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The Organized Bookcase

Bookcases can be beautiful focal points in a room or they can become the eyesore. They are a great opportunity to show off your collections, display artwork or to actually keep all of your books organized. Here are a few simple rules to a more organized bookcase that are sure to give your friends and family bookcase envy.

Aim for Balance NOT Symmetry:

The key is balance, but not necessarily symmetry. Using coordinating objects, materials, colors, etc.; you’ll create a more unified look. Varying heights and shapes should be grouped in visibly appealing ways. Remember to step back from your bookshelf as you go to make sure that you’re maintaining that balance.


Pulling together similar objects, themes, shapes and/or colors will keep it from looking like a catchall for tchotchkes. Visually it will be more pleasing to the eye and your “collectibles” will start to look more like decorative elements. Use baskets or glass jars to showcase smaller items.

Put Bigger Items On Display

A wise woman once told me, “I am only buying things for the house that are bigger than my butt.” Brilliant advice! This size object can stand alone, while anything smaller can get lost on a shelf. As noted above grouping smaller items with other like objects can create the illusion of a larger piece of art.


People can get hung up on grouping books by color and size (cough cough choke…me…choke). It doesn’t need to look so uniform. You can get more playful by putting some books vertically and resting some on their sides. They don’t need to be grouped by both size and color, but often times it does look nice to do one or the other.

Experiment With Backgrounds:

Think about adding a paint color, or wallpaper to the inside back of your bookshelf to make it standout more. Using a paint shade a few colors deeper than your walls blends nicely, but gives it a “done by a decorator” feel. Wallpaper is a little more daring, but can add life to a bookcase that needs a little revving up. Another option is to add a mirror, as it adds some depth to a shallow bookshelf.


Not only can you layer it in on the shelves, but a new trend that we’re seeing is to hang artwork directly in front of a shelf. This works best when you have a fairly large bookcase, especially one that runs along an entire wall. Not only does it look really cool, it can also hide a shelf of clutter, not that you have any.

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