3 easy ways to organize a bookshelf
Whether you’re a true bibliophile or just an occasional reader, chances are you have a bookcase or bookshelf in your home. So how to make that area both stylish and functional? Here are three simple ways to tame your tomes—pick the one best suited for you:
For the Design-Minded
If your books are stored in a public room—like the living room or den—you may care primarily about how your collection looks on the shelves. Try organizing your books by color. First, pick shades that will complement the room. (Don’t be afraid to remove book jackets that are not aesthetically appealing to display the prettier spine underneath.) Arrange the books from light to dark or vice versa—whatever looks best to you!
Whether you organize by color or not, the key to lovely-looking bookshelves is to avoid packing in the books too tightly. Instead, leave some space between the stacks and add in a few objects: a vase, a piece of pottery, or a framed photo. Because books are all square-shaped, include other shapes too, so that you create a balanced-looking display.
For the Uber-Organized
If you need your books handy (whether for reference or re-reading), the most important thing is that you be able to find them quickly. For this, I suggest organizing just like they do in bookstores—by author’s last name. However, if you have an easier time naming titles than authors, you may opt to alphabetize by title.
Another thought: Arranging books by genre. This works for me: I keep cookbooks in a spot close to the kitchen, about a dozen writing reference books on my desk, and my shelves have “memoir,” “biography,” and “fiction” sections.
And just because you’re opting to place your books this way doesn’t mean your display can’t look good as well. Remember to incorporate different shapes on your shelves to add visual interest.
For the Practical
We all have those books we’re constantly reaching for—in my case, it’s How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman—and then those, like a college modern poetry anthology, that we look at … less. So go ahead and put those rarely used books on the top shelves and keep your favorites easily reachable on the middle and bottom shelves. The last thing you want to do is have to haul out a stepstool to reach your favorite novel!