We love libraries, and we love a design that takes advantage of unusual circumstances, and when those things come together, well, that's just beautiful. These seven home libraries might be a little different than others you've seen before, but they manage to squeeze in lots of books—and look lovely while doing it.
Above: Remember that beautiful, freakishly enormous library that the Beast gave Belle as a gift in Beauty and the Beast? Well, this home library, from Elle España, is like the modern version of that. It's two stories, with a staircase and everything, for maximum book storage and maximum dreaminess.
This Madrid home from Decoratrix has a unique room divider: a bookcase with translucent panels that slide in front of it. The frosted-glass panels keep the books accessible while still fitting into the apartment's soft, modern aesthetic. The panels above the bookcase cover a second-level loft bedroom, and can be slid open for ventilation.
These bookcases are pretty standard, but it's their location that makes them unusual. For someone like me who loves to read in the tub, this bathroom-turned-library from Elle Decor is a dream come true—although sadly for us commoners, this would probably only work in a very large or well-ventilated bathroom (or with cheap paperbacks that you don't worry as much about exposing to humidity).
This home library by Spanish designers Egue & Seta, via Contemporist, has a library ladder, a feature that I find both practical and romantic. But that's not its most unusual element—there's also a "reading net", suspended over the living room and accessible via the ladder, where you can curl up with a book and be perfectly cozy (just you don't look down).
Many modern homes are built with lots and lots of closets—maybe too many, since the amount of stuff you have tends to expand to fill the space available. But you can never have too many books, right? Take a page from this house by Kariouk Associates and transform a walk-in closet into a walk-in library.
This unusual library, spotted on Design*Sponge, takes advantage of the soaring ceilings of this Vancouver loft and goes vertical. Even the highest books are reachable via the library ladder (provided you're not scared of heights).
In this Brussels home from Coffeeklatch, bookshelves are suspended from the ceiling, and cover the sides of a supporting pillar. Although I am intrigued by this arrangement, which has a pleasingly helter-skelter feel to it, I can't help asking myself the same thing you are, which is: how in the world do you get them down? There does appear to be a stepladder near at hand (and hopefully also a very tall and well-balanced person). According to this research, Belgian men are some of the tallest in the world, so that helps.