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Should I Organize My Books by Color?

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Your bookcase is not just a place where the books you’ve collected reside. It’s also an area to showcase all the words and knowledge you’ve consumed over the years. But within the interior design community, there is a discourse in terms of how you should properly organize your books. So how should you organize them? Should you organize them by color? 

Organizing your books by color is a well-established trend, but there are many differing opinions on the matter. Some people might view this type of organization as favoring style over substance. Meanwhile, others see it as an aesthetically pleasing way to show off all the books they’ve collected. 

In this article, we’ll be going in-depth into the pros and cons of organizing your books by color and how to successfully organize your books by color if you choose to do so. If you’re interested in learning more, keep on reading.

Old books on a shelf sorted by color.

Get more tips for decorating the home here.

Pros of Organizing Your Books by Color 

There are many benefits to organizing your books in this fashion.

Besides being visually pleasing, organizing your books by color is a great way to easily find your books. Below, we’ll go more in-depth into the pros of separating your books by color.  

Looks Aesthetically Pleasing 

As we stated above, simply organizing your books by color and specific color hues gives your bookcase a fresh and clean look that is hard NOT to notice.

Taking the time to organize your books this way will leave you a visually stunning bookcase, and you’ll receive lots of compliments because of it. 

Giving your bookcase this pop will allow the room to become more vibrant and cheery.

Not only do you have a rainbow-categorized bookshelf that livens up the space, but your neatly organized books will also become a colorful piece of decor in your home. 

Easy Way to Find Your Books

While some might argue that organizing your books in this method makes it impossible to find your books, this isn’t the case for everyone. 

For those who are stronger visual thinkers, organizing your books by color is a great way to find your books faster.

For those who identify as more visual learners and thinkers, finding a book based on the color of the spine can be a lot easier than organizing by title or author name.

Visual thinkers may have an easier time remembering that the color of the book they’re looking for is blue instead of looking for the author’s name.

If you believe you’re more of a visual thinker, this method of organizing books may be exactly what you need. 

Enjoyable to Color Code 

Taking all your books down to color code them accordingly can be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity if you choose to do it. 

You can begin by removing all the books from their current home and arranging them on the floor by color.

You can then decide how you’d like to structure your books and what colors will go where. 

Will you start with white books and move your way down the color wheel into darker tones? Or will you do the exact opposite?

The choice is up to you, and it’s a fun way to put your creative spin on things. 

Cons of Organizing Your Books by Color  

While many enjoy a color-coordinated bookcase, there are still some cons associated with organizing your books this way.

Below, we’ll explore some of the reasons you may want to hold off on this organization method. 

You Won’t Be Able to Find Your Books Easily

We stated above how it might be easier to find your books if you’re more of a visual thinker.

If you’re more accustomed to finding your books through the author’s name and title, you may struggle to find the book you’re looking for in a sea of different colors.

While someone may have an easier time finding their favorite book with ‘the purple spine’, some may struggle to find what they’re looking for if the organization method is solely based on colors. 

This is something to consider when deciding how you’ll be organizing your books.

If you feel as if you’ll never be able to find the title you’re looking for with this method, it may not be for you.

But, let’s be honest. Most people don’t organize their personal home bookshelves by author or title anyway.

Shelves Need to Be Updated More Frequently

If you’re someone who is constantly bringing more books home to your collection, you’ll have to constantly rearrange and reorganize your books to keep up with your organization style.

Constantly reorganizing your bookshelf to fit the color-coordinated aesthetic you’re going for can get tiresome, which is something you may want to consider.

While many different organization methods will most likely require updating when you receive new books, this can be an extra difficult task when faced with categorizing by colors. 

Favors Style Over Substance 

One of the main reasons books organized by color is so criticized is due to the belief that it favors style over substance.

Many people, including interior designers and decorators, believe it reduces books to objects and decor, as opposed to objects with substance.  

While there is debate that books have always provided some form of style and aesthetic no matter how they are categorized in your home, many feel that color coordinating your books strips them of their main purpose.

Instead of being seen as a source of knowledge and storytelling, they are simply seen as pieces of decoration that are seen, not heard, or touched. It’s something to be mindful of when deciding how you’ll display your books in your home. 

As an avid reader and someone who has spent many hours volunteering in libraries, I personally do not feel that making your shelving prettier takes away from the substance of the books.

Frankly, it might make other members of the family take notice to books and pick up something they might not have noticed otherwise.

Decorating with books can be a great way to add a fun touch to your home without spending a lot of money.

If you have old books that you don’t love anymore (and don’t plan on reading again), taking the covers off or covering the books in burlap is a great way to extend their life in a different way.

Tying a bundle of old books together with jute twine can be a pretty way to display books and add a fun visual element to your shelves.

How to Organize Your Books by Color 

If you’ve been convinced to organize your books by color, below is the step by step guide into how you can do that successfully.

Remove All Your Books From Their Shelf 

Begin by removing all the books you have from their current home. Give your bookcase and all your books a good dusting and wipe down before you begin rearranging them. 

It’s also recommended that you remove the book jackets as well, so the actual color of your book’s spine is exposed, and you can begin organizing them accordingly. 

Group Your Books by Color 

Once you’ve decided where each color will go on your bookcase, you can begin placing each group into your chosen order on the shelf. 

If you’re afraid of your books looking too overstyled while organizing them, try adding more books that showcase more mixed shades, so you aren’t stuck with an entire shelf of solid colors. 

How do you organize by colors? When in doubt, follow the colors of the rainbow!

Get Creative 

One of the best things about this organization method is that you can bring your own personal and creative spin to it.

If you have bookshelves with lots of books, you have so many fun options to create a real decor focal point in your home.

You can showcase your books sitting up front, sitting on top of each other, and easily add other forms of decor to give your bookcase that unique pop.

It’s up to you, so don’t be afraid to get started and have fun with it!


Note the pros and cons of this organization method that you should be aware of before you start rearranging your bookcase (see above).

Organizing your books by color may be ideal for those who identify as visual thinkers, but aren’t ideal for those who rely on title and author name to find their books. 

I also went over how to properly organize your books by color if you choose to do so. So don’t be afraid to get creative with this and have fun, whether you choose to rearrange your books by color or not, give your bookcase a new look that will leave your space feeling brighter and more joyful. 

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