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  • I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time! It’s great see that this one turned out so well. Personally, I’ve always thought this would have the added benefit of making the books easier to find, as I typically remember what the book looks like above all else! :D

  • okay… so i love the look of the color coded library but honestly i don’t think this seems very functional. i have a very large library and all of the books are organized by category (travel, art, fiction etc) and then alphabetically in the section. it may not be ‘pretty’ but boy does it work well.

    is the color coding better for those with very small libraries or those who just have books more for looks rather than those who actually reference them often? just curious.

  • avid, i recently did little waves of color within each category. fiction moves from red to beige to black.
    travel does the same, etc. i don’t reference them often, but keeping them in categories made sense to me, too.

  • I just did this with my new wall-mounted bookshelves (you can see them here), and it makes an ENORMOUS difference in the feel of the room. About half of my books are in my dining room, and I cannot stand the visual clutter that my previous standard arrangement (category, author, etc.) created. I don’t keep CDs or DVDs within view (they are in the drawers below the bookshelved, actually!) for the same reason, but because I refer to my books constantly, I didn’t want to put them behind closed doors.

    I don’t foresee any problems with locating books in the future. Maybe it’s because I’m a book designer, but I tend to remember what the spines of my books look like, especially the main color.

    Also, a tip for Christine: Pull your books foreward and make their spines flush with each other. That creates a more unified, even look than pushing them all to the back of the shelf. Try it!

  • Avid, I tend to agree with you. As someone who actually loves text (that crazy miscellaneous stuff that sits between the colored covers) this color arranging seems just wrong.

  • It is pretty! Katey does have a lot of books, and it looks great! But for me personally, when books are more form than function is when they go to the recycling bin… Plus, the well-read image that a lot of books usually evokes is really diminished when they’re organized by color – calling attention to the fact that they’re for show. I’ve seen this idea propogated all over. Is there another way to beautify the bookshelves?

  • I think my main problem with the before was the various electronics and wires all over the place. Just fixing that up would have made a big difference in my opinion.

  • Sort of related…
    I have a couple of Umbra Conceal bookshelves in my living room. To simplify the look, I turned all of my just jackets inside out…. so they’re all white. These are my favorite, often referenced books (only about 10). I recognize them by their shape.

  • I like my books to fit both my form and function needs so I’ll agree with avid d*s reader and color sort them within my existing categories. Is it wrong that I also sort by height instead of by author? :)

  • Manny, I have to take exception to your statements regarding books being for show or form rather than content. I am an avid, lifelong reader, and throughout the course of my career (which began in book merchandising and for the past decade has been in book cover design) I have amassed a very large number of books — the same can be said for my husband. Yes, I weed out books which hold no meaning for me (they go to the Goodwill), but the keepers have to go somewhere, and I might as well address their storage in an aesthetically pleasing manner. I have no need for my dining room to give off a well-read image! I do understand what you’re saying, but I can assure you that organizing books by color does not in any way diminish the importance of their contents. (In a library or store, perhaps, but not at home.)

  • I noticed what Joe did, the books don’t seem to be the same books. So how can it be a before and after shot?

  • it’s the same bookcase before and after a rearrange. obviously some new books made it into the mix (and some left) to play up the colors but it’s still the same piece.

    when magazines and designers do a “before and after” they normally add and subtract some pieces for the new look. it doesn’t imply that all of the same pieces are there or that nothing new was added.


  • The only reason I think it’s funny is because the article is specifically about rearranging your books to get a certain effect. It seems weird that one wouldn’t use the same books before and after to show precisely what kind of result can be gotten. Issuing an “after” photo with entirely different books than the “before” photo is misleading at the least.

    I’d hate to think somebody went out and bought a few pink books to complete their pink shelf. Roffle.

  • Joe

    That’s exactly what she’s doing. She’s rearranging her book collection, the books on the shelf weren’t her only books in the house.

    She didn’t buy any new ones, she just selected books from her existing collection to complete the look. I certainly wouldn’t condone buying pink books just to have a pink section on your shelf, but if they’re in your collection I think it’s fine to move them around to create a specific look.


  • Wow, that looks great! I’m glad she was able to find a new home for her more colorful books :) I’ve been telling my husband that we have to do this, too…we just need more books first!

  • i LOVE it – and I am so glad that others were inspired by my bookcase – i put it together in a crazy nesting phase while pregnant.

    and just to note – i love books – i know mine so well that color-coded or not, i know where everything is! ;)

  • To make it even neater I always recommend pulling all the books to the front of the shelf. Or at least in a straight line with all the spines aligned inside of the shelf if you want some space to display items infront of the books.

  • Eeek! I did this to my books (and, for some reason, all my cds too!) back when I was a teenager. I thought it looked like a lovely rainbow…. but after a couple of months it was annoying me so I went back to categorising by subject/ style.

    Not sure why but the arranging my colour novelty didn’t quite ‘work’ on a practical level.

  • I’m not a fan of books arranged by colour, but I think I might give it a whirl with our CDs (I too can remember doing it as a dorky teenager)- we have gazillions that are never in any sort of order. I think that since the boxes are all a uniform size and shape (for the most part) they’ll lend themselves well well to a colour arrangement. It will most likely bring great shame to my muso boyfriend though.

  • I can’t believe this post is so controversial! I like my books (and DVDs) arranged roughly by color – I also take into consideration topic… and height. It makes sense to me, and I find that it greatly reduces visual clutter.

  • as someone who has so many books, she’s embarrassed to ask friends to help her move … this is a tempting project. i’ll just have to get over my genre sorting issues.

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