sit, pause and unwind with a stairway library

While the idea of doubling up spaces for different uses is not new among architects and interior designers, modern thinkers are doing some cool things with the old classics. Lining or creating stairs around a bookcase is not just a way to find a solution in limited space but a way to make the inhabitants feel thoroughly clever. Books, after all, are not just beautiful objects but they are reminders of our past and prompt our imaginations.

Here are just three of many beautiful staircase libraries in homes around the world.


A Secret Bookcase Stairway, London

This smart stairway occupies part of a shared floor in a Victorian mansion in London. During a recent renovation the architects from Levitate unleashed extra space from a ceiling loft. The client had requested a library despite the tight space, so creating a bookcase stairway was the perfect fit.

The stairway was designed as an upside down sedan chair dangling from the upper floor and avoids any complicated new structural issues. 

We just love that this bookcase set of stairs is also a kind of hidden space away from the rest of the house, a place to quietly read the afternoon away in your slippers and robe. The stairs are also drawers for CDs and other pieces of hidden treasure.

Levitate was formed by Spencer Guy and Tim Sloan in 2005 and is based in London. They pride themselves on designing spaces that function while being a joy to be, and love the challenge of location sensitive sites such as updating historic listed houses.


A Bookshelf Stairway, Barcelona

This slick and simple stairway is part of the renovation on a small apartment in Ravel, Barcelona that was completed in 2013. We love the way the heart of the humble home is around the bookshelf stairs. This separates the dining room from a hidden built-in closet and leads up to an inviting loft bed under a sunroof. The bookshelf is also the meeting point of the kitchen, dining room and living room.




This renovation was done on a tight budget and in a small space, using white wash walls and lack of clutter to enlarge the space visually.



The apartment was designed by emerging Spanish/Croatian Architect Eva Cotman who graduated in 2007 from the University of Zagreb and finished a Master’s Degree at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 2010. She has established an architectural office in both Barcelona and Croatia.


A Kids Library Staircase, Korea

Designed by Korean architectural firm Moon Hoon, the Panorama House is a spectacular three-storey home to a family of six in North Chungcheong Province, Korea.

The clients asked Moon Hoon to include various spaces where their four children could play. In this case, space and price were not so much the problem and the library idea was to flow on from the other stair features in the house.



The staircase library which is on the ground floor, is wide and made of soft wood. The steps contain all sorts of books and it also has a soft wooden slide for the kids to play on. The area is all about good old fashion playing and reading.

The staircase can also be turned into a seating area for the home cinema encouraging the whole family to watch a film together.



The house is on a number of levels and the stairs between spaces are a key design feature that look quite different and strikingly with their juxtaposing angles from different viewpoints. Check out for more on this innovative house.

So whether you are looking to downsize into small living or slow down into more thoughtful living, a staircase library is worth a pause for thought. We think that walking past Keats, a couple of Brontes and perhaps Dr Suess daily is a great way to remind us to make time for our own inner world, to curl up and float away with our favourite authors whenever we have the time.


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