Most Classics like me don’t have a ton of books. Smart Structures are the type that most often collect (and read) a lot of books and are described as bibliophiles. As the daughter of a Smart Structure, I grew up surrounded by books, so no home seems complete to me without a lot of them around. But, books can frequently look messy and unkempt and I long for them to look like this catalog cover. Today, a couple of ways to make your bookshelves gleam no matter what your type. 

There are a few tips to glean from todays Crate and Barrel photo. First, they’ve coordinated the books by color. Second, they’ve removed the jacket covers. Third, they’ve arranged the books both vertically and horizontally. It’s a variation for the eyes and also sometimes helps fit in the books that are too tall for the shelves. Fourth, there are not a ton of small paperbacks. 

The first tip will be easiest for Organic Freedoms to accept because color coordinating often means not having a logical order. Initially, Organic Structures, Classics and Funs will have trouble with the unorthodoxy of organizing topical books by color. BUT, you will adore the way it looks and will readily remember the new homes of each book. Kate makes her bedroom books monochromatic white by turning them around so the spines face in (this is NOT for any other type beyond perhaps Organic and Smart Freedoms).

Smart Structures are the ones who are going to insist on organizing their books in a logical way. Therefore the color trick isn’t for you. But, removing the jacket covers IS something that you can do as well as laying books vertically and horizontally. Classics might not initially think to do this but it’s what makes bookshelves look amazing in magazine photos along with adding knickknacks here and there (keeping in mind color & theme while coordinating things.) Finally, paperbacks … they’re not meant to last forever and therefore are not meant to be a part of your permanent collection, which means that they belong in a basement, in a hospital waiting room, etc. or the trash after you’re done reading them. Completely biodegradable.

Organizing functioning bookshelves: The Dewey Decimal system is for full time libraries. Organic Structures and Smarts will do best by maintaining broad book categories. Classics and Funs can do this as well but might actually take the time be more specific and do authors alphabetically within each category. Remember that bookshelves are living and breathing things so unless you’re able to part with books when you bring in new ones, make sure you have extra space on bookshelves for incoming material.