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Well, This is My New Favourite Way to Style a Shelf

I recently purchased a vintage teak bookshelf off of Kijiji and it has been a great addition to my living room and office space. It’s small but truly all that I need for this room. When I first brought it home I was in a bit of a conundrum as to how to decorate the bookshelf. Since my space is quite small I like to be intentional about all decor additions I make to the space – yes, down to how I place my books on the shelf. It may sound a little silly but as someone who loves design I find that I can get a lot of ease and happiness from my surroundings so why not take the simple extra step of making things creative? I mean, I’m putting books on this bookshelf anyway, so they might as well look great and give me a little smile when I look at them.

As much as I love a sophisticated and beautifully styled bookshelf, something traditional didn’t feel right on this small bookshelf or in this space. My apartment is retro (well, that’s putting it nicely…it’s dated, heh) so in an attempt to work with it and not try and make it something it is not, I have taken a fairly fun approach to my decorating (have you looked at my colourful hallway makeover yet?). So, a colour coded scheme for this bookshelf sounded right on theme! I had only one ‘thing’ to play on the shelf (honestly, I am just not a fan of having ‘things’) which was my orange gnome – left over from a fun landscape installation we did at my old job. I needed a home for him so I placed it beside an orange book on my shelf. My aesthetic loving mind was pleased by the simple combo and this fun color coded bookshelf scheme was started!


My early attempt at colour coding the bookshelf – not finished but that first little section gave me hope that I was on to something.

Take Your Color Coded Bookshelf to the Next Level with Colored Items

Adding items into the bookshelf that correspond with the colours of the books is what took this color coded bookshelf design to the next level. I visited my local thrift shop and purchased all the items here for just under $50. Since I love flowers and plants I went with a floral decor theme and found vases and plant pots in various colours to fill out my color coded bookshelf. I even planted a couple of the pots with succulents and I even considered doing just plant pots of different colours filled with succulents (someone else do that please!). While having a theme is fun, it isn’t necessary – the whole idea here is colour coding and that is a theme in itself.

This was a simple and inexpensive project that I pulled together in under an hour. It’s such a small change to the practice of placing your books on the shelf in any or no order but it really does make the shelf feel so much more organized and undeniably, I smile inside every time I look at it. Goal achieved. If you’re someone like me who is impacted by your surroundings and gets joy out of aesthetics, take the little bit of extra effort to make things look the way you like – it isn’t frivolous and it will make all the difference!

  How to Color Code your Bookshelf

  1. Remove all your books from the shelf and place them again in the colour pattern you would like
  2. Determine how much free space remains after placing all your books – this is the space you will fill with items
  3. Place your items in the gaps between the books – move your books to make room between them to fit items of the corresponding colours

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