Looking for budget-friendly and aesthetic ways to organize your books? I’ve got a creative solution for you. I devised a practical organization system to display my books in my mini-library in under 30 minutes. In this post, I will show you how this little organization trick can add some ‘wow’ to any bookshelf!
My favorite space at home is my reading nook. All my books are tucked in small cubby shelves in an electric fireplace TV stand my husband built. The books are fairly easy to find and reach, but after a couple of years of ignoring the shelves and adding more books to the collection, it was time to organize it and make it look a bit tidier.
Here’s a wide-angle picture of the reading nook and the TV stand in 2019, a few months after our master bedroom makeover. The bookshelves weren’t nearly as cluttered as they are today.
Here’s how the cubbies look today. At first sight, they don’t look disorganized, but they do look cluttered! My type-A personality urged me to develop a better organization system for the bookshelves. I wanted to display the books on the shelf in an aesthetic way that would also make it easier to read their titles.
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Aesthetic Ways to Organize a Bookshelf
My main goal was to find an aesthetic way to organize my bookshelves. Here’s the small but mighty plan I devised to achieve that.
- Add height and dimension to each cubby to eliminate the look of a flat pile of books and add interest to each bookshelf.
- Declutter and then organize the books in an order that made sense to me. I didn’t follow any rules. I know my books, and I can spot any title easily. At least for now!
- Display my collection of LIFE magazines on the top left cubby, using the wasted space. They were hidden inside the baskets.
- Add decorative and aesthetic items to add visual interest without cluttering the bookshelves or blocking the books.
Organizing books inside cubbies can be challenging because of their long depth and lack of dividers. This organization system I came up with is worth sharing, and I hope it inspires you to organize your book collection, too!
How to Add Dimension to Your Books Display
To add dimension and interest to the deep and tall cubbies, I searched high and low for wooden inserts I could add to them. It wasn’t easy to find something that could fit inside the cubbies, but finally, I settled for two sets of these mini floating shelves in white.
Each set comes with three shelves in sizes small, medium, and large. They are super light-weight, and I personally would not hang them on the wall. They definitely work better as a desktop shelf or riser. With that said, they are perfect for my book organization plan which was to use them as risers to add height and some interest to my book’s display.
Once your books are sorted, place them on the cubby shelves. You can stack or place them side by side, depending on the size of your shelves and books.
Use the floating shelves to display books that you want to highlight. You can also use wood risers to create different levels on your shelves, which will help to add visual interest.
Organize Books in a Way That Makes Sense to You
You can organize your books based on collection size and personal preference. Ultimately, the arrangement of your books depends on personal preferences, such as which books you want most accessible or which organizational method works best for you. As I mentioned before, my main goal was to find an aesthetic and eye-pleasing way to organize each bookshelf. I also tried my best to sort my books by author, series, and genre.
Organizing Books By Author
My favorite author of all time is Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. I read his bestseller The Alchemist when I was 21, and I firmly believe that as a young adult, the story shaped my mind, and I learned to see life in a new and fantastic way. I can’t recommend it enough! Pretty much since then, I’ve purchased and read many of his books. He’s written several more I have yet to read.
I fell in love with the Outlander series and even own three copies of the first book, including a rare 2nd edition that I found at a Goodwill store.
Organizing Books By Genre
You might notice a theme in my small library and that is my favorite genre is religion and spirituality. To me, reading is a form of meditation. Reading slows down my racing thoughts and is soothing for my mind and soul. Adding a layer of spirituality and positivity to your reading enhances the experience tenfold.
In 2018 I read Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly and I loved it so much, that I purchased the audiobook, and have listened to it twice! Matthew Kelly is another great author I follow. I follow recommendations by Father Mike Smichtz and Ascension Press, and also recently purchased The Chosen novels and devotional books.
On the opposite side, I organized my business reference books and other novels; as well as my collection of LIFE magazines.
No matter how you choose to organize your small book collection, the most important thing is to do it in a way that makes sense to you and that you enjoy looking at. That’s what I did!
How to Avoid Wasted Space on Bookshelves
I arranged my books on the shelf risers to give height to shorter books. This allowed me to place some books in the back and some in the front without blocking most of the titles. There is even enough space left for some decor pieces like a small faux plant and a clock.
I keep my laptop inside a large Fabric Storage Box in the top left cubby. It’s the perfect way to hide it while it is still accessible near my chair/reading nook.
But when I placed the heavy box in the cubby, I realized I was wasting precious space for more books! By adding a large riser, I am able to store and display my LIFE magazines in the same cubby. Use the slider to see the before and after!
Adding Decorative Items to Bookshelves
Lastly, after assessing my collection, choosing which books to display (and which ones to store inside the baskets) and adding the risers to the cubbies, it was time to decorate.
To make your book collection uniquely yours, add personal touches like decorative bookends, small potted plants, or framed art pieces. These elements can enhance the overall aesthetic of your bookshelf.
It didn’t take much to decorate my bookshelves. I either had room to display most of my books or for decor. I wanted the book collection to stand out. So I only displayed three decorative items. Two faux plants and a clock.
I made sure the decorative pieces were short so they wouldn’t cover the books, or at least only a small part of them. The risers definitely helped achieve that.
Keeping Your Bookshelves Clutter-Free
While working on this project, I decluttered and also rotated some books. I stored books I have already read and do not need to revisit, as well as some journals, workbooks, and book companions inside the baskets.
The storage baskets are a good option to store books you do not necessarily want to display, but you want to keep accessible in the same area or near your reading nook.
Remember, the key to small space organization is to keep things clutter-free. Regularly go through your collection and consider donating or gifting books you’ve already read or no longer wish to keep. This will ensure that your bookshelves remain both functional and visually pleasing.
Additional Tips For Organizing Books on Cubby Shelving Units
Here are some additional tips for organizing your small book collection on cubby shelves:
- Use clear acrylic risers to make your books more visible.
- Group books by size to create a more cohesive look.
- Add some personal touches to your shelves, such as plants, figurines, or photos.
- Make sure to dust your shelves regularly to keep them looking their best.
With a little planning, you can easily organize your small book collection on cubby shelves in a way that is neat, tidy, and organized. And with the help of floating shelves and risers, you can also create a display that is both functional and stylish.
Maintaining a Tidy Book Collection
Maintaining your organized book collection is just as important as setting it up. Dust your shelves regularly, and be mindful of any changes in your collection that may require rearranging.
With these steps, you can transform even the tiniest of spaces into a delightful haven for your beloved books. Cubby shelves and risers are a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution for organizing your book collection. So go ahead, create your own little reading nook and enjoy your favorite books and stories in style!