Tsundoku: The Art of Decorating With Books

The term Tsundoku refers to the passion that many people have for owning books. Learn how you can keep your books in order.
Tsundoku: The Art of Decorating With Books

Last update: 08 June, 2023

If you’re a book lover, you may also have a tendency to hoard books just for the sake of having them. This is known in Japan as Tsundoku and it refers to the passion for owning books. Does this sound familiar? Beyond aesthetics, this art also offers a storage solution. As such, delve into how you can use books to decorate, whilst keeping them organized and achieving a harmonious space.

You don’t have to give up the smell of their pages, the touch of their hardcovers, or the pleasure that it brings to see your books on your shelves. Take a look at these ideas, and be prepared to get as excited as we are.

Tsundoku: a passion for books

Tsundoku, the art of decorating with books

Tsundoku is a Japanese term that refers to the habit that some people have of collecting books. In addition to the pleasure of reading, this love for books also has to do with enjoying being surrounded by them. Despite the fact that your shelves can look great and you may own editions that are true jewels, this hobby entails one great responsibility: order.

To reach this order, there’s no golden rule since everyone creates their own method. However, if you don’t have an order, you should develop it.

The most important thing is to learn what works best for you. Consider if you want to place your books by theme, by author, in alphabetical order, by colors, sizes, etc. Next, discover some basic ideas so that you can find the best way of organizing your books.

Tsundoku loves shelves

If you love books and can’t resist buying them, you must be prepared and create adequate and sufficient spaces to store them. In addition, they must be well organized and classified so that you can find them when you need them.

If you think of the most optimal piece of furniture for this purpose, it would undoubtedly be shelves or bookcases, since, for the most part, they’re capable of adapting in terms of shapes and sizes. As if that weren’t enough, you can place them in your living room, bedroom, or even in a corridor.

Take a look online. There are some beautiful shelves on the market that are sustainable, handmade, and economical too.

Natural selection

According to Marie Kondo, you shouldn’t accumulate more than 30 books. This for book lovers, may seem impossible. Without a doubt, this is one of the most controversial rules ever created by the guru of order. Although it’s true that it’s not for everyone, this philosophy can suggest that you at least make a selection.

Take a look at all the titles you have and be honest with yourself: are they all really worth keeping? How many of them are you going to reread? Keep the ones that really mean something to you, the ones you enjoy, and donate the rest to a library.

The placement surrounding Tsundoku

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose the type of shelf you are going to use. You can choose from wood, metal, floating shelves, wall-to-wall, etc. Once you’ve decided, think about how you’ll order your books. There are many ways to do this and these include size, height, or color. 

A tip from interior designers is to alternate their placement by putting some books vertically and others horizontally. By doing this, you’ll create a visually dynamic composition. Also, try to leave some free spaces so as not to saturate the furniture.

Other ideas on how to organize your books

Tsundoku, the art of decorating with books

There are plenty of options for you to place your books, but some of them are more effective if you want to convey a sense of order. Some ways to organize them include:

By color. If you don’t need to locate them quickly, this is one of the most aesthetic ways to organize your books. Create color ranges on each shelf. You’ll quickly see the harmonious effect.

Reverse. On Pinterest, there are some proposals on how to place your books with the spine facing the wall. Although it’s not entirely practical, it does give a sensation of order and incredible uniformity. It can be useful for older books whose pages are at risk of turning yellow.

Now, if you can relate to Tsundoku, why not try and put some order into your hobby? You’ll be able to enjoy your books and create a harmonious and charming atmosphere.

Design a method that suits you, and make your shelves come alive. Books are beautiful objects in themselves, so take advantage of your passion to decorate your home.