If there's one thing we'll never stop collecting, it's books—but as any avid reader knows, this habit can get messy pretty quickly. One book turns into a small pile, and that pile turns into several precariously-leaning towers. This is especially true for anyone whose collection of books far exceeds the square footage of their home, but your favorite reads can actually become one of the best design showcases in your space. The solution lies in stylish organization tricks and clever book storage ideas that allow you to keep your home library nice and tidy.
To make your reading nook reel like the magical, distraction-free oasis it was intended to be, explore book organizers and design inspiration alike: It's time to curl up with your favorite author.
If you're lucky enough to have built-in shelving, get creative with the ways you display your books. Break things up with stylish bookends, framed photos, and décor of varying heights to add dimension. Small touches can make your bookshelves look more personalized and special. For a minimalist look, display books with items of similar colors to keep things neutral while adding visual interest.
When you want to keep your wall space designated for artwork and windows, opt for low-to-the-ground storage instead. We love how this room uses a low console table to optimize storage while keeping things nice and neat. Place a cushion on top for extra seating or style a few statement pieces on its surface, then stack your books horizontally inside the cubbies.
If you have high ceilings like this room, consider using a wall unit that extends to the sky. The bedroom may not come to mind first when thinking of areas for a full-walled display, but by keeping the rest of the room's décor to a minimum, the bookshelves stand out as the focal point. For collections that don't entirely fill the space, save a shelf along the bottom for storage baskets and display artwork along a layer higher up.
If you have a collection or series of titles that come in matching hardcovers, stack them up next to an accent chair for an easy, laid-back aesthetic. This effortlessly-elegant room pairs sleek floors with a velvet chair alongside polished shelving. The simple stack of similar books adds interest to the corner without taking up much space—so the stars of the show can be prominently displayed in the built-in cabinetry.
For a dramatic effect, paint the trim and doors of your bookshelves the same color to keep things uniform. Add furniture in the same tone to maximize texture and make a range of décor stand out.
Stack It Up
If you're lacking shelving but have plenty of books to organize, stack them on a bench underneath a large piece of artwork. Arrange the titles by size (largest on the bottom) to create an overall shape with the completed style. Top your stacks with small decorative items, and complete the look with a tall indoor plant to exaggerate height.
Use the Walls
No matter how many nooks and crannies you utilize, sometimes there just isn't enough room to store all of your books. But that doesn't mean your belongings have to be strewn about your furniture and floors: Instead, think about ways to use your walls to make your living room feel larger and more organized. For something both stylish and functional, install a few wall-mounted shelves behind the sofa, and mix books with photographs and other décor to keep the effect interesting.
Indulge in Colors
Working with a library of brightly-colored covers and not sure where to start? Take inspiration from this living room, which embraces color like no other. Rather than being deterred by the variety in spines, this designer used it to their advantage by using pops of color throughout the room. An orange couch draws the eye to similar shades on the shelves, while smaller accents like a globe and patterned window shade carry the color across the space.
Display a Collection
So you're looking for a way to spice up your library of books with less-than-exciting spines? If you have a lengthy collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, or small titles, add some dimension to your bookshelves with graphic artwork, plants, and favorite finds. Keep things consistent for a tailored look, or get eclectic and have fun with it—like this cozy living room that uses the bottom shelf for firewood to emit a cabin vibe.
Mix in Serveware
When it comes to storing your cookbooks, floating shelves in the kitchen are the way to go. Open shelving saves valuable cabinet space for cookware, and it also leaves the line of sight open to book titles for pulling out your favorites mid-recipe. Give floating shelves a heightened sense of place by mixing some of your best serving pieces into the display, like the black vases and bowls styled in this minimalist kitchen: Your prized dinnerware will be hidden no longer.
Style the Coffee Table
The coffee table is an unsung hero for displaying prized titles with ease. Organize a few stacks to keep more books within reach, or simply choose a few favorites to style alone. Add dimension and height to the design with plants, unique vases, and other small items, like this simple bowl for keys to keep things organized.
Flip Books Backwards
For a true minimalist look, flip your books backwards to keep colors consistent. If you have a library filled with already-finished titles (or even those college textbooks you can't seem to get rid of), turning them around breathes new life into the collection without clashing up your design. Choose a bold shelving color to contrast your freshly-organized books, and accent darker colors with bright furniture and various materials throughout the room.
If you love the head-on look of white pages but still want to find your favorite books easily, arrange your library with spines facing up to read titles from above while keeping the forward view feeling sleek.
Add Dimension With Plants
A simple trick for styling stacks of books around the home is to add a small plant on top. Choose your favorite potted greenery, or add even more texture with a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers in a vase. Complete the look with larger floor plants and wall-mounted sconces, and keep your current reads on the bedside table for easy access when it's time to curl up with a new chapter.
If minimalism isn't your forté, you're not alone: This living room takes it to the max with bright tones and tall bookshelves filled with colorful titles. When more is more, every piece of décor can find its home within a room. When styling the shelves, this designer chose both horizontal and vertical books to maximize texture and create variety in shapes.
Match Neutral Covers
On the flip side, what's the best way to style an assortment of books without overwhelming a neutral palette? Color: This designer perfectly blended these built-in shelves with furniture around the room by choosing books with similar shades. Save your colorful titles for the more vibrant rooms in your home, and contrast ivory walls with natural hues along the shelves and in décor.
Don't Dismiss the Kitchen
When you've run out of room in the living room and bedroom but have plenty of usable space in the kitchen, don't second-guess whether it's the right environment for your books. Though a study or a cozy nook may seem like the obvious choice for your collection, this is actually a great way to add dimension to the kitchen or dining room. Tuck your books away in cupboards and cabinets, or put them on display in the island's side storage for easy access to your best recipes.
Play With Scale
In this modern living room, shape is everything. Rather than opting for standard shelves, the designer chose several different display boxes to hang at various heights along the wall. By mastering the scale, this space evokes a gallery wall style with storage solutions for books, mirrors, and prized items. Several wood tones further play on the mix-and-match design, while the inside of each box is organized in a clean, sleek manner to keep it feeling fresh.
Bookworms on a budget or in a cramped space, this one is for you: Get creative by using the furniture you already have. For example, sliding a chair or a handy side table up against the wall can help you prevent your books from collecting dust as they pile up on the floor. And even if it isn't a place to store all of your books, a makeshift side table can be a cool, unexpected place to organize your current reads with ease.
We can't get enough of this creative book lover's dream. Floating shelves make each stack feel effortless and airy as they climb along the wall, topped with unique globes for a worldly feel. The clever use of school desk chairs is a nostalgic statement—and even the furthest person from an "avid reader" could be inspired to pick up a childhood favorite in this colorful, inviting space.
Have Favorites Handy
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cut down on overwhelming collections of books by pulling your favorite recipe titles out. Display them directly on the kitchen counter for fast access between meals, and save that valuable cabinet space for essentials. When you have more than a few regular reads, opt for a simple wall shelf in the kitchen to organize multiple stacks.
Keep Reading On
Your library is organized, your shelves are styled, and your collection is perfected—but you're still going back to pull out your current read. When all is said and done, turn your last remaining book into a design element by using it as a piece of laid-back décor. Leaving this title open on the table invites the reader to jump back in for the next chapter, eager to turn another page.