Cosy home libraries and reading nooks to fall in love with

By Damian Thompson

Cosy home libraries and reading nooks to fall in love with
From moody oak libraries to bright modern havens, you'll be dreaming of curling up with a cup of tea in these cosy reading nooks. 

Camden apartment

This compact apartment in Camden, London, makes canny use of the triangular roof space. This expanse of cubbyholes gives the option for an ever-changing parade of books and objects. Seen side on, the staircase climbing to a platform bedroom is well integrated into the wall behind.

Vaulted attic

Pretty much any dash of colour would make your pupils pop in Jill Macnair’s pure, white vaulted attic in East Dulwich, but the soaring tongue-and-groove is the perfect foil for the bold vertical contrasting stripes formed by clusters of paperbacks in every hue.

Montmartre townhouse

Two sets of shelves, low and high, double up as a dado and cornice in Anne Geistdorfer’s townhouse in Montmartre – and because of the expanse of wall, the interior designer has retained the room’s volume. The shelf at sofa-back height serves as a datum line, a reference point allowing variety above and below it.

Sunny corner spot

Although they don’t exactly align, both the bookcase and the double set of sash windows are divided into eight horizontal sections – the ladder also has the same number of gaps between the rungs. This kind of attention to ratios does matter. The downlighters on the stanchions have multiple hinges.

Oak library in Ireland

In 1939, poet John Betjeman wrote approvingly of Tullynally Castle in County Westmeath, Ireland. The architect maintained the cubic character of its oak- panelled library by building the shelves into the walls, with a wooden architrave flush to the line of the plaster. The jib door means that the eye is not interrupted.

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Natural sanctum

A lantern and a gnarled root – props in an Edgar Allan Poe short story? – usher one into a sanctum bound to excite the imagination. Perhaps it’s the weathered tongue and groove, the unusual placement of the windows that hint at an unseen paradise, or the shadow gap beneath the ‘floating’ bed, where monsters might lurk… anyone could lose themselves in a book here.

Extract from ‘Books Make a Home’ by Damian Thompson, published by Ryland Peters & Small ($74.99) Distributed by


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