Bookshelf Porn: 6 Snaps That Inspire

Your coffee table, couch, and curtains may be from Target, but there's always one thing that can set apart your pad from a generic IKEA layout: the books you collect. Not only do they speak to your interests, we truly believe they reveal both a past and future image of yourself. Do you have a secret collection of Danielle Steel novels under the bed? A massive obsession for Dickens first editions? Maybe a newfound love for exploration journals from the arctic?
As much as your books whisper secrets about you, the way you stack and sort them can say something, as well. Whether you treat them as sacred treasures or lovely doorstops, we show you six cool organizing methods that give the Dewey Decimal system a run for its money. Click on to be inspired!
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Rainbow Brite
Sure, you've seen it in every trendy decor magazine, but we still love the visual impact of organizing by color. Creating a gradient effect — light to dark or vice versa — can create a focal point in any room. Okay, literary purists might cry, "Sacrilege!" but chances are that if your collection is truly personal, you'll know each paperback by sight and won't have difficulty spotting that slim copy from Salinger anyway.

Photo: Apartment Therapy
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Horizontal Heights
Karl Lagerfeld's impressive library of coffee-table books takes horizontal stacking to the next level. This method is a great way to use vertical space and — bonus — you don't need to purchase any shelving. Just be sure each stack consists of similar-sized tomes and use a few sturdy hardbacks as your foundation...or else the slightest vibration could cause a fall.

Photo: The Selby
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A Sequence Game
A close cousin to organizing by color, sequences are a fun way to create eye candy by playing with patterns and sections of hues — it's like colorblocking for your books. This is especially great if you want to separate a collection of beautiful old tomes (seen at the bottom level of this bookcase) and some punchy new paperbacks. We also love the insertion of ceramics in the lower middle of the case to break things up.

Photo: String
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Mix It Up
If you're struggling with space issues in a minuscule pad, a great way to be efficient is to mix horizontal-and-vertical-stacking methods. The trick here is to place a horizontal stack on top of a row of books that are similar in height. Not only does it make use of every possible angle, it also looks visually awesome!

Photo: The Selby
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Nooks And Crannies
If you've never actually opened your flue, you may want to consider taking advantage of that space below the mantle. We love how instantly cozy a room becomes with books in a fireplace. It'll also put your Tetris skills to the test!

Photo: AB Chao
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Creative Clutter
If this picture is making you break out in hives, look away. But if the inner collector inside you is jumping up and down, this might be the organizing style for you. We love mixing in meaningful bric-a-brac to give our bookshelf a more personal, lived-in look. You can even showcase special trinkets associated with a title. That postcard a dear friend tucked into a book for your birthday? The two just belong together. At the very least, small knickknacks and photos can help differentiate certain groupings. Your travel guides? To the right of the black-and-white bike photo, of course.

Photo: The Selby