Books

Ten spectacular and easy ways to arrange your books

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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We often find ourselves looking at the books on your shelves proudly, like they're our friends. They have taken us on amazing journeys, we've snuggled up with them in bed and even cried into them. And there is nothing more satisfying than arranging those tomes in the most perfect way possible.

As Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges' put it in his 1960s book Dreamtigers: "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library". From arranging your books in colour order to stacking them in unusual ways, we look at ten exciting displays that prove, organising your books doesn't have to be as uniform as the alphabet.

Divide into light and dark

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Good and bad, heroes and villains - chances are your books tell stories of both. Why not take inspiration from this and group your books by light and dark (or white and colour) covers, arranging them on opposite sides of your shelf. Not only does it bring some order to your shelf, it makes a real statement.

Order by height

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There's nothing more frustrating than an odd over-sized tome throwing off the balance of your perfectly lined shelf. But here's the solution. Create some space on a chest of drawers or desk and arrange your books by size, whether it's ascending, descending or in the shape of a wave (as pictured). Instead of bookends, use a small stack of books to prop up your collection.

Turn books into side tables

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Stack those old coffee table books to form a table for an unusual lamp (as pictured), vase or ornament. It saves you money and it'll bring character to any room with plain white walls.

Hang small frames off bookshelves

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While hanging art over books might not be the most practical solution for often-used volumes, it's great use of space - especially when you can't drill holes into your rented apartment's walls - and adds lots of visual interest to bookshelves. If you have small shelves or a single shelf, opt for a small vintage mirror or framed illustrations.

Make a rainbow...

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If you have a very colourful home library, chances are your bookshelves look chaotic and cluttered, fighting against any textiles and art you have in the same room. But when they're organised by colour, it makes for a beautiful focal point and your shelf instantly looks more streamlined.

...or embrace colour blocking

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As an alternative to the rainbow effect, arrange books in groups of colour. If you don't have enough of a particular shade, cover books with wrapping paper and hand write the title of the book on the spine.

Be selective with the spines

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Squeeze books into odd empty spaces

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You may not have a fireplace (as pictured) but we can take note from how the space has been used. Books are a great way to fill those awkward hollows and corners in walls. It'll also put your Tetris skills to the test!

Accessorise shelves with ornaments

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This is a brilliant mix of books, accessories, and personal mementos to bring your personality into your bookcase. Start lining up your books on one side of your shelf, support the end with stack of two to four books, and arrange an ornament or candle on that stack. Repeat this on other shelves and even place a small frame and photograph in between piles.

Take to stacking wherever there's free space

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Don't dismiss piles and piles of books as clutter. When they're neat and they pop up in the most unexpected of places, they're just as charming as a bookcase.

(Words: Sejal Kapadia)

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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