Before you scratch your head, or maybe roll your eyes at the title of this opinion piece, this is a real thing in interiors. It’s of immense importance and hotly debated both inside and outside of interior design and decoration circles.

Similar hues. En pointe styling at the gorgeous website

Let me explain. If you have a decent book collection, and happen to love interior design, then chances are you’ve at least momentarily thought about whether you should order your books by colour or not. There are two camps. The ‘Definitely! I’ve spent hours rearranging my collection!’ and the ‘Definitely not, don’t be daft’ camp. And then there’s a lesser known fringe group who have their book spines facing to the back. But we try not to talk about those people…

A snapshot of the Unfold Interior Design book collection.

Interestingly I used to fall into the ‘Don’t be daft’ crew. For years I thought it was just a contrived interior styling step gone-mad. I have felt like stocking up on garlic and crosses when faced with artificial styling in the past. Such is the level of vitriol, and well, sheer fear that I feel when faced with OTT styling. Don’t even get me started on an overabundance of scatter cushions on beds, or too much symmetry in an interior scheme **says with the facial expression you get when your G&T is too strong**. And, while we’re here, I will lose my interior obsessed mind if I see the words “carefully curated” in interior-land again! Please stop.

Laid-back subtlety. A partially colour ordered book collection at the home of Victoria Smith of SF Girl by Bay.

Good, honest, bloody beautiful interior design can be planned to perfection, but, ultimately it should exude a certain aloofness. A “what, this old thing?” kind of reaction when complimented. Or the rich, down-to-earthiness of the effortlessly stylish.

Highlight one or two monochromatic hues as per this image discovered on Pinterest and (unverified) to originate at the Instagram of angelesdeluna

But, back to books. To colour order or not? Come on, everyone has an opinion about it. Shall I tell you what mine has been for the last few years? You can probably guess – it’s a big fat YES. And the reason I say this emphatically is that I tried it and it was immensely satisfying. My book shelves are just next level I tell you. They are hugely pleasing to the eye every time I see them. And instead of seeming too engineered they actually add a certain visual ‘discipline’ to an otherwise relaxed interior scheme.

All or nothing. Image by Roberto Caruso discovered at

There are a couple of creative caveats to consider. Firstly, if you have a big enough book collection to warrant topic order, then by all means colour order by topic (my design and culinary collections are BURGEONING, so this is me). Secondly, if not, or if you don’t give a fig for topic order, then just try ordering the whole lot by colour. Go on. What’s the harm? In all likelihood it will reacquaint you with your book collection as you handle each one.

Believe me when I tell you I haven’t experienced this level of satisfaction since discovering grey as a modern neutral.