If there’s one collection that never seems to stop growing, it’s a book collection. From childhood paperbacks to decorative coffee table books, finding functional and stylish ways to organize your collection can almost seem impossible. And while it’s tempting to store books on any available surface, your collection can easily turn into a disorganized mess of precariously leaning stacks. To help you achieve the home library of your dreams and elevate your interior design, we reached out to experts from Beaverton, OR to New York, NY for their best book organization ideas to give your collection the attention it deserves. 

1) Organize your books based on the function of a room

Books not only are beautiful (and provide your guests with a real peek inside of your true interests and passions) but they are filled with useful information when organized thoughtfully throughout your home, room by room. 

Cookbooks lining the dining room or kitchen, cocktail books stacked artfully next to the bottles on the bar cart, and reference titles lined up neatly next to the WFH desk are the best places to start. Then, get creative: a windowsill of bird books looking at the feeder, memoirs of famous musicians butted up against the record player, a thoughtful shelf of your all-time favorites in the guest room. And don’t forget the all-important TBR stack on your nightstand. – Jackie De Leo, VP, Book Store, Barnes & Noble

2) Remove book jackets to focus the attention on the authenticity of the book and elevate your space

A simple way to add a natural and organic look to your book collection is to remove the jackets of your hardbacks. This trick helps shed the distracting marketing graphics of the jackets and brings focus to the authenticity of the book, the title, and the author. You are left with a display that is chic and elevated. – Via D’sa Interior Design

3) Consider making the top shelf of your bookcase your personal shrine of your favorite or current reads

When you think about Marie Kondo and books, you might gasp in horror at the misconception that you should “ideally keep less than 30 books” – but that’s not the case here. In “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up,” one directive is, “make the top shelf of the bookcase your personal shrine,” which is exactly what I’ve been doing ever since I read Kondo’s book. The top shelf is where I have some of my favorites, and one of the great things about this shelf is that it constantly changes – whenever I move, buy new books, or even just tidy and reorganize. Most importantly, it’s a shelf I can look at and interact with, knowing that it brings me joy. – Beaverton City Library

4) Use books to breathe new life into your living room 

It’s well known that books make for great decor. Stack a couple of books on your coffee table with a cute decor piece on top or on a shelf with a picture frame. This is a great way to add varying heights to coffee tables and shelves. – House Becomes Home Interiors

If you’re a coffee table book junkie and are running out of tables to stack them on, don’t worry. You can place a large stack of books beside a low armchair to serve as a drink table. Add a cute coaster and you’re all set. – The Mansion Interiors

5) Create a balanced design on your bookshelves by incorporating different heights and decor pieces

Many people have shelves of books and others have a smaller collection. Don’t feel the need to shelve all of your books from highest to lowest. Turn some of the books flat and add a small decor item on top of the small stack. Create different vignettes of these across and up your shelves. Be sure to intersperse larger decor pieces in between for a balanced yet varied look. – Organized by L

I love to see an interesting book spine on display that compliments the one above or below and the colors in the room. Start with the largest book as a base and stack about four or five high. If there is a less popular book, I would keep that towards the bottom of the pile. It’s also a lovely way to create a plinth for decorations and candles. – TO Interior Design

6) Kitchen built-ins are a great way to display your cookbooks while keeping aesthetics and functionality in mind

Cookbooks on kitchen shelving always work well and it is nice to break up the books with bowls, plants, or greenery to add organic shapes. – Centaur Interiors

Some of our favorite types of books are cookbooks. Our kitchen designers love incorporating custom built-ins that are not only beautiful but functional. With a designated spot for cookbooks, there is more room for meal prep and entertaining. – Emily’s Interiors

7) Use books with a neutral color scheme to double as decor 

I use books as pedestals to showcase beautiful objects and create varied heights in displays or on shelves. Larger books can also be stacked to create an interesting side table or plant stand. I look for neutral colors and sturdy binding, with titles that help to tell a story of someone’s life and their dreams for the future. If a book doesn’t fit into a particular style or desired look, it is simple enough to turn it around or layer it towards the bottom. – Kahler Slater

8) If functionality is your main goal, organize your books by genre

When organizing books in your home, group them together. Keep your mysteries together, your action and adventures, your cookbooks, and so on. Plus only keep the books you love and know you’ll read again. Organizing by subject and genre makes it easy to find the right book for your current mood, so you’ll know exactly where to look when you need to follow a hero’s journey or want a good laugh after a rough day. – The Lifestylers Group

9) Instead of tossing out books you no longer want, find a creative way to repurpose them

One way to repurpose a hardcover book is by gluing the pages, then cutting out the center. The book then becomes a place to hide your jewelry or other valuable belongings and remains in your bookcase. – Interiors by Monique

If you have books to spare that you are ready to discard, use them to enhance your decor instead. Turning the books around so that only the guts or pages show gives any shelf a stunning monochromatic look that will add texture and sophistication to any decor. – Iron Orchid Designs

10) Open up your books to add a unique and fresh element to your interior design

One of our favorite ways to use books when we’re styling is to open them up. We always use beautiful coffee books for layering and stacking, but opening them is like having a horizontal piece of art. Find a book with a topic or hobby you love and put it on your coffee table, entry table, or office desk. The best part is that you can change the page for a fresh new look whenever you feel like it. – Black Ink Interiors

11) Use books as a grounding element to style your shelves, etagere, or even a credenza

Pick two to three books of similar size and color palette to create a platform to elevate a bud vase or other small accessories. The variation in the heights of your objects will make your shelf look effortlessly styled. – Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors

12) Have a theme in mind when deciding where and how to display your books

The first thing to consider when displaying books is your relationship with the books and the setting in which they will be placed. If you’re an avid reader and have a plethora of books to display in a library, they can be a mix of colors, but try to keep something consistent like their height or their condition. Relocate the books that are too tall or short – or too new or old – in relation to the others. Conversely,  if you’re using books specifically for aesthetics, choose neutral color tones to create a blended, subtle look, which works well on bookshelves. You can also display a couple of books that have a pop of contrasting color on a cocktail table for some drama. – YAMINI DESIGNS, LLC

13) Your display should showcase your personality and be conversation-worthy

I love stacking different books of interest on shelves and surfaces like coffee and console tables. Select books that reflect your interests and personality, and tell a story about who you are. Whether the books are about plants, fashion, sneakers, or travel, make sure the books are pleasing to the eye, stacked by size and color, and conversation-worthy. – Blessed Little Bungalow

14) Bookends are a great way to add a more styled look to bookshelves

If you need the whole width of a shelf for your books, adding in bookends is a great way to make it look more styled. I like to keep the top shelves a bit smaller and keep all of my shorter paperbacks on these upper shelves. This uniformity and above-eye level placement keep you from focusing on this area too much.  – Sarah Montgomery Design

15) Use books to elevate and bring attention to your favorite “relics” 

Books provide a visual anchor for smaller objects you are looking to showcase within your décor. Aim for a mix of fonts, colors, and textures that are roughly the same dimensions to create a visually appealing stack that compliments your most prized possessions.  – Relic Design LLC

Originally published by Redfin