How To Organise Bookshelves


How To Organise Bookshelves

Some of us love books and are impressed whenever we see a great well-organised bookshelf. It’s a great way to tell people who you are and what you find important.

The first question you need to ask is ‘where will it live?’ This will help determine whether you’re focusing more on appearance or function. Is it going to be a design element in the space as well as storage?

Here are some top tips for how to organise a bookshelf.

1. A bookshelf should reflect who you are

If you have more books than room on your bookshelf, my first recommendation is to get rid of any that you don’t feel represents who you are as a person. Bookshelves are often on display to your guests. What do you want your family and friends to know about you by looking at the books you’ve collected?

Get rid of any that you wouldn’t proudly defend as part of who you are. Let go of those titles you know you’ll never read, that no longer interest you or that you simply don’t have room to keep. Books should be treated with honour and respect and stored accordingly; not in disarray or covered in dust.

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2. Categorise your collection

Choose which style works best for you – I prefer keeping fiction and non-fiction titles separate, then organising the non-fiction books by subject matter first. I categorise fiction titles alphabetically by author or title, but use whichever makes more sense to you. With this system, you’ll always know where to go to find what you’re looking for, quickly and easily.

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3. Creating a design element

If your bookshelf is in a very public part of your home, like your lounge room, it’s more important that it looks organised and even beautiful.

Some people like the idea of separating out hardcovers from paperbacks as a first step. Then, if this idea fits with your overall decorating ideas, group the books by the colours of their spines.

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All black book spines on one shelf, white on another, and then start with red-coloured spines to the left side of your bookshelf, followed by the oranges, yellows, greens and the blues. Finish with those titles that have purple-coloured spines on the far right.

You might also choose to alternate books standing vertically with larger titles stacked horizontally.  The options are endless and there are literally millions of photos online showing options and arrangements for every space and taste.

4. Let your books breathe

Be sure to leave space on each shelf. Bookshelves that are over stuffed look too cluttered. For a uniform look, pull your books to the front of the shelves.  Not only does this help reduce the dust that gathers on a shelf but also lets air circulate better, which is good for books.


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