Rating My Bookshelf Designs

For a long time, I had to stack books on top of my dresser. It’s not the… best?? I guess it kind of worked, but my dresser goes up to maybe a bit below my shoulders, and after stacking piles upon piles of books on there, I ran into the issue of being too short. Well, there were plenty of other inconveniences (like having to undo entire piles for one book) and I resorted to stacking books in my closet. And then I got more books, so I had to add them to my dresses again and. Well. The point remains. I was in dire need of a bookshelf.

So I got one! Yay! Then it was organization time. My books went through various stages of organization, and I think I’ve kind of settled on a system at this point? Of course, it’s inevitably going to change in two days, but. I mean. Progress?

The Ratings:

1. Rainbow Order

Aesthetics-⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5

I was smitten from the moment I saw this idea while scrolling through Pinterest. I was in love with how gorgeous it looked, and new I needed it immediately because. Pretty book photos? Sign me up. I think the only reason I give it a 4.5 is simply because I’m not as obsessed anymore? I’m more into bits of decoration + fairy lights so my love has faded slightly, but it’s still gorgeous.

Functionality- ⭐⭐⭐ 2.5

As wonderful as this was, and as much as I loved this, there was the issue of not being able to find anything… honestly I probably would’ve gotten used to it if I’d just stuck with it longer. But. I didn’t. I mean I knew the general vicinity in which to look (oh, this book is orange I think! oh wait no. the spine is an entirely different color) but it wasn’t the best for me personally because my memory is terrible. And because all my book series got split up and it was starting to get annoying to have to look for them.

Overall, if you’re focusing on aesthetics more, go for it. It looks wonderful. But, if you have the same issues as I do, maybe try something else.

2. By Genre

Aesthetics-⭐⭐⭐ 3

I think my books are pretty, and that’s the reason I’m giving this a 3. Overall it didn’t look that amazing together? Like it wasn’t mind blowing or anything, and I wasn’t completely in love with it from a visual standpoint. It looked okay because the books looked fine together, but it didn’t have the “make me want to read” effect I was going for so this one also ended up being redone.

Functionality- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5

Everything was so easy to find, it was beautifully organized, and it only took a few seconds to get to my genre of choice. And, well, my book of choice. I think not liking the visuals of this as much takes away from how wonderfully simple it was. I liked the system, not the style.

I’d recommend this if you’re prioritizing functionality. It’s an easy way to find what you want to read quickly and there’s a lot of freedom with placement.

3. I don’t know how to title this.

Basically, my systems fell apart because I wasn’t very attached. My bookshelf has been organized into:

  1. Currently Reading
  2. Reading for this month
  3. Books I’m borrowing
  4. Reread these
  5. Everything else

And while it makes sense and I kind of like it, I’m in the mood to switch things up again so reorganizing time!!

Aesthetics-⭐⭐⭐ 2.5

The uh. Looks. Not great. Not because of the covers or anything, but because I’d literally stack books on shelves and expect it to be fine. I don’t know what I was doing, I was tired, okay. Bam. Justified. Yeah, I could’ve just put the books properly, and made it seem a bit coherent, organized, good. But no. It looked terrible, but the functionality was decent?

Functionality- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4

I give this a four because there’s a .5 deduction for having to look at the mess I created, and a .5 deduction for the fact that it was literally stacked. Not even stacked nicely!! Like. I couldn’t even see the spines of some books. That being said, I liked that it was systematic. It was fairly easy to find things, and it kept me on track for what I was planning to read, kept me from the potential of losing library books, etc.

With better execution, this idea could’ve worked. And yes, by that I mean if I hadn’t done it at 2 am and refused to turn on the lights for… reasons beyond my comprehension. I do like this system to an extent, but I wish I’d done it better.

Dream Bookshelf Plans

I think after making this, I have a pretty decent idea of what I want my bookshelf to have, so uh. Yeah. List time. Yayy lists!!

  1. Organized, perhaps using the last system mentioned. However, I want this to be done better.
  2. Fairy lights for sure. Yes, I am aware I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with them but they make everything look better and you can’t convince me otherwise.
  3. Little objects/ fake plants cause I like the look
  4. Perhaps a bit of color organization?? But I don’t really want to split up the series
  5. Get a second bookshelf because rethinking through all of this, I don’t have enough space…

What’s the worst way/ best way you’ve organized your bookshelf? Particularly best way so I can steal your ideas Do you prefer aesthetics or functionality? Let’s Chat in the comments!

