The Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero said “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” We quite agree. When it comes to interior design, we always say that no-one wants to fill their home with furniture, you want to fill it with stories - things that have meaning, that you have a connection with. A book collection is such a unique and personal thing, it always brings warmth and personality to a room.  With all the technology around today there’s something very comforting and real about holding a good book in your hands.


But how do you design a room to make the most of your tomes? Here are some things to keep in mind…


What should you consider when designing around large built-ins or bookcases?

The bookcase can be a focal point in itself, our Regiment Drum bookcase is 6-foot high in the shape of an antique drum, and we also have our Aviator Blackhawk bookcase in a riveted Spitfire finish, inspired by fighter jets.


A great bookcase can be just as interesting as the volumes it holds. Large scale built-ins across a whole wall – or walls – can create a very dramatic look, especially if they’re painted to complement or contrast with other key pieces in the room. 


How can you keep the room looking stylish and not too crowded?

When grouping books or objects together on a bookcase variation is key. Stack some of the larger books horizontally, mix secondhand books with brand new ones, and add other display items in small groups. Only display things that you really love, if it doesn’t make you smile then put it away.


What are some interesting ways to display an extensive book collection?

In most of our galleries we’ve built floor-to-ceiling towers of books which we call Pillars of Knowledge, each one is constructed around a cylindrical pillar using old books we’ve collected from secondhand markets. It can take hours – each tower can use up to 4,000 books! But the effect is just epic. We’ve had many clients wanting to replicate the same look in their homes.


Pictured: Professor Chairs


Another interesting thing is to install a secret door in the bookcase. We did this when we redesigned the Blue Room at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The bookcase opens onto a secret stairwell used in Prohibition, leading you up the stairs to the club entrance. It’s very clandestine!


The secret stairwell of the Blue Room, read about the design project here


Should you put furniture in front of the bookcases? Or leave open?

It depends on what you’re using the room for. Adding an armchair and lamp in front of a bookcase creates a cosy literary retreat in a lounge, but in a study you might want to leave the bookcases open and place the desk in the centre of the room, surrounded by your favourite books while you work.  


Pictured: Ridge bookcase and Cabana Yeti chair


Find a storied home for your books with our handcrafted bookcase collection or find your perfect reading chair from our beautifully crafted armchair collection.