The case for books: eight ways to shelve your space

Best in Class: Bookcases

The Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia is set in a former publishing house.

The Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia is set in a former publishing house.

 

1 Summer reads will look even more interesting when displayed as a library wall.

Bookcases can iron out any imbalances in a room to create a glorious sense of symmetry. They can also be used to fill awkward spaces such as door surrounds, landings and even double height spaces to create a library look at home.

The Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia is set in a former publishing house whose brutalist splendour and restored and repurposed printing paraphernalia and books galore help to create a singular decor personality.

Wire cages, powdercoated in a sage green, are filled with bookshelves, climbing two stories in its double height lobby space turns it into a place you’ll want to spend time in. The books also help to dim down the sound and to form natural openings to nooks off the main room, all within the shelving. stambahotel.com

Madrid’s Hotel Indigo: its lobby is deliberately set out in restful marine shades of blue and green with curved ply shelving lined with books.
Madrid’s Hotel Indigo: its lobby is deliberately set out in restful marine shades of blue and green with curved ply shelving lined with books.

2 Designed by architectural firm Teresa Sapey, Madrid’s Hotel Indigo is situated in the Gran Vía neighbourhood and its lobby is deliberately set out in restful marine shades of blue and green with curved ply shelving lined with books and objects to tempt residents into lingering.

This effect is further softened by the use of velvet seating in jewel shades. This is a place where time stands still, where you can browse some books as you wait for your other half to finish getting ready. hotelindigo.com

Paolo Moschino & Philip Vergeylen have stacked their coffee table books within a pair of brass escaliers that flank the fireplace in the drawing room of their London apartment. Photograph: Clive Nichols
Paolo Moschino & Philip Vergeylen have stacked their coffee table books within a pair of brass escaliers that flank the fireplace in the drawing room of their London apartment. Photograph: Clive Nichols

3 Good looking coffee tables deserve to be on show. When Phaidon’s Greatest Rooms of the Century launched it was available in four different colours, so you could buy the title, €69.95, in a shade to match your own book collection or decor. The brilliant move has proved so popular that of the four only the platinum colour is still available.

Chock full of inspiring ideas, here designers and clients Paolo Moschino & Philip Vergeylen have stacked their coffee table books within a pair of brass escaliers that flank the fireplace in the drawing room of their London Apartment. phaidon.com

This property shows how you can make very smart use of vertical space. Photograph: Jody Stewart
This property shows how you can make very smart use of vertical space. Photograph: Jody Stewart

4 You can turn a corridor, door surrounds and even the door itself into library space if you hire a talented joiner. This property, shot by photographer Jody Stewart, shows how you can make very smart use of vertical space.

Oikos, high end residential contractors and joiners based in Harold’s Cross, work with some of the country’s top architects and can do something similar for between €1,500 and €2,000, depending on finishes. The door needs specialist hardware to accommodate real books, James O’Donovan, its design manager, explains. Oikos.ie 

Designed by Swedish architect Nils Strinning in the 1940s, the Flexi wall panels can be assembled to fit the space you want to fill. Here it has been styled with books covered in similar-colours.
Designed by Swedish architect Nils Strinning in the 1940s, the Flexi wall panels can be assembled to fit the space you want to fill. Here it has been styled with books covered in similar-colours.

5 Put a different kind of string theory to the test by playing with the classic String shelving system. Designed by Swedish architect Nils Strinning in the 1940s the Flexi wall panels, 75cm by 30cm, pictured here in walnut but also available in oak, ash and three neutral colours, can be assembled to fit the space you want to fill.

Here it has been styled with books covered in similar-colours, a decorative trope that will probably irk most regular readers but might appeal to someone who wants to fill a space with a more tactile texture.

You could use titles picked up in second hand shops and cover them as you want. The shelving unit costs from about €232 to order at Inreda Design Shop. The combined cost of the nine units, pictured, is about €1,800. inredadesignshop.ie

Co Carlow-based Woodale Designs has resolved the TV issue with this dark and moody joinery, to a design by Suzie McAdam in a property in Rathgar. The screen is concealed below the small artwork on the far wall. When required, the TV rises from below the counter to fill the space in front of the artwork.
Co Carlow-based Woodale Designs has resolved the TV issue with this dark and moody joinery, to a design by Suzie McAdam in a property in Rathgar. The screen is concealed below the small artwork on the far wall. When required, the TV rises from below the counter to fill the space in front of the artwork.

6 If you turn the living room into a library the burning question for most households is what to do about the TV – where is it going to live?

Co Carlow-based Woodale Designs has resolved the issue with this dark and moody joinery, hand painted in Farrow & Ball ‘Off Black’, in a high gloss finish, to a design by Suzie McAdam in a property in Rathgar.

The screen is concealed below the small artwork on the far wall when you want to sit quietly and read. When you want to catch up on the latest carry-on on Love Island the TV rises from below the counter to fill the space in front of the artwork. In a similar-sized room, say about 15sq m, this will cost about €10,700, including the TV lift. woodaledesigns.com

This double height space, designed by Neville Johnson, shows you how to create visual interest when you’re working with different height sculpture and décor objects as well as books.
This double height space, designed by Neville Johnson, shows you how to create visual interest when you’re working with different height sculpture and décor objects as well as books.

7 Sometimes you want to sit your objects, artefacts and personal items alongside your books. This double height space, designed by Neville Johnson, shows you how to create visual interest when you’re working with different height sculpture and décor objects as well as books.

The secret to success here is to map out where you want everything to ‘live’ installing the larger books and objects on the lower shelves and working up towards the smaller items and titles. You can add a contrasting back colour or texture to all or some of the alcoves. Ask any joiner to cost such work to include any scaffolding needed to reach the higher levels. nevillejohnson.co.uk

Italian furniture firm Boffetto’s Il Letterario produce an alphabet of bookcases designed by the architect Simone Micheli that can be used to spell out any work you like.
Italian furniture firm Boffetto’s Il Letterario produce an alphabet of bookcases designed by the architect Simone Micheli that can be used to spell out any work you like.

8 If you want to add a little more personality into your book storage then consider Italian furniture firm Boffetto’s Il Letterario, an alphabet of bookcases designed by the architect Simone Micheli that can be used to spell out any work you like. Alternatively you could invest in just one to make a style statement in a living room or bedroom. The range also comes with shelving that includes lighting.

The pieces can be ordered from Italian online shop Milia and range in price from about €2,000 to €3,000 depending on the letter selected and its finish. miliashop.com