Friday, March 26, 2010

Design Inspiration: Rainbow Book Displays

I've been absolutely dying over rainbow-ordered bookshelves for a while now. I am a prolific reader and incorrigible collector, and I've never liked the kind of bookshelf displays where there were one or two books and a whole lot of vases or those weird, useless wicker spheres people seem to like so much (??). Yet I recognize that shelves absolutely packed with books have little visual appeal. Enter the organization-by-color phenomenon (yeah, it's everywhere, but it's so awesome, it should be).

How incredible is this bright and airy library by Craft & Creativity on flickr? IKEA shelves and an incredible effort in organization and sorting. What an eye. Oh lord how I love it.

New library, originally uploaded by Craft & Creativity.

This version creates such a different mood with the dark wood and colorful accessories. Love the deep blue walls, too. Just stunning. This is precisely how I would want my library to look (possible in my dreams only, of course- le sigh).

bookshelf spectrum revisited originally uploaded by Chotda aka Santos

This one is more simplistic, and gives off a sort of bachelor-feel with the open shelving instead of bookcases. This would look terrific with inset shelves (the ones with no visible hardware that look like they're floating).

Rainbow Books originally uploaded by Andrew Coulter Enright

If you own a huge number of black and white rather than colored books, here is a way to balance the rainbow with the monochromatic to create a beautifully symmetrical look:

Rainbow of Books originally uploaded by MindOnFire

...And if you don't have enough books to fill the shelves, or prefer the spare, minimalistic look, try coordinating a few spines with other objects in their color family like this lovely display (yeah, I know, I said I didn't like vases in bookcases so much- I make an exception here.) Also, varying vertical and horizontal placement can create visual interest.

Rainbow Order originally uploaded by paperpie

Have you thought about or actually accomplished organizing your books by color? Do you like this look or are you "over it" since "everyone's doing it"? I like to be a little different so it is strange to think about adopting something super-trendy, but sometimes trends stick because they are just plain awesome, so I'm calling this aesthetically pleasing idea wonderful enough to not care less whether everyone else likes it, too.


  1. I love this! Sadly didn't have enough books to recreate in the Moth Office but colours have been paired with their friends. So pretty. Happy friday darling! xo

  2. I'm so in love with this idea!! But I own about 10 books so sadly it woud never work. But love how it looks!

    Have a great weekend dear!!

  3. I've never seen rainbow bookshelves before, it looks cool! I only own a few books too (hooray for the public library nearby), so my bookshelf has a lot of pictures.

    I do organize my closet by color though. :P

  4. OMGosh never thought of that!! It does look incredible and it kinda eases the eye. It's soo cool!!! Love it =D


  5. Look, you're going to have to stop posting stuff like this because I am a super-prego-nesting-crazy-person and because of your inspiration, I just "had" to do this today.

    (I posted a few words on the topic today if you're interested)

  6. i have to say, being a literary person, i could never organize my books by color! it would be just impossible to find anything! but i will admit, it looks lovely from here :)

  7. Oooh, that is beautiful! Books definitely count as art in my mind.

  8. OMG, how pretty!!

  9. I love bright colors and the rooms look stunning, but I can't imagine I'd ever do this as it would drive me nuts trying to find something.
    Happily, I'm not likely to have the dilemma: we didn't ship many books with us from the UK to the US, and we now have a very lovely library just a mile from home.

  10. very interesting... i hadn't thought about not being able to find something when i was looking for it; but i've never really organized my books in any cohesive fashion, anyway; i just try to remember where last i saw it.
    i did do this over the weekend (see the work in progress here and i was rather surprised by the results-- the books group themselves naturally by topic. marketing, i suppose?
    green: gardening and nutrition
    pink: fashion
    red: chiefly design/decluttering, also art
    orange: fiction and poetry
    blue: occult/environmentalism/fantasy

    only the yellow, beige and black and white spines have no overwhelming theme. and almost no books seem to be published in purple jackets.

    interesting, eh?

  11. These are awesome!! I might make David organise his mass of books in rainbow form!! Harder for him to find what he wants, but awesome!

  12. Wow! I have been collecting little snippets of images here and there of books arranged by color on shelves...mostly to inspire myself to try it. But NOTHING on this impressive level! Tres cool!


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