Our brains have been subconsciously trained to organize books by genre, by author. Seems to make sense, right? Libraries and bookstores do that. Otherwise how can we find the book we want?
Let’s think outside the box for a moment. How about organizing the books by color? The bookshelves at home is a good candidate for this. It not only looks cleaner and more organized but also acts as a design element of your home. It works at home rather than bookstores or libraries because you own the books and you probably remember their covers (especially if you are a visual person). You should be able to find a particular book without any problems. Chotda from flickr did an amazing job of that: bookshelf spectrum.
If you want to take it even further to match with your decor, you can create custom book covers. ‘Custom’ sounds fancy but it’s really not. Just buy color paper and cut it to the size. You may want to design a system to identify each book. If your penmanship is good, write the name of the book at the spine, otherwise, you can type up the labels. Whatever system works for you. If you don’t touch the books usually, you may not even need to worry about labeling. This technique is often used in home decor stores. Next time when you go to stores like Crate and Barrel, may attention to their bookshelves.
Who said the books always have to be standing up? Try to arrange some on their sides. You don’t have to stuff the shelves. Leave some space to breath, place some decorative objects, like artwork, sculptures, vases, lamps, etc among with books. You can even arrange these objects with the books of the same color.
Once you start thinking bookshelves are not just for function, it’s part of your home, it’s a part of the decor, you open up many opportunities. There is no exact science, have fun rearranging your bookshelves. Just keep in mind the end result should be balanced. Typically you want to put the heavy books at the bottom shelves. The easiest way to tell, just stand back and see if it looks good!