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5 Steps to a Traditional Library Design

Looking for a traditional look for your library? You can find the tools you need in my 5-Step Plan Toolbox [CLICK HERE].

In addition, this blog post can help to build on those tools so it all makes more sense. And it can all be put together in 5 simple steps.


I know I say it a LOT, but the concept is not just the beginning of your design but the basis of all decisions to be made from

the first space plan layout to the final installation of artwork and accessories. So figure out your concept first. I have plenty of ideas in other blogs and throughout my website to hep you with this. For a traditional design style, you will be looking for a classic appearance with warm and inviting color palettes that incorporate greens, browns, spice colors and even some soft blues.

Traditional design doesn't have to be overly ornate or institutional unless that's the look you and your team are going for. But a common thread among all traditional styles is still a heavier furniture look and wood details and trim pieces that give the building a rich and classic atmosphere.


For the most part, all space planning, no matter the concept, is going to be pretty consistent across the board. Space planning must be functional and accommodating to your staff and patrons. I have several space plan examples for you to look at in the toolbox. You want to make sure your flow of traffic (also called circulation patterns) is easy to navigate and that you have plenty of places to sit and read, work from devices and do research.


Selecting finishes can be daunting, but don't shy away from the task at hand. If you will build from your concept which should contain a main and neutral color (usually for all walls that won't be getting accent materials or paint), at least two accent colors just to start and at least one wood tone, you won't have any trouble at all. That having been said, should you get stuck, just [CLICK HERE] to find what you're looking for. Stay in your color palette with each fabric and finish and use the same wood tone throughout. If you're feeling a little brave, don't be afraid to blend in a second wood tone to add some extra interest to the overall design.


This is easy if you know the right person to call. Aside from your brilliant Interior Designer, if you're trying to do it yourself, then you need to remember only two key elements. #1 - contact a highly reputable furniture dealer that you feel comfortable with. Feel free to reach out to several and interview them to make sure you like who you're working with. Ask about how they handle installs and warranties as those things are critical. A couple of local teams that we work with here in Georgia are Office Creations and Impact Office Interiors. If you call them, tell 'em I sent you! #2 - make sure they are very familiar with your traditional concept and color palette so that they don't steer you in the wrong direction. The last thing you want is a traditional building with traditional finishes and contemporary furnishings. It's visually confusing and a mistake that is made far more often than you might imagine.

If you get stuck, refer back to my 5-Step Plan Toolbox for suggestions and for a look at my favorite go-tos.


This part is pretty easy since you're already handling this like a pro and using your handy concept design from Step 1 to

navigate your decision-making. A handy trick I often use with signage is using a basic style in their signage line and have them apply the same or very similar wood laminate as the backing of the sign. This is usually a great contrast to your wall color and helps to tie in the other wood tones in the rest of the building. Artwork is always a personal decision. If you plan to use local art or images of your community as is often the case with traditional design, then you probably want to consider some warm wooden frames that will allow you to display your local masterpieces with a flare of tradition.

These 5 Steps to Traditional library design are pretty easy if you stick to the warm palettes and heavier furniture pieces. Stay true to your concept design and you cannot go wrong. And look for our design courses coming in January of 2021 if you prefer step-by-step instructions from me in our 5-Course series.

Reach out to me [HERE] if you want to lean more.


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