How to Use Furnishings to Create an Inviting Library Experience

In the age of digital content and remote learning, libraries today are adapting to maintain their relevance and appeal. A significant part of this process is focusing on the library experience itself–to make your various spaces as welcoming and comfortable as possible for visitors who come in to work, study, collaborate, or browse. When thoughtfully selected and creatively placed, your choice of furnishings can play a huge role in building an inviting library experience. Let’s discuss some ways you can make this happen.

Build Your Plan Around Your Layout

Maximizing the layout of your library space is crucial in creating an inviting atmosphere. Start by identifying high-traffic areas and pathways (in other words, where NOT to put furniture) and make sure those walkways are open and clearly visible. Arrange shelving and furniture in a way that encourages flow and allows for easy navigation to the various sections of the library. You can enhance this effect by creating cozy nooks off the “beaten path” with comfortable seating for readers to relax and get lost in a book.

Use Furnishings and Shelving to Define Spaces

Another way you can use furniture to your advantage is by using the furnishings as key elements in creating designated spaces for various activities. Whether it’s a quiet study area, a collaborative work table, or a children’s reading corner, strategic placement of furnishings can help define and differentiate these spaces. For example, you can utilize curved shelving to create an entryway into your children’s area, use glass walls or half partitions to delineate sections like the business services area or group study areas, or arrange soft seating in a circular or semicircular array to create community lounge spaces. Sometimes even the furnishings themselves tell the user what section of the library they are in–for example, an array of single-seat cabanas sends a message that “this is a quiet study zone.”

Creative Use of Color

Colors can have a significant impact on mood and atmosphere. When designing your library, opt for warm and inviting colors such as shades of blue, green, and yellow. These colors have been shown to promote relaxation and creativity, making them perfect for a library setting. Avoid using harsh or bright colors that may be too stimulating or distracting.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Bringing elements of nature into your library can help create a calming atmosphere. The integration of plants, flowers, and greenery throughout a space has been scientifically proven to improve mood, evoke calm, and even increase productivity–but you can incorporate elements of nature within your furnishings, as well. You can also arrange furnishings to maximize the use of natural daylight, or use soft lighting options instead of harsh overhead lights.

Aim for Comfort

Comfort is key in creating an inviting library experience. Your visitors may spend hours studying or working in your space, so choosing comfort over economy can go a long way toward encouraging return visitors. Opt for ergonomic chairs, cushioned seating options, and adjustable height tables to cater to a variety of needs. For lounge seating, choose chairs and sofas with plush cushions and supportive backs to encourage readers to stay awhile or enjoy a quiet chat with others. Upholstered ottomans can also add a fun touch while still providing comfort and mobility.

Your library is many things to many people. It’s a community hub, a sanctuary, a space for collaboration and learning, and yes, a place to browse, sit and read. Strategically furnishing your library will help ensure users fully enjoy themselves, whatever the reason that brought them through the doors. At Creative Library Concepts, we can provide access to an extensive range of library furniture, shelving, and other components designed to enhance comfort, foster collaboration, and create an overall library experience that is as enriching as it is inclusive. Contact us to learn more.

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