How to Display Your Book Collection

X Tips for Displaying Your Book Collection

If you’re an avid bookworm, or if you just love collecting physical volumes of information, you likely have a book collection in need of display. Putting your books on display can add a touch of beautiful design to a room that needs it, remind you of some of your favorite stories and volumes, and possibly even show off to the guests you welcome to your home. 

But how can you display your book collection appropriately? 

Choose the Right Room

First, you’ll want to choose the right room for your display. There’s no right or wrong room to store your books, but it should somehow reflect your personality—and what you’re hoping to get out of your display. For example, are you hoping to see your collection on a near-constant basis, and show it off to the people who visit your home? If so, the living room might be the best option. Are you looking to keep your collection more private? If so, it may be better suited for your bedroom. You can also display your books in a conference room or home office—especially if you want to use your books as a backdrop for important conference calls

Choose the Right Furniture 

Most people choose to display their book collections with the help of some kind of furniture. There are many different options here, including: 

  • Fireplace mantel. One of your best options is organizing your book collection on the top of a fireplace mantel. This piece of framing furniture shows off your fireplace, and often functions as a central point of focus for your living area. It’s the perfect opportunity to get more eyes on your books—and there’s nothing cozier than curling up with a book next to a roaring fire.  
  • Traditional shelves. Some people prefer a more traditional approach, or the additional room afforded by traditional shelves. There are countless options here, but all of them attempt to organize your books in relatively straightforward columns and rows. Importantly, you can install a shelf just about anywhere. 
  • Wall and floating shelves. If you like the idea of shelves but you want something lighter and less intrusive, consider displaying your books on wall-mounted shelves, or even “floating” shelves, whose bases are hidden from external view. These can look quite elegant if done correctly. 
  • Books as furniture. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even turn your books into furniture. For example, you could create a short stack of hardcover books of similar size, and use them to support your glass coffee table. You could also pile your books together and have them serve as an end table in your bedroom. 

Arrangement and Display 

Next, you’ll need to think about how you’re actually going to arrange and display your work. For example: 

  • Positioning. The traditional way to display books is with the spines out, but you could also reverse the position, or have some of your books with the cover facing out. This is especially nice if you have a handful of books you want to make more prominent. 
  • Accessories. You might display your books with other items or accessories, such as statues, action figures, or crafts related to the reading material. 
  • Rotation. Occasionally, you’ll probably want to rotate your display. That could mean swapping old books out and new books in, or just rearranging how you’ve displayed them in a single location. 

Methods of Organization

If you’re going with a conventional shelf display, there are several options for how to organize your books, including: 

  • Topic. Separate your fiction and non-fiction, or segment your works into different categories. 
  • Title/author. Alphabetize your works according to their titles, authors, or other criteria. 
  • Color. If you want to add a more aesthetic touch to your environment, consider organizing your work by color. You might even display a different color of book in every room. 
  • Size. For a more elegant display, you can also group your books together in terms of size. 

Try using a combination of different approaches!

Inventory and Decluttering 

Organizing and displaying your book collection is also a good opportunity to take inventory—and possibly declutter. Take stock of which books you own and which ones you truly love. Do you have any duplicates? Are there some volumes that you’re probably never going to read again? This is a good chance to set them aside; depending on your needs and values, this could be an opportunity to donate them to someone else, sell them, or put them into long-term storage rather than putting them on display. 

When your book collection display is complete, you’ll feel accomplished—and potentially more confident. Revisit your collection on a regular basis to make exchanges and tweaks so it never feels like a stale display.