A chinese etagere

Too often people treat their treasured collection of favorite books as a decorating nuisance, but with the right spirit and eye they can become an asset to any room -- one that lends individuality and personality. 

Take this high style interior (above) with its selection of leather-bound volumes arranged in a Chinese-influenced étagère. It blends perfectly with the chinois chest, the vintage Danish modern chair and table, and a Hoffman sofa from turn-of-the-century Vienna.  What ties them all together is the vintage Deco lamp on the chest, which sits atop a stack of books. 

Contemporary shelving

Your personal library becomes a visual focal point of a room. These modern shelves (above) with the books stacked rather than stored on end has all the character of a conceptual art piece and plays beautifully against the two contemporary floor lamps and the vintage Eames lounge chair.  

The quiet star of the room, though, is the contemporary chandelier, which somehow harmonizes with the architecture of the bookshelf. 

White walls

We tend to think that books suggest seriousness but arranged naturally they fit just as well into a whimsical or colorful interior. Take these two white rooms with their mix of animal figures and colorful accessories, like the pink bench and striking lamp on the writing desk. The addition of a library ladder helps blend the books, the accessories and the traditional architectural details. 

Books

Don't be reluctant to mix  your books up with other decorative home decor objects. At first glance, this wall console has a kind of undergraduate informality. But the combination with modern ceramic pieces and comic decorative items gives it all a light-hearted style. The whole effect is amplified by a very 21st century ceiling fixture, a modernist sofa, and the funky table lamp on the very adult rattan bar cart. It's a room for the young at heart, whatever their age.

A Library and DiningRoom

Small spaces, particularly in urban settings, often have to do double duty. Take a lesson from the English and stylish Manhattan apartment dwellers who often turn their dining rooms into libraries. Deep wall colors and a complimentary painted ceiling are the perfect foil for a glittery chandelier and vintage mix-and-match dining seating.  Even is you have to eat alone, what could be better than pulling down a favorite book for company?

Photos via Nuevo Estilo, Alvhem, Desire to Inspire, Living Agency, Mires Paris.