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Apartments for Book Lovers

There are three categories of book lovers: the readers (speaks for itself), the appreciators (people who view books as art objects), and the hopefuls (people who buy books with every intention of reading them but never actually do). Regardless of where one falls on the spectrum, a love of books tends to come with some actual books, which just so happen to offer a charming and personalising touch to interior decor. These Never Too Small apartments below show off the atmosphere-altering power of a good book — or many.

In This House, We Read

Home to popular online personalities Hige and Watsahi — also known as HIGE and ME — this Tokyo apartment has a cosy reading corner in the living room. Replete with an L-shaped configuration of bookshelves made from reclaimed apple crates and bean bag chairs, the area was specially arranged to have a library-like atmosphere that can be reconfigured as desired. Hige and Watashi, who both “love travelling and collecting interesting items and artworks”, decorated their calming at-home library with a mix of eclectic objects and plants.

Books were taken into consideration for the design of this Madrid-based journalist’s apartment from the get-go. Knowing that their client wasn’t much of a cook but was a big reader, the team at gon architects designed a custom, floor-to-ceiling bookshelf unit for the living room that could house his large book collection.

Here, There, Everywhere

One thing this Madrid apartment is definitely not short on is character. Filled with colourful rugs, artworks, fixtures, and beyond, it’s an eclectic space that balances a clear design vision with a lived-in feel. Architect Mariana de Delás stacked her books up the green staircase and into niches in the raised study, visible from the living room below, to show off a few of the things she cares most about. Plus, when the sun shines through the orange perspex study desk in the loft, it creates the ideal atmosphere for reading in the room below.

It’s easier getting to know oneself when deciding to live in a small space … Some people may prioritise hidden storage, a minimal lifestyle or a big kitchen. For me, it was a great opportunity to know what I really wanted to have and what I could live without.”

Mariana de Delás

Books are one of the unifying elements of this beachside Sydney apartment’s living–dining room. This tranquil yet sleek space by designer Matt Reynolds of MattR Studio features not only wrap-around bookshelves but also a set of bespoke coffee table niches and museum-like display tables that present books — both open and closed — under a pane of glass-like art.

Images by Guy Wilkinson Photography

Functional but Make it Literary

A living room is meant for relaxing, but what if it’s also the access path to your bedroom? In this London loft, Armando Elias and Hugo D’Enjoy of Craft Design cleverly preserved the tranquil living room vibe by “disguising” the staircase to the mezzanine level as a bookshelf. The staircase unit blends in neatly with the shelves covering that wall of the apartment in its entirety, up into the highest point of the loft bedroom ceiling — besides the nook left for a fold-out desk. The books, tucked into the cubbies and niches of the steps, add a nice pop of colour against the otherwise white interior.

Bonus Bookworms

Serving as a base for the sleeping loft and a wall to the walk-in closet, the bookshelf facing the kitchen of this Taipei home can be on display or hidden behind a sliding grill partition wall.

This Bergamo architect studio and apartment raised its bookshelves, which are accessible by a blue steel ladder, to the height of the loft area.

In Amsterdam, this large custom oak cabinet showcases a treasure trove of books, personal memories, and a cleverly hidden TV.

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