14 Creative Ways To Organize Books For A Cozy Reading Space (This One's For The BookTok Babes)

If you're a book lover, it's likely you have at least one stack of books lying around your house in need of a home. Even if you have traditional bookshelves, you may have more books than space on them. Plus, there are so many creative ways to display books, whether you actually intend to read them or you simply like to collect them (we all know at least one person who collects vintage tomes or choose-your-own-adventure books). Being surrounded by reading material is also a great way to rediscover a love of books, if one of your goals is to read more.


Before you head to IKEA to buy a new bookshelf puzzle, we want to suggest some creative and fun ways to display your books without basic shelving. We're here to show you some new ways to turn your books into art and home décor –- while keeping them handy for reading, of course. There's no more need for that nightstand stack that gets knocked down every time you hit snooze on your alarm. Now, we still fully condone reading in bed, but here are additional options for places to keep books so that you can enjoy some reading no matter which room you're in.

Put them under the bed

This is an ingenious idea for anyone who loves to read in bed — just turn the underside of your bed into a bookshelf. You won't have to worry about not having enough space on your nightstand for a glass of water with this setup. Whether you find a bed frame that can be converted into shelving or you create something on your own, this is a great idea for folks who have a smaller home or live in an apartment.


In this photo, it looks like the person actually created this space all on their own with some nice wood crates. As long as you invest in something sturdy that will hold up your bed, and make sure you have something in the middle for support as well, this idea is foolproof and gives the bedroom a rustic feel. And, as you can see, there's an opportunity to store more than just books in this cubby space, in case you have other collectibles that need a fun storage area.

Give that old shoe organizer new life

Does anyone use those over-the-door shoe organizers to hold their shoes anymore? While this may be a fad of the past, we know that plastic shoe organizers can still be purchased at your favorite big box stores (and online as well), but we think we've found a much better use for them — book storage. This is yet another space-saving way to store your books.


This image appears to come from a creative teacher's classroom photo, but this will work well in any home space (and especially in your children's room if you're raising voracious readers). Put in books from your to-read pile so that you have an easy visual of what your options are, and replace the book you take out with a new one each time so it's never hanging empty. With your books on such visual display, this could be even more motivation to keep reading, especially if you're in a reading rut. This is also a neat idea if you enjoy reading in the bathroom, or like to keep some reading materials in there for guests!

Keep stacks of books around your home

An organized stack, in an area where you can find the books and they're not in the way of you living your daily life, is a great way to put your books on display. Long gone are the days when only large art and photobooks could be found laid out on coffee tables. Now, any book goes.


Some excellent places to stack your books, aside from the coffee table (if you have one), include end tables that aren't already covered with other things, random shelves around your home that have open spaces, your dresser in the bedroom, and even your TV stand (because who wants to watch boring and mindless television when you can immerse yourself in a good book?). Of course, for those collectible books that you may not be reading anytime soon, if they have pretty page edges, consider stacking them with the spines facing the wall and letting their page colors get the limelight. It's a great way to add some color or design to your room, and still have your books on display.

Physically build a cozy space with them

Got a lot of books and no bookshelves to speak of? Stack all of them up to create walls, making a cozy little reading nook. Add some soft blankets and pillows, and you have a comfy space where you can lounge and read, with all of your favorite books right at arm's length. It's like that blanket fort from your childhood — but with books. We suggest picking decorative pillows with quotes that motivate you and foster daydreaming, because adventure does await within the pages of books.


We love that this creative person set their reading space up near a window for some excellent natural light to read by during the day, but they also made it a relaxation space with the addition of mood lighting and candles. The vase of flowers also adds a decorative touch. Perhaps this person enjoys using this space to write their own music, but we can tell they obviously love reading too.

Tick-tock, create a clock

What time is it? It's reading time. 

This is a really neat idea that helps turn your books into functional art, and it isn't hurting them one bit. As you can see, each book in the image above is sitting on a little floating shelf. If you have books with numbers in the titles, this is such a fun way to display them, but they don't have to have numbers on them to work — we've all seen those old-school watches with just lines instead of numbers!


Another idea, however, that integrates numbers into the fold, is to use books from a series (if you know of any book series that have at least 12 books in them). Or, put your top 12 favorite books up in order from most loved to least. Honestly, you can display your clock books any way your heart desires — whether you want to actually use the clock to tell time or simply have it as a neat art piece on your wall.

Hang 'em up

Here's another great way to hang your books up. This rack features holders that look kind of like clothespins — which, with the right thickness of line, you could use in place of a set-up like this. Each book rests on small plates, making it easy to suspend them without damaging the pages or covers. 


The book rack pictured above is from Agustav, but for the creative types out there, they may want to make their own rack. It could be recreated with a clothesline, clothespins, some thin (but sturdy) cord, and a flat piece of wood. Just drill a small hole in the wood to tie the cord through, and that's what will sit at the bottom of the book to hold it on the line. You could even hang your books across an entryway so that you can walk under them (great for books you've already read, but don't want to let go of). This is also a fantastic idea for anyone living in a small home or apartment, as this display takes up no floor space.

Put things on them

If you enjoy stacking things, you can add more to your book stacks than just books. We think that stacks have a whimsical, somewhat vintage feel to them, and you can put nearly anything you'd like on your books (though we suggest avoiding things that could damage them, like containers holding liquids or candles that may drip wax on them). Displays of faux flowers, battery-operated candles, old tea sets, and even figurines are great things to stack on your books for display purposes.


