Aesthetic Bookshelves 101

by | 15 February 2019 | Books | 22 comments

Disclaimer: this is a humourous post meant to amuse, not to instruct. You have been warned. 😉

If you’ve been in the bookworm life for very long, you probably own a fair stack of books. And if you own a stack of books, you’ve probably got a bookshelf as well.

And if you’re at all a visual aesthetic sort of person, you’ve probably had the dilemma “how can I make my bookshelf look gorgeous?”


Today I’m here to save your bacon. Let me take you on a completely legit step-by-step process so that you too can have aesthetic bookshelves like none other.


Have a nice bookshelf

Obviously you need a bookshelf to have an aesthetic bookshelf, so this is a very important step. Have yourself a bookshelf and whether it’s white or black or wooden, you’re well on your way to success.


Buy lots of pretty books

This is also a crucial step. You can’t have just any old books, they have to look gorgeous, otherwise your aesthetic is thrown out the window already. The spines are what you’ll see on the bookshelf, so you’ve got to make sure they’re worth looking at.

And the non-pretty spines? You’ll have to hide those ones on another bookshelf. Don’t let them ruin your dream.


Pretend you know what you’re doing

You’re only a few seconds away from becoming an expert at this. Look at your bookshelf and your gorgeous books. Do you know what you’re doing? No?

Perfect. Welcome to the ranks. 😛


Decide how to organise your shelves, then change your mind 9.4 times

Will your order them by author? By series? Alphabetically? Colour? Size? Genre?

There’s a thousand options, and you’ve got to consider them all. Don’t forget to also decide if you’ll have them all standing upright or have some in a sideways stack and maybe one or two leaning at an angle.

It’s all about the aesthetic.


Spend a minimum four hours reorganising the shelves

You might be thinking: Four hours, Jane? Is that really necessary?

Yes, it is. Don’t question me, little bookworm.

If you spend any less than four hours, your bookshelf will not be satisfactory and everyone will cry when they look at it, trust me.

Speaking of crying…


Cry over the fact that books are different sizes

Some books are taller, some are wider, some are basically dwarves in bookish form. Even worse, sometimes publishers release the first book in a series in one size, then release the second book and it’s totally different and they can’t sit together on the shelf without the tragic reminder that some younger siblings are taller than their older siblings.


Add some random aesthetic decor

What bookshelf is complete without digging through a messy drawer and finding some random bits and pieces that you can use as decorations and call aesthetic? Feathers, painted rocks, leaves, mugs, candles, butterflies (fake ones, of course), and whatever strange odds and ends you can find.

Call it aesthetic and no one will ever question it. 😆



And just like that, your bookshelf is gorgeous. Time to sit back, relax, take some photos…and rearrange it when you get a new book haul. 😛


Chat with me! How do you organise your bookshelf? Do you have any random decor on your shelves? Are you for pretty bookshelves or for practical bookshelves?

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Janice

    The one shelf (which is actually a space between two mirrors on our dresser that we call a shelf) is organized by height for the first row, then the second row kinda was, but we ran out of same sized books. The third looks like a tornado blew through (it’s the messy asthetic😜). My shelf is organized by whatever book I decided to put there, plus a few in piles or on top because I ran out of shelf… there’s not really any rhyme or reason to that one. My sister’s shelf is basically the same.

    • Jane Maree

      Ordering things by height is so pleasing…until you get to those books which are simply ALWAYS the wrong size. 😅

      Haha! Messy aesthetic is totally a thing. 😛

  2. Sam Kowal

    😮 You mean there’s another way to organize your bookshelves?

    Besides the glorious method by which your books congregate in a humongous, mushy heap piled in the order that you’ve read or are going to read them?

    (New, crisp books with as yet un-crumpled jackets on top, old classics with alarmingly dog-eared pages and fondly yellowed pages kicking around on the bottom like buried treasures.)

    *rethinks existence*

    • Jane Maree

      But– but– what if the books got damaged in that great big pile?? 😱

      I think there is a certain sort of aesthetic in messiness, but still. Look after your book babies, Sam. 😆

  3. Kat

    This is sooo amazing!! 🤣🤣🤣😏😂😂

    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😝

  4. Evelyn Kelly

    Wow, I loved this post!

