When in doubt go to the library.” -J.K. Rowling

Have you ever wanted to live in a bookstore or stay overnight huddled within the library stacks? If you love the look and smell of old books, you probably spend a lot of time collecting used tomes and poring over yellowed leaves.

Do you have bookshelf wealth? This is a TikTok trend sweeping the internet, where homes are highlighted for their incredible libraries. But it’s not all about appearance; it’s really about knowledge and actually reading the books you own (at least for bibliophiles). Some are irked by this new décor trend because it seems superficial; it’s one thing to own all the classic tomes and another to actually read them. We know that people who really enjoy their books end up cracking the spine, dog-earing the pages, and writing in the margins. If books are simply a décor trend, are they actually being enjoyed? I think there’s a good halfway stance to take: yes, you can read and enjoy your library while keeping it well decorated and filled with other objects of style and affection, such as favored framed prints, thoughtfully arranged vases of flowers, and sentimental trinkets.

Bookcore” Aesthetic and how to achieve it:

What is it? Basically, “bookcore” is about adorning your home with books in a stylish way. We love haphazard piles of books, nooks, and crannies filled to the brim with cu shions to sit on or even a ladder on which to perch while getting lost in the stacks. There’s just something about book clutter that’s cozy and intoxicating (for us book lovers, anyway).

Some Tips for Creating A Cozy Book-Centric Ambiance:

  • First off, build a library. Take all the books you’ve collected over the years and arrange them on sturdy bookshelves.
  • Coffee table books are ideal for everyone! Cocktail party guests love having something interesting to look at; books also make for great conversation starters.
  • Stack books on end tables and on your wet bar; use books as a pedestal for showcasing an attractive work of art or floral arrangement.
  • Reclaim and cover old books. Fix broken binding and worn covers by creating new ones.
  • Show off your cookbooks; create an area in your kitchen just for books that highlight your favorite recipes.
  • Create a wall of books.
  • Showcase your favorite book covers! Frame the art that really stands out.
  • S tack books.
  • Off-set books with decorative objects and mementos.

Dark Academia” is an idealized version of the literary/higher education aesthetic. Think of “bookcore” (only more austere, a bit more upper-crust, and, rather than personal libraries, university libraries are prized for their ambiance). Private libraries in “dark academia” are ones that can now be found at the Morgan Library and Museum and the Frick. They usually include lots of brocade furniture, oil paintings, fireplaces, hidden passageways, dim lighting, and Tiffany lamps. There is, of course, a real admiration of the past by all who seek out this particular aesthetic and subculture.

Public libraries are, of course, one of our most important resources. Without them, we wouldn’t have any of the information we need to learn about these new

 trends. With free public WiFi and accessibility to every book imaginable, peace and quiet to read and study, public libraries give us what we need to learn about the authors that make up “bookcore” and “dark academia” as a trending aesthetic. Where else would we get free copies of George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” or Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” (and no, I’m not talking about eBooks, although those are available through public libraries as well)? Read more about our precious resource, the need for it, and why daydreaming is essential (according to Neil Gaiman).

To discover and learn more about decorating your personal space with books, the most beautiful and impressive libraries around the world, and the “bookshelf wealth” aesthetic, click the links below.

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