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Bookshelf Love: Arranging items by color | Visual Vocabularie
Bookshelf Love: Arranging items by color

Bookshelf Love: Arranging items by color

When I was a child, I would spend hours arranging my things on a shelf. I would play until my ceramic figurines were just right, place my books in order from tallest to shortest, and in numerical order if in a series. This grew into a general love of the book as decorating device–I still think books are hands down the best things to decorate with.

I started organizing my closet by color when I was a teenager (and  by what hanger they were on–luckily, I have only the black huggable hangers now, and I don’t have to worry about the color of my hangers anymore. That was just too much!). After staring at a bookshelf that was thrown together pell-mell from a recent room re-arranging, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and thought to rearrange them by color. I also did this to my DVDs. Hell, I even arrange our cereal boxes by color, since they sit on an exposed shelf in the kitchen.  Most people think I’m a bit crazy when they notice… usually I get “Who did that?!”, and then “Well, that’s silly… you have to remember the color of a book, instead of the title…”. But I figure I’m looking at these books more than I’m looking for them, so having them beautifully arranged makes much more sense. Apparently, that’s what the staff at Dwell think as well. Senior Editor Aaron Brit says “We organize our books by color here (not terribly efficient, I fear, though lovely to behold)”. And isn’t that the truth!

Bookshelf at Dwell Magazine’s office

Bookshelf at Dwell Magazine’s office

In the Dwell article about this little phenomenon, he goes on to describe how, while he can’t find the book he’s looking for (although he remembers it is yellow), he finds an essay in a back catalog of Design Observer by Rob Giampietro pondering arranging books by color. He confirms my idea; if you have to look at it, it should be pretty.

“Our bookshelves often take up a good deal of space in the places we live and work, and organizing them by color transforms them from a banal backdrop into a poppy, rainbow-colored focal point. Books organized by color are cool to look at.”

The inspiration for this post came from my recent finding of the photoblog bookshelf porn. Imagine my delight to discover I am not alone (31k and counting) in my love of the visual splendor books and bookshelves. Even though arranging books by color doesn’t make sense to most people who see it at my house, I am not alone!

So, in-depth intellectual analysis and musings beside, how do you all organize your bookshelves?

5 Responses to Bookshelf Love: Arranging items by color

  1. Z. Urbina says:

    beautiful. there’s a passage in Everything Is Illuminated that describes this idea. brilliant to see it in action..

  2. […] more and more as I compile images for inspiration and favorite things at places like etsy. Also, my bookshelf love probably has something to do with my more general love of many colored blocks placed near each […]

  3. […] me, and I wonder if they would have ended up hurting Laelia too… The bookshelf is, of course, arranged by color! The bottom shelf is all magazines and catalogues—it is stuffed so tightly that I can barely get […]

  4. Futurebird says:

    I think this fad is a symptom of people reading books less and other forms of text more…

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Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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