Could this trend be the secret to super-organized, uniform bookshelves? Designers have a better idea

Uniform bookshelves are a minimalist's dream, but how should you achieve one?

Outside In collection by IKEA
(Image credit: IKEA)

Bookshelves are a great way to make your space look cozy and inviting. They add a personal touch and create interest through the spines' various colors and volumes, but while this exact look might bring a feeling of joy to some, it can be particularly distracting to others. For the minimalists among us, anything other than uniform bookshelves is seen as too messy and busy. 

There are various ways those inclined towards a more minimalist aesthetic incorporate books into the home, be that through arranging them by color or turning them backward so the spines are hidden. It doesn’t stop here, however, and we’re seeing a new trend of decorating bookshelves emerging where 'books' are made for display only, or pre-curated selections are chosen specifically for their uniform look. 

How do you fake uniform bookshelves? 

IKEA disassembly instructions, bedroom with IKEA furniture, BILLY bookcase in IKEA bedroom or living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

As a response to minimalism in interior design, the bookcase as we know it has undergone several transformations to fit the aesthetic. Turning books backward or organizing them by color is a step in that direction, but it’s no longer enough. The next thing we’ve spotted on various retailers’ websites are books that are purely decorative. 

Some are made from paper or cardboard with covers that have no writing and are all in one color, perfect for the super minimalist shelves. Some are a selection of random books wrapped in the same color and texture material to achieve a uniform look, or with original covers that have been carefully curated to match the same aesthetic theme. The purpose of these is mainly to add the decorative element that books bring to a design, less so focusing on their basic function to be read. 

What other methods are there?

A living room with a bookcase organized by color

(Image credit: Future)

There are a myriad of options out there that cater to the appetite for this trend, but interior designers have a better idea. ‘For as long as there have been books, there have been bookshelves full of them,' says designer Ami McKay. 'They evoke the imagination, the love of learning, and also simply some quiet time to ourselves. For many, collections of real books represent a lifetime of interests that we can go back to.' 

As she points out, decorating with actual, real books goes beyond aesthetics, and there's an emotional factor that gives personality and character to the space. 'I've never used faux books,’ she tells me. ‘I prefer to buy books from a used bookstore for filling bookshelves and for color-coordinating stacks of books. You can always find old books and you will be keeping them out of the landfill.' 

If you’re keen to achieve that uniform bookshelf look, opt for pre-curated collections of actual books that have been selected to look good together, as opposed to completely fake ones, or make your own color-coordinated selection from a charity shop, and you’ll get the best of both worlds.  

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.