How to Organise your Books by Colour


Hi everyone,
Over the last few years, instead of organising by “author” or “size” as is often the norm, I’ve been organising by colour! Organising by colour is as easy as it sounds and we put it into all our clients homes! In my opinion, colour coordinated books are one of the prettiest things you can do for your bookcase. It’s also the easiest place to start if you’d like to take your organisation to the next level and get a quick result. All the celebs do it and here’s how you can get the look too!

At Organised Chaos, when we are helping clients with their rooms, we often start with shelves, because getting them sorted will immediately lift the room. Remove any clutter from the shelves such as excess paperwork, toys, and random items that gather on shelves such as batteries, stationery and cables etc. Keep some photos or ornaments on the shelves unless you need every shelf for the books. Don’t overthink the tidying of the shelves. It can be done in a few minutes and give you an easy win.

But of course it’s not easy to part with books. So often there’s a lovely story behind how you came to own them. Or you worry that if you got rid of them, in the future, you might like to read them again, or need them for research.

To help you reduce your stash of books, Professional Organiser Peter Walsh suggests that for every ten books or magazines you get rid of one. That’s not a bad idea, right? Surely out of ten books, you can find one you can let go of? Hmmm maybe not. Let’s move on to the organising and leave decluttering for the moment.

When you’re placing them onto the shelves, you might like to follow the colour spectrum so that the colours run well with each other – like a rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. I usually place white books at the start, and black at the end of the rainbow. 

The books become a beautiful array of colours on your shelves. To further enhance the design of your bookshelves, mix between stacking your books and piling them.

If you are piling, go from large to small and generally three books is enough in a pile. This will give a different perspective to the shelves and break up the monotony of a load of stacked books.

Because books organised by colour are no longer ‘by author’ sometimes it can be tricky to retrieve the book. For instance, you might know the author but not remember the colour of the spine.

To remedy that and to bring your book shelf to super dream like organisation, create a spreadsheet with three columns – author, book, colour. Fill in the names of the books on the shelf in the “book” column, then add in the authors. Next, place the list in alphabetical order based on author. Finally, in the third column write in the colour of the spine. Print the sheet and put it somewhere neatly on your bookshelf. Now there’s an adaption on the dewy decimal system!

Honestly once you start colour coding, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start! You can thank us later!

Happy Organising!


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