Shelfie Time: Arranging Your Bookshelves

Do you have books? Then chances are you have a shelf or some form of arrangement strategy for your books. While you might have assumed (as I once did) that everyone arranges their books the same way, you’d be surprised how many ways to shelve your books there are!

Todays post is a round up of different ways that book lovers around the world arrange their shelves. Perhaps you’ll recognise your own strategy in here! Or be inspire to try something new…

I want to give a big thank you to the beautiful instagram accounts that allowed me to share their beautiful shelves with you today!

The Traditional

This style is by far the most orderly and logical on this list. Books are generally arranged on the shelf in alphabetical order. Either according to title, or more typically, by author.

This is the method used in libraries the world over, and it does make it very easy to locate your favourite book!

The Beautiful Chaos

Commonly found across the world this strategy involves shoving your books on the shelf. There may be an order, but it’s detectable only to you. Perhaps your shelves were once neat, but since gaining a few more titles over the years things have become a little…chaotic

I quite like the look of shelves like this. They seem to belong to vibrant souls who love books completely.

I was a big proponent of this strategy for a good few years, but I found it difficult to keep track of my books when they were arranged like this. However, the example above from @thehalycondaysofsummer shows that chaos can definitely be beautiful.

The Marie Kondo

Minimalism is a very popular lifestyle currently, and Marie Kondo’s strategies for decluttering took the world by storm last year.

If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo’s method, it is that you should only keep items that ‘spark joy’. Controversially she expressed that she believes a person should keep no more than 30 books.

While this upset a lot of book lovers, I can see the advantages of her point. Books take up a lot of space! Whilst I will be keeping more than thirty books, I have been more conscious of letting go of books I didn’t enjoy or won’t be rereading.

The neatly arranged shelves appeal to me aesthetically, but I just can’t commit to only thirty books. Particularly when I enjoy long book series – a third of my quota would just about be taken up by Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series alone!

The Backward Books

I recently discovered that many people shelve their books with the pages, rather than the spines facing out. Neutral and pretty I this is aesthetically pleasing, fitting into any home’s colour scheme.

That’s probably why it’s a popular shelf style used by interior designers. It is beautiful.

I personally would be confused when looking for a particular book. As an occasionally forgetful and impatient person, this would get frustrating fast. But goodness, it does look nice.

The Rainbow Shelf

This is a fun and bright method of shelving your books. Instead of shelving according to traditional methods such as alphabetically by title or author, books are shelved by colour.

Critics of this style can’t stand having to break up books in a series. However, if you can never remember the title of the book, only that ‘It’s blue with some flowers on its’, this might be the style for you!

Popular with bookish instagram accounts (Bookstagrammers) for it’s eye-catching vibrancy this is a fun shelf style to attempt. Variations include pastel shelves, white shelves or rainbow shelves.

Final Thoughts

Which style do you like? How do you arrange your books? Comment on this post and let me know. I don’t know about you, but after putting together this blog post I want to go and rearrange my books!

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Until next week,

Happy reading!


  1. Virginia says:

    Steph, I use several styles for different shelves (the study with floor to ceiling shelves? guest room that hosts two big sets of shelves? bedroom, with 3 sets of shelves? book piles under bed?) I organize by topic, then try for alphabetical order by author. Otherwise books play hide and seek with me!👀📚👀📚👀


    1. Hi Virginia, thank you for reading today’s post and sharing about your shelves! They sound wonderful. I dream of having a study with floor to ceiling shelves one day, with a sliding ladder. I haven’t as yet succumbed to the book piles under the bed, but I do have a rather large, and teetering pile on my bedside table!


  2. In the past, I always went for alphabetical shelves, but our shelves are now based on the “put it in any free spot you can find” method.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! 😂 an effective and necessary method.


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