Decor DIY: Rainbow Bookshelves


Color-coding your library: only slightly less practical than the Dewy Decimal System.

R and I both love to read, and between the two of us we’ve accumulated a ridiculously random collection of books.


Keyword: random.

To house said books, I had this vision of building a library wall in our downstairs office, complete with built-in shelves and really cool wall art. Unfortunately, this plan got shuffled to the ever-growing ‘delayed projects‘ list, in favor of more pressing matters (like dimmable LED recessed lighting and touchless flush toilets).

While my dreams of a kickass library were temporarily shelved (ha! book pun!), we still had several boxes of books to deal with.

We also had a really dusty Ikea Expedit shelf.


(Granted, it’s not exactly cohesive with the rest of our decor, but sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got).

So what’s a girl with a mid-size collection of random books and an Ikea Expedit to do?!


Color-coded rainbow shelves are a great option if you…

  • …have a small or medium-sized book collection
  • …are pretty good at remembering books by spine color
  • …have a bookshelf with compartments (like Expedit or Kallax)
  • …like things to “look a certain way”
  • …are tired of having to eat a bag of Skittles every time you want to taste the rainbow

Literally all of those things applied to me, so I decided to go for it.


The first step was sorting books into different piles based on color. I used “Roy G Biv” as my starting point, but as my piles started to form, I decided to freestyle and create my own color groups based on what I thought looked good together.


What about box sets or series that would typically stick together on the shelf? It seemed nonsensical to split them up, and even more nonsensical to arrange them at random.

BUT… my Harry Potter collection was already mis-matched (some hardcover, some paperback, one in German…), so I had an easier time making the call to split them up.


(Can you tell how far I got into the Southern Vampire series?)

Once I had finished my piles I started arranging the books on the shelf, again using ‘Roy G (or, in my case, ROBYGCGBPPGBW) as a loose guideline.


I also arranged books by height, alternating from tallest-shortest and vice versa.


One of the perks of a compartment shelf like Expdit is that it’s a lot easier to add variety by mixing up the book arrangement (standing vs. stacking), and incorporate color-coordinated non-book elements.

Got a mason jar? Throw it on a stack of brick-red and brown books!


Candles and books? What could go wrong! (Ummm, did Fahrenheit 451 just throw himself off the shelf?!)


Perry the fake plant? He’d look good in the green section!


Recreation bust of Michelangelo’s David holding up Lord Byron’s Don Juan?! Looks like somebody went to college!


(Is it just me, or does Dave look surprisingly peeved for a guy that doesn’t have to say “hey, my eyes are up here!” anymore?!)


For my centerpiece I used a collage frame and filled it with photos that matched the different color groups (because I’m cheesy like that).


Remember: the only rule to follow here is what looks good to you.











About Accidental Suburbanites

Just a couple of kids turning a house into a home, one Pinterest fail at a time.
This entry was posted in Decor DIY, Library, Office. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Decor DIY: Rainbow Bookshelves

  1. Matilda Pink says:

    Looking very nice, sweetheart! By the way, you still have a lot of books here that could really fill that expedit up!


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