5 Bookshelf Organizing Tips That Will Transform Your Home Library

Are you annoyed by the clutter on your bookshelves? Their appearance leaves much to be desired and you can never find anything? Perhaps this short guide will become an inspiration to re-organize your home library.


Your book collection says a lot about you: your interests, personality, lifestyle and work. It testifies to what’s important to you and to your values. For many of us books are a form of self-expression. It is worthwhile to have them collected in one place in the form of a library or reading corner that is both pretty and functional.

If you’ve got not too many books, you can put them on wall shelves. With a larger book collection, it's worth betting on sturdy furniture: bookshelves and bookcases, either ready-made or made to measure, such as fitting the size of the wall or alcove. Among the many ideas for organizing a bookshelf, we want to highlight two key approaches.

Interior design specialists primarily consider the aesthetic aspect, that is, the appearance of the home bookcase and how it fits into the overall room. For them, it’s mainly the cover and format that matter. In the second approach, the book collection should be arranged by subject matter, titles or authors.


The best way to organize a home library

Before you start filling your shelves with books,
start by organizing your collection. It's definitely
worth getting rid of those tomes that no longer
interest you or are damaged.

We often hoard books because we care about the knowledge they contain; we worry that if we throw something away, we will lose some part of that knowledge. However, think about whether you really use your books. If not, donate or sell the ones you don't need without sentiment. This will make space for new releases on your shelves. When your collection is revised, there are a few ways you can go about arranging it.

Bookshelf organizing ideas

1. Based on colors

Arranging books by cover color doesn't appeal to everyone, but according to interior designers, it makes perfect sense. You get a rainbow of colorful spots that gently transition one into the other. You certainly gain a sense of order, while the colorful shelves tame the visual chaos. 

If you don't use your collection on a daily basis and don't care much about finding specific titles quickly, go for the aesthetic look of this arrangement. It's not always the most functional way to organize your home library, but it's probably the most interesting.

How to determine the order of colors? Start with the dark colors on the bottom shelf to set the lightest ones, namely white and cream, on the top shelf. Arrange the colors between them according to your preference or according to the colors of the rainbow.

2. Based on height

The attractive appearance of a home bookcase can also be achieved by arranging the books by height, that is, from smallest to highest. A rule of thumb is to follow a Z-shaped pattern. What does this mean? The top shelf should have tall books on the left and low books on the right. On the shelf underneath, on the other hand, arrange them in reverse: high on the right, low on the left. Fill the rest of the shelves similarly, that is, alternately.

3. Based on covers

Visual balance on the shelves can also be improved by separating hard and soft covers. Place hardcover books on the bottom shelves and soft, paperback books on top. Not only will this look better, but will also allow you to distribute the weight evenly.

4. Alphabetical

This is the best way for those who have an extremely large collection of books. If, in addition, you use it frequently, having any kind of organizational system that facilitates quick retrieval becomes very important. In such cases, decide to organize your collection alphabetically by author, and then by the titles that came out of their pen. You can focus on the subject matter of the books and create a bookshelf with encyclopedias and dictionaries, novels, poetry, science fiction, or Scandinavian detective stories, and arrange them alphabetically within these subjects.

5. However you like

Place your favorite books at eye level and in the center of your home library for the best access. Display the books you love on a separate rack, bookcase or shelf in a unique location. Similarly, store the books you use most often - within easy reach, so they’re at hand whenever you need them. 


More ideas to set up your home library

A system for organizing your book collection is one thing, but we have some more practical inspiration for you on how to arrange your home library.

  • Think about higher shelves, which will give you extra space for more volumes and better vertical space management. Make use of every one of them, even those at the very top. Put there what you rarely use, and leave your favorite items at the bottom. You can also always install a ladder next to the furniture to help you reach the highest shelves. 
  • To avoid overloading, fill shelves two-thirds full. Allow some free space between books and place decorative items there, such as artwork or framed photos. This allows your eyes to rest and makes the bookcase look a little lighter. 
  • Change the way books are arranged. Place most of them on the shelves traditionally vertically, and the remaining 1/3 - horizontally. Use the exemplars stacked on top of each other as a base for decorations. These can be boxes or candlesticks.
  • Do not push the books against the back wall of the bookcase. Move them more forward, to the front edge of the shelf. This will give the bookcase a uniform look and prevent dust from settling on its surface. 
  • Large, heavy books and objects look best on the lower shelves: art albums, encyclopedias, boxes, and storage baskets. Place lighter items, softcover books and small formats uppermost. This way the bookcase looks firmly fixed and does not overwhelm.
  • For storing small publications such as magazines, brochures or postcards, you can use baskets that match the style of the room. They will allow you to keep things neat and organized, while enhancing its character. 
  • The shelves of a bookcase do not have to yield only to books. Interior designers recommend mixing items to create a diverse and interesting arrangement. Family photos in a frame, personal souvenirs from travels, and colorful glassware work best.

An orderly bookcase means all your favorite tomes is at your fingertips, and an aesthetically pleasing bookcase can become the highlight of your apartment that you will be particularly proud of. It’s sure to provoke your guests into discussion more than once. So whether you're a bookworm or you're more concerned with order in your home, it's always a good idea to ingeniously arrange your book collection.