    I moved a couple months ago and since then have gone through three different bookshelves and organized my books at least twelve times. xD

    By the way, I organize mine my colors. 😉

    • Jane Maree

      Yesss, I’m so proud of you. You’re doing it right. 😂

      Ordering books by colour is so pretty!! I had that for quite a while until my Christmas book haul, when I decided to change it up a bit.

  5. Kendra Lynne @ The Wanderling

    My bookshelves are semi-organized… so not really. 😮 I have all of the Tolkien books/movies together, and on the same shelf any other books that I consider ‘to die for’, but other than that (except for my books on horse-care) they’re pretty randomly situated. XD I’d love to get them aesthetically organized… someday. 😀

    This was such a fun post, Jane! When I saw it in my inbox I thought “Yay! Another 101 post!!” I seriously do love them. 😉

    • Jane Maree

      Tolkien books add an aesthetic all of their own though, so that’s pretty good. 😛 I love that you’ve got a ‘favourites’ shelf! I had one of those before I became shallow and just liked pretty book covers/spines. 😂

      Aww, I’m so glad to hear that! They’re so much fun to write, so I’m so happy that people enjoy reading them too. 😅

  6. Audrey Caylin

    *dies laughing* This is the most relatable post I’ve read in a long time XD It usually takes me a solid hour to redo my shelves, and that is necessary if I get over three new books. Which I often do… and they’re always all different sizes *sobs*

    • Jane Maree

      Yessss. Reorganising bookshelves always makes me inspired, so I love doing it. And I always take ages over it. I think the last time I did it (after my Christmas book haul), I actually spent 3-4 hours on it. 🙈😂

  7. Mem

    *dies of laughter* Bravo, Jane; bravo. *applauds* This post was filled with excellent advice. XD
    I don’t actually have my bookshelves aesthetically organized…they’re currently organized by series and the historical fiction ones are organized by time period. I should do it aesthetically though. *nods* *cries with you over books of different sizes* XD

    • Jane Maree

      As always, I hope. I’m a very wise person. 🤣

      You should definitely give it a go! It’s actually so much fun to just set aside an hour or so to go through your books and order them so they’re pretty and aesthetically pleasing to look at. 😍

  8. Quinley

    I love book shelves, and the books in them too, Jane! And I should use some of your tips *nods head*

    • Jane Maree

      Books and bookshelves for the win! We’re so blessed to be able to have either of them, aren’t we! 🥰

  9. S.F. Dekreel

    A month or so ago I reorganized my sister and I’s entire bookshelf. I had never done that before, and I surprised myself how fun it was.

    It took at least an hour. I’m not quite sure it took four. Maybe? I doubt it. . . 😛 I’m already doing great.

    UGH, I feel you on the book size thing though! I’m so glad our bookshelf has sections of multiple heights or else I would have cried.

    We got the decor down: A badly-painted Minnie Mouse, a genuine bowling pin with a face on it, a bunch of random ceramic figurines, a couple rocks, and above it all — hanging from the ceiling — a two-foot-long pink paper airplane that’s been hanging there ever since my sister was in kindergarten.

    Did I do well?

    • Jane Maree

      Yes! Reorganising books is so. much. fun! *fistbumps*

      Hmm…not sure if one hour counts. Where’s your commitment?? 😆 I guess it can depend on how many books you actually have to reorganise too though. 😛

      Wow, that sounds like pretty random decorations! 😂 You’re nailing this, Dekreel.

  10. J.A.Penrose.

    Aesthetics are vital when it comes to bookshelves. Your bookshelves are always an inspiration to me. So gorgeous. <33333

    And yes, mine are much more aesthetic-y now.

    • Jane Maree

      We always say “don’t judge a book by its cover” and yet I do that every time I organise my bookshelf, because if the books are pretty enough, they don’t get a prominent position. 😛

      Aww, my bookshelves would be blushing now if they could hear you. 😊

  11. CG @ Paper Fury

    Oh I relate sooo bad to the despairing over the different cover size step…*screams softly at publishers who don’t make books the same size* I mean, I know we’re supposed to not judge on covers and love differences, bUT THEY DON’T FIT NICELY ON MY SHELF. 😭😂😂😂

    I do my shelves by colour and I love it! But I am guilty of keeping books I don’t love just because they’re the right colour lmao.

    • Jane Maree

      The pain is real. 😂 Our pretty bookshelves are important! They must be perfect! 🤣

      Yes for colour organising! I love the way that colour ordered bookshelves look. 😍 Oh my word–SAME THOUGH.

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