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Some call it the brain of the house.

It’s also known as the bookcase.

How are you using the bookcase (or bookcases) in your home? Whatever way you answer that, we have some news for you:

There’s always a better way to use that space.

Whether it houses your collection of old books from college, your travel journals, encyclopedias or your extensive fantasy library, you can make it an even better accessory to your home. Or, a more handy and strategic storage unit.

Your bookcase has been working hard for you. Here’s how you can treat it with a facelift.

Pick your purpose and design

What’s your bookshelf for? If it’s in the living room and visible to guests, consider optimizing its appearance to suit your space. A minimal décor style will demand more bare shelves that are garnished with items that match the room’s accents.

A cozy, traditional home with plenty of mahogany and lush fabrics needs a bookcase to match it. Feature only your finest leather-bound hardcovers and a couple of curated antiques.

Panorama of a spacious home office interior with a bookcase with decorations next to a desk with a computer and white lamp. Real photo

 

For a more contemporary, youthful design, you’ll want a couple of shelves that are purely for décor—plants, for example. The rest could have a curated selection of your favourite reads, candles and other stylish, minimalist knick-knacks.

If you’re less preoccupied with a cohesive design, your bookcase can be an attention-grabber—use it to showcase achievements, art or pictures of family.

You might be pressed for space to add all this decorative stuff—after all, bookcases are made for books. But you can always make extra space. Try stacking books horizontally onto vertically standing books or using the roof of the bookcase.

There a still more ways to organize your books for the optimal amount of space.

Organize better

Try a different organizational approach. These are our favourites:

  • Alphabetical. Great if you use and re-read your books frequently.
  • By category. Probably the most practical approach. You’ll be able to find books fastest this way, and it’ll feel like your own personal library. This is ideal if you have a large bookcase, or multiple standing side by side.
  • By height. Design-wise, this is the smartest way to go. Organizing this way will make your bookcase look balanced and purposeful while reducing the look of clutter in the whole room.
  • By colour. This will end up giving you a colourful space—a great idea for kids’ rooms and spaces with bright colour schemes.

 

white bookshelf in three rows with different books

 

Another tip: just like any good bookstore or library, showcase your top picks by turning them face-forward for the world to see.

Maintain cleanliness

There’s also a way to minimize the amount of dusting and upkeep your bookshelf needs. A good bookshelf keeper stays on top of this by:

  • Keeping the bookcase away from vents to avoid the spread of dust
  • Storing two layers of books on one shelf to minimize the space where dust can collect
  • Bringing the front layer of books to the very edge of each shelf
  • Cleaning books individually—and wiping the outside and inside of dust covers

In any case, these are great house cleaning practices that apply to every storage unit in your home, from closets to kitchen shelves.

Finally, you want your books to stay fresh and youthful, right? Avoid placing them in direct sunlight. The nice ones with leather bindings will fade and lose their colour with too much sun exposure.

Heat will also warp book covers, especially if they’re stored as close together as sardines. Also remember to leave some wiggle room between your books.


Take better care of your space, one step at a time. The bookcase is a great start thanks to its endless functions, shapes and sizes.

Yours is waiting to be used at its full potential.

Next: These 6 Tricks Will Save You Hours of Dust Cleaning