Try these bookshelf organizing tips and turn your library from drab to fab!
The first step to reorganizing your library is to declutter. A library crammed up with books you haven't read (in a decade!) is not visually appealing. Remember that the key to reorganizing is to think minimalist - less is more. Consider every book you have and how often you read them. If you have no use for them, give them away, or they are better off being in your basement doing what they do best - gathering dust.
After decluttering, start the process of transforming your library by doing a clean sweep of your shelves. Take down everything and start rearranging them all over again according to your new theme. It may seem tedious but trust the process. You won't regret it when you've finished your work of art.
Books are not the only things that should be sitting on your shelves. Put in objects such as framed family photos, little vases (with flowers), statement bowls (with items in them), wood pieces, glass pieces, coloured glass, souvenirs from your travels, metal pieces and propped-up plates to create some variety. Pick objects that match your room's colour pattern.
Colour can be one way to bring some order to your bookshelves if you are not using a referencing system for your library. You can arrange books by colour, which helps detract from the clutter. So how do you swing this? One way is to arrange books from dark to light colours from bottom to top. Place dark-coloured books (navy, charcoal and black) on the bottom shelves and white or light-coloured books on the top shelves, with the very bright-coloured ones in the middle. Make sure this rainbow arrangement blends with your room's colour pattern.
ALPHABET OR GENRE
Organizing your bookshelves alphabetically by name of author or genre may not be as visually pleasing as doing so by colour. Nonetheless, it is the most practical if you have a lot of books and need to reference them frequently. However, if your selection is exhaustive, you need to rearrange it alphabetically by author.
WORK WITH ODD NUMBERS
If you are going to decorate your shelves with objects, you need to think visually in odd numbers. A typical example of doing this is if you are adding in vases. Use one tall vase, a medium round one and a small wide one. Alternatively, you can opt for three objects with the same colour but different textures. Bunch them together and when arranging them on the shelves, do so in a zigzag formation (so that they are not in line).
HARDBACKS VS. PAPERBACKS
To balance out the look of your library, separate your hardbacks from the paperbacks. Put the hardbacks on the bottom shelves and the paperbacks at the top. That way, your library looks more organized. Besides, it evens out the weight on the shelves because hardcovers are heavier than paperbacks.
Layering the items on your shelves will give it a sense of height and make it more interesting. You can do this by piling up books and putting a candlestick on top of the pile. Or you can layer the objects on your shelves. For instance, you can layer a small framed artwork in front of a large framed black and white photo or abstract.
You can use baskets on your shelves to store stuff or decorate. Baskets give your shelves texture and interest. And because they come in all shapes, sizes and textures, you have a variety to choose from. There is wicker, raffia, baskets with lids and graphic printed ones.
THE TWO-THIRDS RULE
Prevent cramming on your shelves by filling up each two-thirds full. That leaves you the room you can leave empty or put an object or two. When you look at your library, you don’t want it to have that sense of being over the top; that’s why you need to create space.
WORK WITH HEIGHT
Organising books by height also gives your library visual appeal. One way to do this is to arrange books in a ‘Z’ pattern. How do you do this? On your top shelf, place tall books on the left and short books on the right. Do the reverse of this arrangement on the shelf beneath – tall books on the right and short books on the left. Continue with this pattern till you reach the last shelf.
- You can also opt for placing your books in front to meet the edge of the bookshelf rather than pushing them behind. It will give your library an even look and prevent dust from gathering at the edge of bookshelves when you leave spaces in front of books.
- Put heavier objects like art books and décor on the bottom shelves and lighter ones like paperbacks at the top.
ADOPT THE BOOK STACK
Be a bit unconventional with your arrangement. You don’t always have to rearrange books vertically. You can try the 70-30 rule - arrange 70% of books vertically and 30% horizontally. Books arranged horizontally can be used as stands for objects, as a way of layering.
HAVE A BACKDROP
Give your bookshelves a backdrop. There are two ways of pulling this off. You can put up wallpaper or paint the back of the bookshelves.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THEMES!
Always have a theme in mind when stacking objects on bookshelves. It can be colours, subject matter, places, or texture. The things you put up do not need to blend. Once they are selected based on a particular theme, they will always compliment each other, which gives your bookshelves that aesthetic appeal.
USE A BOOKSTAND
You will always have favourites among all that pile of books in your library and what you can do to showcase them is to put them on a bookstand. Make it a point to have a fave on display every month.
Check out Ikea for more library organizing ideas.
With time, your library will change as you and others use it. Take a pic of it to remind you of the new look just in case you need to rearrange.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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