35 thoughts on “Rating My Bookshelf Designs

    1. Same!! Living in a room of books is the dream. I’m in the middle of reorganization currently, so i’m not sure my bookshelf even qualifies for having stars lol

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  1. I never understood why the rainbow method would be bad for functionality until I acquired more books (I have way too many now!). I’d love to organize my shelves that way someday just to experience it for myself, but yes, that would mean having to hunt for the books I’m looking for.

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    1. Yeahhh! At first it was working wonderfully, and then I bought over 20 books… it no longer worked very well. I kept getting really confused because I’d gotten so used to looking at the covers, and then the spines turned out to be a different color… Maybe if I was more dedicated things would’ve worked out?

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      1. It’s in an… in between stage of sorts right now. I’m attempting to redecorate, so it’s kind of a mess and looks terrible??? I’ve experimenting with different things, deciding I hate them, and redoing the shelf. So hopefully it’ll be done sometime this year…

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  2. Honestly, the only organization method I’ve ever tried for my personal bookshelf is the last one, so this was helpful. That method works well for me, and I don’t really care about making it look aesthetic, because I think looking at books put on a bookshelf neatly is already very pleasing. My personal bookshelf probably only has like 40 books, but we have a main bookshelf, too. For that, we organize by genre, just because everything is easier to find, and it works pretty well. I’m tempted to try the rainbow thing, but I don’t think it’ll be very easy to find books.
    Wow, this is a long comment.

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    1. We love long comments ❤ And yess the third is my favorite organization wise, but I think I just like to have my room look a certain way since I spend most of time here, so having organized, pretty things around me makes me feel more comfortable. I like organizing by genre the best if it's a larger bookshelf, but mine isn't that big (considering it's my first and I'll likely get another) so the third method works best for me. Yeah, finding books wasn't super easy with sorting it by rainbow order, but I did like the looks of it and I think I may've gotten used to it if I'd stuck with it longer?? But I honestly have no idea.

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  3. I’m a genre person all the way! Or, actually, a genre-and-author person – I can’t deal with books by one author not being grouped together, so I’ve put in a ton of work to ensure that my books are ordered in such a way that authors who write in multiple genres are exactly at the boundaries between them on my shelves. I am very proud of this 🤣

    I also think that rainbow shelves look very pretty, but they’re definitely not my thing. Having to split up series would drive me nuts! 🤯 Plus, I’m a huge mood reader, so I like the fact that, when I suddenly get the urge to, say, read middle-grade fantasy with animal protagonists, I can just stand infront of that section on my shelves and see everything they have to offer.

    Also, I think what makes things a bit easier for me is that I don’t have worry about sorting my books into read and unread ones. I usually read my new books immediately, so my TBR-pile thankfully fits perfectly well on my bedside cabinet – my shelves are only for things I’ve already read 🥰 And a few knick-knacks such as owl figurines, which you can never have enough of! 😂

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    1. Oooh! I’ve never tried grouping by authors before, though that sounds wonderful and I definitely want to give it a try. Yess you should be proud, that is perfection and I need to figure out how to do that immediately.

      I honestly thought I would be fine with the rainbow shelf thing, but I got fed up so fast. Also, yeah, the splitting up series was painful to do, but at least it looked nice??? I agree, it’s so wonderful to be able to easily find anything I want just by looking at a particular section and seeing my options. That’s why I think I’d like to stick with more of a by genre kind of thing, VS focusing completely on aesthetic.

      My room always turns into a giant mess and I panic when I can’t find books, so I like keeping them on my shelf. I do adore knick-knacks, I feel like they can add a personal touch to your shelves and I love that. I also kind of want plants?? But fake ones, because I doubt I could keep anything alive. 😂😂

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      1. I also love having plants on my bookshelf! Though in my case, they’re actually real ones – my friends were smart enough to give me some that don’t need to be watered that often, so despite my horrendous plant-caretaker skills, they’ve survived for several years now 🤣 If I can do it, I’m sure you can, too!

