If you’re anything like us, books will be one of the few objects that manage to escape strict bouts of decluttering. Sorry Marie Kondo, but as much as we appreciate your tidying advice, our paperbacks aren't going anywhere! However, having a good book storage strategy is hugely important for the houseproud.
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Whether you go as far as organising your books by author or ordering them by spine colour to create a rainbow effect is up to you. However, our book storage ideas are packed with great ways to keep your favourite novels to hand, and at the same time neat and tidy.
From bespoke shelving solutions to simple display techniques, enjoy our many ways to keep books organised. They are, after all, literaturely amazing!
1. Frame a door with book shelves
If you've no room for bookcases elsewhere, ask a carpenter to use the space around the door by building deep shelves around it. If your collection isn't that attractive, break up piles of paperbacks with plants or vases of flowers for pops of colour.
2. Build an under-bed library
Usually constructed against a short wall, a cabin bed doesn't just offer the benefit of a cosy night's sleep – it also provides extra storage below. This purpose-built bed has a self-depth backing board and wooden dividing struts to create book nooks above the sleeping platform.
3. Hang dado shelves
You don't even need particularly high ceilings to try this trick of placing a shelf where a dado rail would usually sit. It's a great way to use otherwise wasted space and the full-width shelf can run along just one – or all – of the walls. You could even stack shelves one above the other to the ceiling, and still have room on the walls below to hang artwork.
4. Pop books in baskets
If you want to use open shelving to store your books, the addition of baskets can help. It will stop your living room or home office looking cluttered and chaotic and unifies the varied colours of book covers. Using baskets means you won't need bookends, either, to stop books from toppling off the sides. Organise your titles easily by genre, author or simply by size.
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5. Create a picture ledge library
Turn coffee-table books into a work of art with a column of basic IKEA ledges, which have been painted to match the wall so that they blend in and let the covers can steal the show. It's a trick that works equally well in a child's room.
6. Mount wire cubbies to the wall
Cookbooks hogging all your kitchen counter space? Solve the problem while still keeping your favourite Jamie Oliver and Joe Wicks recipes close at hand by hanging a set of wire storage baskets to the wall above. This group of four has a pleasing symmetry.
7. Use colour-coordinated books as part of a decorative display
A few books can do wonders when you're styling a display. Here, they are used to add colour that coordinates with the surrounding soft furnishings, and to raise the height of bowls so they are at a levee more pleasing to the eye. Do remember, though, that less is more here and two many books will spoil the look
8. Stack books on a window ledge
A few tombs resting on a window sill can make both you and your room look smart! It's a good idea to stick with a tight colour palette to make your stack look deliberate and not like something you're about to tidy away.
9. Upcycle old crates as book shelves
Crates can be used for all sorts of things but we really want to try this particular upcycling idea. Two have been fixed together – this can be easily done with screws and an electric screwdriver – and casters added so you can wheel it around the house. We love the idea of having our own mobile library!
10. Use a slim ladder shelf for bedtime reading
This space-saving book storage idea can be used in a busy hallway, or a less-than-roomy bedroom or living room. A ladder shelf doesn't have the footprint of a full-on bookcase, so you can easily pop it in the gap between the bed and the wall and set out some books to send you off to sleep.
11. Display books in a child-friendly rack
This is similar to the IKEA ledge idea, as it allows your child's books to double as colourful artwork. However, this shelf has bars to prevent any heavy hardbacks falling off and hurting little ones.
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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