Color coded bookcase exampleColor-coding my bookcase a.k.a. how to justify owning a set of 1950’s Hardy Boys books I will never read.

The justification being that they add the dreamiest shade of azure to the gradient of blue I’ve got going on the second highest shelf here. I know that sounds really ridiculous. But please know that I’ve read or plan on reading most of these and, regardless, they are all treasures.

That being said, with this last move I figured I’d give a color-coordinated bookshelf a try. My boyfriend and I have a wide range of works, both in terms of cover art and subject matter, so that sleek Scandinavian styling, where there is, like, one white paperback and a succulent on a shelf, wasn’t going to work here. We’ve also accumulated an oddball collection of knick-knacks that we can’t part with but can’t really put anywhere else in the apartment. Like the “It’s A Boy” rubber ducky give to us by a crustpunk on St.Mark’s or the vintage Philadelphia Zoo snowglobe I surprised Nick with a while back. Just weird stuff. So when I was unpacking our overstuffed boxes, the question was: where does it all go?

color coordinated book shelves

The color-coded bookcase magically gave everything a more deliberate place on the shelves. It suddenly made perfect sense to have a miniature panda next to Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” – it played up the black and white binding, of course. And that rubber duckie? The perfect pop of color among the moody bottom shelf.

bookshelf with vintage globe

I started color coding the bookcase from the top down. I knew I wanted our map of South Philly and vintage globe to lean on the top shelf, so I started organizing by the dominant shades of green and blue in those pieces. When moving from color to color, I tried to use books with both hues in the binding to create a somewhat smooth transition. I very loosely followed the color wheel, but had to digress as I didn’t have books from every part of the rainbow. Ultimately, I played around with it a lot while listening to music for inspiration ( I suggest “She’s A Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones as your styling soundtrack).

vintage hardy boys books

colorful bookcase decor

I love the way color coding the bookcase shows off all the little design details that might otherwise get lost in a mismatched setup. I mean, just look at those Hardy Boys shine =P