10 Bookshelf Organization Ideas Every Book Lover Needs

books on shelves

Whether you’re an avid book collector or just want a stylish home for your favorite books and other essentials, a well-organized bookshelf is an essential part of your home. There is no set rule for organizing bookshelves, but we asked a few designers to share some of their favorite ideas. It can be folded horizontally so you can quickly find the right place for all your favorite books.

Scroll down the page for 10 designer-approved shelving ideas to help you rearrange your shelves quickly.

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Bookshelf Organization: Use a Layered Technique

This bookshelf was designed by Molly Creeson, founder of the Well + Wonder Artist Collective. This bookshelf is the perfect mix of art, potted plants, meaningful knick-knacks, and books.

“The layered approach really caught my eye when it came to the bookshelf design. I always recommend using art to create a unique and sophisticated foundation,” Cresson says. “From there, add special books and unique souvenirs for entertainment. Don’t be afraid to mix and match items in different colors, textures, and sizes for a warm and inviting look.”

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Bookshelf Organization: Organize Your Books by Color

Let’s discuss the Dewey Decimal System later. Some people organize their library of books by author, others by topic, but organizing books by cover color can create a deliberate look.

Designer Crystal Nagel agrees. “When designing bookshelves, I tend to arrange books by color. Grouping colors make them easier to see, making them visually more interesting and appealing. The result is a coherent and inspiring image,” she says.

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Bookshelf Organization: Use the Top Shelves for Books and the Bottom Ones for Storage

Bookshelves shouldn’t be just for books. Think of it as a storage solution for magazines, toys, and all sorts of essentials. Marissa Hagmeyer, the co-founder of the NEAT Method, recommends using the top shelf for color books, plants, and other accent items. Reserve shelves for heavy items and store items that create visual clutter, she says.

“Place boxes and baskets on the bottom shelf to sort items like toys, documents, technology and crafts so they are easier to see,” says Hagmeyer.

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Bookshelf Organization: Utilize Floating Bookshelves

Overwhelmed by the idea (and cost) of a built-in bookshelf? Built-in elements create a sophisticated and formal look, but Sarah Jefferys, founder and CEO of Sarah Jefferys Architecture + Interiors, added wood shelving to the sides of this minimalist fireplace. More difficult.

“I wanted to create a vibrant, floating minimal shelf that would almost disappear in front of an exposed brick wall,” said Jefferies. “The metal corners are bolted to the brick wall to support the weight of the bookshelves. It’s interesting to see how bookshelves and heavy books are supported.”

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Bookshelf Organization: Remove Book Bindings

To make your book collection more cohesive, Caroline Aycock of Koukla Collective recommends removing book covers. “The natural colors and textures of the books make the shelves feel like a real library,” she said. “I don’t buy a book for my coffee table by looking under the glossy cover and seeing the natural binding first.”

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Bookshelf Organization: Break Up the Books With Storage Boxes

Mary Meydan, founder and head of Meydan Architects, said: “This is what she does in the playroom of her home. “A great organizational strategy is to combine shelves with storage drawers,” she says.

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Bookshelf Organization: Add Spotlights Above Your Bookshelves

To display your favorite books, add floor-to-ceiling pendants above each bookshelf, just like Mendelssohn’s group did. Gorgeous, elegant, and functional. Now you can always see where all the latest books are, even if you have hundreds of them.

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Bookshelf Organization: Stack Books Horizontally

After visiting a library where books are stacked upright, it’s only natural to have them at home. But why stop thinking about it? To create a stylized bookshelf, carefully arrange some books horizontally, as Maestri Studio did. This is done intentionally and does not overload the space. Plus, just stack a few and you’ll easily get the books you need.

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Bookshelf Organization: Create Gaps in Open Shelving

Long, uninterrupted open shelves are great. The open shelving of any length that is less continuous would be better as it adds unexpected visual interest, such as the dining room designed by Studio Legard. Hanging long, medium and short open shelves create a void that allows you to place taller items (like plants or art) in your home to make it more inviting.

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Bookshelf Organization: Organize With a Twist on a Classic Wedding Rule

Caroline Aycock of Koukla Collective has done a great job organizing her bookshelf. “My favorite way to keep shelves neat and tidy is to adapt the classic wedding rules: old, clean, borrowed, green,” she says. This way you can add character, color, and a bit of life.

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