Stack items that have similar colors as the book covers to make things visually pleasing — like the blue flowers in the cute cup above that match the blue book they're sitting on. If you're a fan of fantasy novels, consider placing your favorite dragon or unicorn statues on books that feature these mythical creatures. If you have Edgar Allen Poe's complete works, place a bust of the talented author on his books — it'll feel like Halloween every day in your home if you add some cobweb décor too.

Display them on a desk

Perhaps you bought a desk while you were sequestered at home during the pandemic and now you're not sure what to do with that space since heading back to the office. There's no need to get rid of a perfectly good desk. Now you can use it to display some of your favorite books, whether they're all written by the same author or not.


Of course, this is one more space where you could stack books, but if the desk isn't being used for work, why not stand the books up and make the covers part of your home décor? You can even choose books that complement the art on the walls by your desk, that match the desk itself, or match the colors of your walls — or all of the above! And, when you feel like sitting down with a good book, they're ready and waiting right there with that little used computer chair, which you could upgrade to a more comfortable seat, to add to the coziness.

Mark your place creatively

There are book trees that people make by stacking their books in the shape of a tree — which requires quite a few books even for a small tree. However, with a little research, you may be able to find yourself a book tree shelf similar to the one pictured. While there's only room for five books on this shelf, it's the perfect space to put any that you're currently reading, since you can place them on the shelf open to whatever page you've stopped on.


If you're worried about damage to bindings, however, this may not be the ideal shelving space for vintage books. Likewise, you probably don't want to use a shelf like this for long periods of time if you want your books to stay in tip-top shape for years to come, but it is a neat idea for those books that you're already in the middle of reading and plan to be done with very soon.

Keep them in a basket

Baskets — whether they're made of wicker, wood, plastic, or metal — can often be found cheap in many stores, and they make a great place for putting books you want out on display or want somewhere near the areas you like to sit down and read. If you don't already have some baskets sitting around empty, we suggest checking out local thrift shops, dollar stores, off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx, and even yard sales for unique and affordable options. If you like a boho or farmhouse vibe, wicker baskets are perfect, but you can get creative by wrapping faux foliage around a wire basket for something unique.


What makes baskets an ideal place for organizing your books is that they keep them all safely contained (no worries about a stack getting knocked over by the cat), and they are easy to move around your home if you decide you want to read in a different spot or think they'd look better displayed elsewhere. You don't have an entire bookshelf to move, just a few baskets of books. Depending on what types of baskets you choose, you can go for an industrial look, something whimsical, country-chic, or studious.

Give an old piano new life

If you prefer a more traditional storage place to keep your books near your favorite reading spot but are bored by the usual bookshelf options out there, consider something more unique. This piano bookshelf is definitely different, and it could give you ideas for your next DIY project (you can often find old pianos for free or very cheap, as long as you have the means to move those heavy suckers).


While this may be the ideal bookshelf for a musician, there are probably some other old household items you can turn into bookshelves. Vintage ladders make great wall art and can be used to hold books and other décor. Even a vintage refrigerator without its doors could make a nifty place to house all of your cookbooks if you have the space for it. When it comes to turning something old into a new bookshelf, all you have to do is use your imagination — the options are truly limitless.

Enjoy your books with teatime

Wherever you have some free shelf or counter space, even if it's not a bookcase, you can place some of your books there. Basically, any nook or cranny makes a great place to put your books — and in this case, the person used a flower pot and their tea tin as bookends. Yes, bookends — whether you use something you already have on hand or buy them — are an excellent item for book lovers to have because they can literally turn any space into a bookshelf.


We think keeping some books where you enjoy your tea is a great idea, just like keeping cookbooks on your kitchen counter is handy. Putting books you may need for work on your office desk in such a manner will make them readily accessible as well. You can also turn the top of one of those old entertainment centers into an easy to get to space for books as long as you have some bookends to hold them up.

Make them moveable

If you've ever been to a library, you've probably seen one of these carts. In fact, some bookstores use them too, because you can easily place a lot of books on them (on both sides) to wheel to whatever shelves need stocking. This rolling cart even has a nice live plant on it because it is being used in someone's home, and we think this is a fabulous idea — it's a moving bookshelf! 


Even if you don't have enough books in your to-read pile, you can still make use of a creative cart like this — keep a notebook and pen on it to jot down notes from what you read, put a coaster on it for whatever beverage you're enjoying, or put plants and other décor on it that give you the warm and fuzzies. Now, no matter where you decide to cuddle up with a good book, you can wheel your cart there for easy access.

Pile them on old furniture

If you have old furniture you don't want to let go of — perhaps it's a family heirloom piece or something that you simply love the look of — and it's not a place you'd prefer people sit (for their safety or the safety of the furniture), why not turn it into a book haven? This wicker chair pilled with books looks magical, and the teapot on top gives us some very cozy literary vibes. You could also toss your favorite throw blanket on the back to make it easy to grab when you pick a book from the stack. We think a nice pile of books under the chair would be great as well, as they would be out of tripping range and make use of an otherwise empty space.


So, whether it's an unused patio chair, an old wood table, or a rocker from your childhood, give it new life by using it as a book display, and one like this would look good in just about any room of the house.