When arranging books on shelves you want to organize them in a way that makes the most sense, that is to organize them according to some criteria so the book you are looking for is easy to find. But there is a lot more than this to arranging your books. You also want to make sure the end result is visually appealing and that it adds to the overall decoration and mood of the room. Here are the steps I suggest you take to accomplish this task and have the result be an efficient system that also showcases your style and personality.
1. Sort by Color
If you’re going for a look that is clean and soft on the eyes you probably want to start your project here. The first step is sorting your books by the predominant color on the cover and back of the book, then group these books together following a color scheme. This harmonious system brings a feeling of systematic organization to the room and it’s strangely soothing.
2. Sort in Alphabetical Order
Once you have your groups sorted out by colors you will want to arrange them in alphabetical order as you place them on your shelves. This is a very logical way to sort our books, one we learn early on at the school library. But somehow most people seem to forget or skip this step. Sorting your books alphabetically is extremely efficient and makes finding a particular title a breeze.
3. Stack by Size
This step comes in handy when dealing with a lot of hardcover editions and larger size books, such as photography books or other types of visual content books. You can play with the direction of your display and stack them vertically or horizontally, either way this will create harmony and visual interest. You’re now ready for the last step.
By now your books are arranged on your shelves using the steps described above. It’s time to take a step back and look at the space distribution and notice those blank spaces where you can add some accessories to let your personal style shine through. Perhaps some bookends that reflect your style, or a small plant strategically placed. You may be tempted to display all the souvenirs you ever got on your travels, but I strongly caution against this impulse. You can have a little fun with your accessories, but keep in mind that sometimes less is more.
As always, I love sharing my ideas with you. 2020 found many of us sheltering in place and turning to books to deal with the new normal. It’s easy to place books here and there as we read them and postpone finding the right place for all those new books we collected during the pandemic year. If this sounds familiar block some time on your calendar and print the steps above to help you curate your bookshelves like a pro. Don’t forget to share your before and after photos, along with your comments, below.
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