guest room, the wall is just long enough to accommodate two book cases, one on either side of the bed.

Because they fit the space perfectly, they look like they are built in even though these are free-standing shelves.

Installing a valance over the bed between the shelves adds to the built-in feel, and hanging swing arm lamps on the shelves provides light without requiring any table space.

Install Bookshelves Over The Settee

Small bedroom library with bookcases around the TV

In my bedroom, I did a smaller scale version of the same idea. Except this time, I installed the book cases over the settee and TV.

This way I still get the book space and the shelves don’t take up much floor space at all.

Bookshelves As Doors

For a small bedroom library that definitely performs double duty, you could build bookshelves that also function as doors.

These ones separate the sitting area from the bedroom. When they’re closed, you can’t even tell there’s a bed in the room!

Hallway Library

If you really don’t have any wall space available in any of your rooms, why not try this small home library idea?

Install bookshelves along the walls of a hallway. This is definitely a space that you can’t use for any other furniture.

But you just might be able to fit in a book shelf, even if it’s only on one side of the hall.

Staircase Library

To go one step further than a hallway library…you could even build bookshelves into the walls above the staircase.

Talk about an efficient use of space in a small home!

Cozy Closet Reading Nook

The last of my small home library design ideas is to convert one of your closets into a cozy reading room.

Install bookshelves around all of the walls and a bench at the bottom with a plush cushion top. I bet you won’t want to leave!

If only I had seen this before I installed the closet organizer in my home office closet. Maybe there’s a closet makeover in my future 🙂

Other Home Library Ideas You Might Like

Have comments or questions about our small home library design ideas? Tell us in the section below.

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This post was originally published on September 6, 2019 but was updated with new content on February 16, 2023.

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  1. Loren Nancy Hackney says:

    I love the small bookcase ideas!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Loren! I’m happy you found them helpful 🙂

  2. Buying an 1825 farmhouse that has bookcases every where. Be still my heart. I sent the pictures to my husband in Nigeria fighting Boco Haram. Tis bad there. Anyway the first thing he said was we can demolish the bookcases. I said not if you want to live with me.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      I totally agree with you Jody! The bookcases need to stay. Hopefully, he’ll come around to your way of thinking 🙂