... In the age of magnificence, reading, too, was a stately activity, indulged in by few and confined largely to the ceremonial space of grand libraries. The eighteenth-century home feature a less imposing, more modern type of space devoted to books and reading. In what was now called a 'reading room,' books were not on formal display in order to impress visitors with their sheer numbers and sumptuous bindings. They were stored instead in built-in cupboards camouflaged behind sliding doors fitted with elegant paneling. These rooms were intended ... 'to induce everyone to come in and start reading,' as spaces in which anyone would feel comfortable sliding back those doors and picking out a book. In some bedrooms, the walls on either side of the bed were fitted out with still more bookshelves. People had obviously begun to curl up in bed with a good book.
and the modern home began, by Joan DeJean