Hallways are good for storing books, what with long walls and all. On the downside, they don’t offer much room for sitting to enjoy them, like a library.
When my wife and I moved into our current apartment a few years ago, our most important decision wasn’t where the put the couch or television or home office or even the dining room table; it was where to put the books. Having invested in a floor-to-ceiling shelf system, the eventual location sits next to the front door and becomes a wall of books opposite the couch. While the books have outgrown this wall and taken over other parts of the house (as any book lover will agree, this always happens), there is something appealing about this huge surface of books, especially when compared to smaller bookcases. As this ideabook attests, I’m not alone in liking walls of books. The following examples show various ways of accommodating large numbers of books in all parts of the house.
Why one wall of books when you can have two? If this room only had one wall covered with books it would want another, given the strong symmetry of the space with its central fireplace. One thing our wall of books shares with this one is the change in spacing from large on the bottom to small on the top, so bigger books are closer to the floor and therefore easier to handle.
This smaller space also has bookshelves facing each other, though one side is punctured by a doorway. I like the way relief is brought to the book through double-height openings that are used for artifacts, such as a globe.
Two walls covered in books can also converge at a corner. This office space is not only packed with books but designed so the work surfaces meld with the book storage. If going this route on your own project, be sure to check that the top shelves can be reached over the desk.
This books in the corner of this library extend past the soffit (seen at left) to the underside of the clerestory windows that also wrap the corner; this necessitates a ladder for reaching the higher shelves.
The corner of this library is access to other rooms, but the bookshelves on either side are nevertheless continuous in design, particularly the narrow shelf about a third of the way up; I’m guessing it’s used for large books and documents that want to lie flat.
These shelves also utilize a very short shelf about half the way up. Also, like the previous example lighting is integrated above the shelves, projecting out and pointing down to aid in finding books and for reading them.
Two perpendicular walls are covered with books in this room, separated by a large window that brings in plenty of daylight. Note how the shelves are rounded at the window, a nice Art Deco touch.
From the first steps within this house, one is confronted with books, which cover a wall adjacent to the front door. The dark shelves are highlighted with orange ends that work well in the sparse modern space.
One end of this large living space is covered in shelves that are books interspersed with sculptures; the former are open to the lightly shaded wall, while the former has a dark backing that helps the objects stand out.
This wall of books is designed with an integral railing for a rolling ladder as well as lighting for two horizontal openings used for displaying objects. In proportion and execution the shelves are minimal yet elegant.
Here is another wall of books that integrates larger openings for displaying objects other than books. They are horizontal, vertical, and square, enabling different things to be on display.
This simple wall of books with rolling ladder works well with the minimal architecture of the interior. Note how the empty shelf space seems to trickle down from top right to bottom left, indicating that even room for future books can be part of an interim design.
These shelves stand out from the previous examples in the extremely thin edge profile and apparent lack of supports.
Here are more shelves with a slender profile and hidden supports; the latter are, according to the architect, comprised of “an upturned leg in the back which is bolted to the wall … [and] then concealed.”
This wall of books is freestanding, acting as a divider between the kitchen and living room.
The opening between these rooms looks like it is carved from the wall of books, as they compose a header over the opening.
I’ve always believed that a hallway is a good place for books — that is, if you have one and don’t have a library or room in your living area. To me, the bedroom should be free from too many books (a few on the nightstand or a small shelf is good, but not a wall), and too close to a kitchen might damage books.
Hallways can also be mezzanines, so the books then become a part of the larger house, not tucked away from other rooms.
Here is another hallway mezzanine (nice door at the far end!) where books are placed around the windows, taking advantage of every bit of wall space.