Rainbow Bookshelves

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by Christa Kinde

Nothing showcases a book collection more than creative arranging. In recent years, there’s been a trend to organize your library by color, creating a spectrum that spans the shelves. Rainbow bookshelves. The first time I saw a snapshot on social media, I knew I had to try it.


My chance came with our most recent move. Our current home has space for all the shelves in my life. And I pegged the ten-foot stretch of cubby-style shelving that walls off my writing corner as the perfect canvas for my vast and vibrant accumulation of middle grade books. (I read, review, and blog about middle grade books, which are intended for 8-12 year olds.)

Always Collecting. Our bookshelves tend to overflow. Not only am I a lifelong bookworm, I homeschooled my lot. So we added regularly to an already formidable collection of children’s literature. Discount books. Used vendors. Library sales. Thrift stores. At Christmas, I always added a new series or two to the family shelves. And since becoming a book blogger, I’ve been adding new titles every month.

Fiddle and Fuss. We started with piles on the dining room table. Red books here. Purple there. Let’s divide dark blue from light blue. What about turquoise? Getting the books onto the shelves reminded me of planning a quilt. Place a few books. Step back for the overall effect. Add a few more. Adjust. Because colors shift within sections. From burnt orange and copper to pumpkin and tangerine, all the way to pale peach. Plus figuring out what to do with the occasional neon orange spine that clamors for attention.

So Much Pretty. Because I’m working with cubes, my colors don’t march in rows. They flow from one corner, rippling outward like watercolor. Transitions can be tricky, but it’s worth all the fussing. Browns to burgundy, coppers and golds. The occasional chartreuse spine leading into grass greens. Butter yellows divide between the white spines below and a lateral push into jades and sea-greens and turquoise. And from the opposite corner, silver and gray and lavender and pink, merging into purples, indigo, and a whole range of blues. It’s everything my book-loving heart longed for.


Hide and Seek. You’ve probably already figured out the main downside to rainbow arranging. Finding titles can be a challenge. Half the books on my shelves belong to a set or series. If Book 1 is red and Book 2 is blue and Book 3 is green, they’re no longer shelved together. Locating a title often requires a lengthy scanning. The bright side is that I know my collection rather well, since I comb through it every time I need a book or am shelving a new title. In short—no regrets!

“I always wanted to organize my library by color, creating a spectrum that spans the shelves. Someday.” @ChristaKinde talks about “someday” becoming a reality & the pleasures and perils of maintaining rainbow bookshelves. #ACFWBlogs Click To Tweet

Christa Kinde writes studies, stories, and devotionals that bring truth into focus and give faith a practical spin. Her latest title is available everywhere. In The Three (Forsaken Sons, #1), David’s famed Mighty Men begin with a rag-tag band of teenaged mongrels (half-angels) sent by God to establish an eternal throne.





Comments 2

  1. While I absolutely love the aesthetic of this trend, I must admit the idea of organizing my own books in such a fashion is horrifying. I’m all for color-coding, but the key word in that phrase is, “coding.” Color-coding has a purpose and typically makes finding things easier, as opposed to more challenging. I’m so glad your arrangement works for you, but I think I’ll stick with good, old alphabetical order for my bookshelves and just pull up Pinterest or Instagram when I get the hankering to look at a rainbow bookshelf. 😉 That way I get the pretty without the headache. LOL

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