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  4. This was such a wonderful post to read! I have the rainbow order, and aesthetic wise, it’s great! That being said, I’m considering altering my bookshelf organization since I’m pretty bored with it. Definitely thinking of adding fairy lights as well; I feel like it’d look divine!

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    1. Thank you!! ❤ Yess I'm in love with fairy lights they somehow make everything look prettier?? Reorganizing bookshelves is always wonderful ❤ and yess the rainbow order is gorgeous, I just struggled so much with finding things that I quit using the system.

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  5. hjcxhhfdhj HOW ARE ALL OF YOUR POST IDEAS SUCH PERFECTIONS??? i LOVE this ok?? also bookshelf organization talk IS FABULOUS AND THE BEST EVER AND I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS?!! my bookshelf organization would be…. a 0 star?? because i kind of dont have one (EXCEPT HUGE SHELVES FOR PAPERS AND SCHOOL BOOKS but its A MESS and probably not the best idea for proper, un-folded book corners SO) and keep all the books ON THE FLOOR so its always a mess like that and i have to search through the whole room to find anything AND IT LOOKS LIKE A MESS TOO so?? buuuuuut i love YOUR DREAM BOOKSHELF PLANS AND WISH TO ADOPT THEM SOMEDAY

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    1. ty 😭😭 omg my bookshelf organization has been so all over the place for so long that I decided to scream about it on the internet because clearly that’s the only reasonable thing to do in this situation. I HOPE U GET A BOOKSHELF SOON 😭😭 I HAVEN’T HAD ONE FOR YEARS AND I FINALLY GOT ONE AND IT’S THE BEST THING EVER!!! I STILL HAVEN’T FINISHED REORGANIZING BECAUSE SCHOOL IS EVIL AND LIKES TO TAKE UP ALL MY TIME 😭😭 AHHH yay if you ever do decide to decorate your shelves in the same way i would love to see them!! But yes the books need to be safe, and also oof keeping books on the floor is so difficult, I had my books like that when I was really young. It didn’t work out at all… so I bought a dresser to stack them on top of that!! Jkjk it was for the clothes! (kind of)

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  6. Ahahah I never really had a proper bookshelf until a year back as well, so I just used to pile my books up randomly on the floors ( it wasn’t very effective oof)
    AND YAYYY BOOKSHELVES ARE THE BEST!! I have one of my shelves organized in rainbow order and it’s so pretty!! I love all the colours ahah!!
    Your bookshelf honestly seems so organised ahhh( Mine is very literally a mess and I can’t find ANYTHING when I need to oops) AND YES OMG FAIRY LIGHTS ON BOOKSHELVES ARE THE BEST!! I have some up and it has a been a GAME CHANGER!!
    LOVED THIS!

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    1. Having a proper bookshelf is the best and I don’t know how i’ve gone so many years without one???
Omg yes rainbow order is gorgeous and I’m obsessed with it from a visual standpoint because it just looks so??? pretty?? and i want to stare at it forever??? but i can never find anything.
Right now my bookshelf is a huge mess because I’m trying to redecorate and keep my room clean simultaneously and it just. Doesn’t work.
YESS FAIRY LIGHTS ARE THE BEST!!!
TY!!!❤️❤️

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  7. This is such an interesting ranking! I tried rainbow organisation for a while, but I had the same problem as you–I could only remember the cover colour, not spine, haha. I’ve found organising alphabetically within genre works best for me. Enjoy however you organise your books next!

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    1. Yesss I’ve spent so long seeing the covers, that when the spines are a different color it completely throws me off and sometimes I think I’ve lost a book. Alphabetically sounds wonderful, I think I might give that a try! Thank you!! ❤

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      1. Definitely! It looks beautiful, but rainbow is hard to use, aha. Alphabetically within genre helps me deal with the fact that my bookcases aren’t set up next to each other, too, and I do get a rainbow effect that way–my fantasy bookcase is mostly dark, but my contemporary bookcase is very colourful!

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      2. Yes! Rainbow is incredibly pretty, but I struggle with it. I think i’m actually going to end up with something similar for my final bookshelf (dark spines/fantasy on one shelf, light spines/contemporary on the other shelf) because I have it set up in kind of an ombre thing right now?? (it’s a work in progress) and I like the look of it.

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