21 Must-Haves For The Perfect Home Library

All readers dream of a space to house the things we are most passionate about — books! Large and high expanses of shelves. Intimate reading and conversation nooks. The perfect chair with a nearby cat or cup of tea. While not all homes have the space for a dedicated library, sometimes even a small corner of shelves and a chair will satisfy the desire for a prime reading spot. Other times, a library can evolve beautifully out of a multi-use space like a dining room, guest room, or home office. 

Whatever the size of your dream home library, there are a number of essential considerations and key items to make your space a great bookish retreat. From furniture like seating, lighting, and book storage, to smaller touches like accessories and fanciful additions, we've rounded up a few of our much-needed or much-desired elements that will help you create your dream library, whatever its size.

1. Shelves

The most important and functional need for a home library space of any size is a good set of shelves. These attractive and sturdy options from Amazon ($79.99) are perfectly affordable and come in a variety of heights. The rustic finish also complements a variety of décor and boasts an old-world feel.

2. Seating

Whether you prefer a task chair or something comfier, well-appointed seating is a must in any home library space. This expansive chair from Article ($899) is a perfect cozy spot to curl up with a book and looks stunning anywhere in your home that needs a reading spot.

3. Lighting

One key ingredient in any reading space is great lighting. A reading lamp like this one from Lamps Plus ($129.99) is an excellent solution whose black finish gives a studious, vintage vibe. You can also opt for sconces or track lighting that casts a glow on your shelves to display your book collection to its best advantage.

4. Rolling book cart

Whether you have a large or small home library, a rolling cart is a great functional item that can augment other shelving or be home to a small collection of volumes. On wheels, this perfect option from The Library Store ($433) can be moved where you need it. It's also a fantastic solution for a children's library.

5. Catalog card cabinet

This one may be more form than function, more nostalgia than original use, but this catalog card cabinet from Amazon ($129.99) is the perfect addition to your library space. While you might not need its original function from the bygone days before computers, it works well for stashing smaller items like pens and bookmarks. 

6. Side table

Every home library space needs a spot to rest your book and cup of tea. This studious-looking table from Birch Lane ($315) has not only a large drawer to tuck things away but also a shelf on the bottom for your TBR (to-be-read) pile. 

7. Large table

If your library space is on the larger side or is doubling as a dining room or home office, this beautiful large table from Litfad ($1,438.23) might be an excellent addition for reading and work that requires a bit more spreading out. Modeled on large library tables in universities, it features shelves underneath for even more book storage.

8. Folding secretary desk

If your home library is smaller in scale, this modern and functional secretary desk from Target ($200) is an affordable solution. When folded up, it sits snugly against the wall but unveils a workspace and storage cubicles with a charging station when folded down. 

9. Bar cart

Library spaces are great for housing your collection of bottles that can be cracked to accompany the perfect book. Whether it's whiskey for Dylan Thomas poems or a glass of wine for that Julia Child cookbook, this pretty West Elm ($549) cart is a gorgeous solution. 

10. Cozy throws

Cooler weather is the best time for curling up in your library space amongst the books to keep you warm. A cozy throw is an absolute necessity. This furry blanket from Sears ($67.31) resembles an exotic animal pelt and instantly elevates your reading nook or library space.

11. Bookish art

While the books themselves are usually the focus of any home library, that doesn't mean you can't also incorporate some book-themed art too. This vintage-style poster from Etsy ($24.40) is a fun addition to your library. You can also seek out art devoted to your favorite titles — from character mock-ups to re-imagined book covers. 

12. Music

While some prefer utter silence while reading, others like a bit of music to go with their perusing. This Marshall Bluetooth speaker from CB2 ($279.99) is a stunner and can be used with your phone for a fun, retro vibe. If you're looking for something even more beholden to the past, try a record player or antique gramophone. 

13. Plants

Plants can liven up even the smallest, darkest spaces, bringing a bit of the outside in. They look particularly beautiful draped over bookshelves. If your library lacks the light for real plants, this draping fern from Petals ($79) easily fools the eye and is great for occupying shelves of books. 

14. A fireplace

Fireplaces, real or faux, provide a focal point in any room and give off cozy library vibes. This faux mantle from Cozymatic ($945) not only checks the cozy box but also provides additional shelves for books inside the mantle itself. It is a perfect solution if the weather doesn't call for actual heat sources. 

15. Reading nook

Any reading nook needs a comfortable bench to lounge with your favorite title. This gray tweed daybed bench from West Elm ($1,099) with generous dimensions and comfy cushions on both ends looks great in front of a window. 

16. Ladder

Like Belle in "Beauty and the Beast," we all long for a swooping library ladder and an endless span of shelves all the way to the ceiling. Even if your library isn't quite that grand, you can easily install this amazing library ladder from Rockler ($439.99) to reach the higher shelves easily. You can also use a ladder to hold magazines and other reading materials. 

17. Chaise lounge

Another seating idea for any home library space is a chaise lounge, which offers the best of both world's blend of sitting or lying down necessary for enjoying any book properly. This stunning green velvet chaise from Jennifer Taylor Home ($1,169) instantly makes any space feel luxurious and scholarly. 


While some are dedicated advocates of the creased corners and marking pages with dinner receipts and parking tickets, any well-appointed library space will at least possess a great collection of bookmarks (even if you rarely use them). This unique upcycled silver spoon bookmark from Etsy ($18) fits snuggly over the book and marks your page firmly.

19. The perfect mug

Whether you are a tea or coffee drinker, or something stronger, every library needs a great bookish mug. This Etsy ($16) option has an adorable design and is durable with an enamel finish.

20. Secret doors

No home library is complete without a little bit of mystery. If you are determined to make a secret, hidden corridor in your library a reality, this bifold, shelved door from Murphy Door ($1,717) is perfect, especially if space doesn't allow much room for it dramatically swinging open. 

21. A reading tent

For homes with children, a reading tent or fort is a great way to encourage both reading and play among kids. This tent from The Tot ($165) resembles Rapunzel's magic tower and will provide endless hours in the land of make-believe.