Modern culture makes much of the need to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Exotic vacations and sybaritic spas often are seen as antidotes to stress, and rightly so. But the brain needs to get away from its regular routine just as much as the body does, and that’s where a home library comes into play. For bookworm homeowners, a place to retreat into a good story serves as the biggest luxury of all.

Along with providing a cozy spot to read, a home library acts as a storage and display device. It also creates an opportunity to add color and texture to an interior, especially when integrated into a larger space. And it gives an architect a way to inject some of the client’s personality and character into the home. Furthermore, books are style-neutral. They work equally well at lending warmth to minimal, modern spaces and formal, traditional ones. No wonder people still treasure their physical tomes, despite the convenience of e-books. As Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Whether signed first editions or dog-eared paperbacks, favorite books deserve a well-designed place to rest their spines. Our slideshow of lovely libraries abounds with smart, sophisticated ideas for supplying the perfect space to get lost in a good book.