Books, and Where to Put Them

27 Sep

Magenta Bookcase

Elle Decor

Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think? – Gloria Upson from Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis

I absolutely love books!  When I was a child, my mom would take me with her to bookstores and libraries all the time.  I grew up surrounded by tall trees of majestic bookshelves full of captivating stories.  As an adult, my personal library has developed into its own forest of thrilling tales.  In feng shui, book storage is a major topic.  How and where should we put our books?

British Library with Wood Floor

Dark Ecologies

Here are some helpful feng shui hints for storing one’s beloved volumes:

Sexy Library and Sofa

Suggestive Designs

  • Location!  Location!  Location!  Directionally, the best place to put a bookcase in a room is in the Northeast corner.  This is the area known for higher learning, wisdom and spiritual growth.  However, this is dependent on the room’s architecture.  This is not the best storage location for books if, say, there is a door or window in the way.  Use your best judgement.

Ben Soleimani Library

Architectural Digest

  • Ideal Rooms for Books.  The quick answer to this would be living rooms, libraries, offices, sitting rooms, and the like.  One is more apt to pick a selection and read in these yang-infused areas.  Also, if company comes by, they can glance at the collection and further get to know the occupants by their choice of reading material.  (My own collection is mostly horror and science fiction.)

Urban Colonial Master Bedroom

Martha Stewart Living

  • Books in the Bedroom.  Some feng shui consultants and practitioners feels that books should not be in the bedroom, due to the creative energy that goes into writing a book can disturb the occupant’s rest.  I don’t agree with this.  First, it’s not practical.  In smaller environments where space is limited (like apartments), sometimes books have to go in the bedroom.  If this is the case, keep the bookshelves away from the bed by at least a couple of feet.   Now, if one has plenty of space, then yes, books should be moved out of the bedroom and into another area.

Bad Book Storage


  • Never Store Books Under the Bed!  Under no circumstances should one put books under their bed.  This will result in various sleep problems, romantic issues, and poor health.   Books should not be directly above a bed, either.

Wayfair Barrister Bookcase


  • Open or Closed?   Both can work.  Open bookcases are more common, and easier to acquire.  This also allows the items to be on display at all times.  However, bookcases with doors let the items symbolically disappear from the room.  The door varieties help to keep dust off the books.  Remember, dust is clutter, and clutter attracts negative energy.  Dust your books on a regular basis.

Rainbow Bookcase

I Suwannee

  • How Should I Arrange Them?   This is different for everyone.  Most arrange by subject, and then by author.  Some do it alphabetically, or in sequence, while others mix it up a little.  One new trend favored by designers is to arrange books by color in a rainbow.  (While I love how this looks, this would drive me crazy.  I prefer my books to stay together by author.)

Altra Kids Bookshelf


  • The Price.  Like other pieces of furniture, many bookcases and shelving are grossly overpriced.  I would suggest looking at Ikea, Overstock, Staples, and office supply carriers for good shelving.  Thrift stores and Craigslist also offer great selections.  Or, if you are crafty, try building one on your own.  But most importantly, get something you like within your budget.

Faux Old Library Ikea


Wherever one chooses to store their library, I suggest that each volume be kept in an area where they are readily available.  One never knows when the urge to read might strike.  On that note, I”m going to get lost amidst a literary  landscape this evening.  I’m thinking the suspenseful English Countryside, circa 1985…

24 Replies to “Books, and Where to Put Them

  1. Is it alright to put books behind me when studying? My study table is in the East side (so facing West) where the fireplace is situated. I created a space where I put all the books that I need to study in that area.

    Great article! Thank you!

    • Hello Bobby. I would need to see a picture of the room to give a better amswer, but books near desks are usually a good thing. Being that your fireplace is in the West (great location), I would also suggest getting something connected to your studies to put on or near the mantle. The West is for creativity and legacy. And get something green to sit on your desk. The color green resides in the East, is symbolic of the wood element, and can help things thrive and flourish.

  2. I have a bookcase (large 7 1/2 ‘, built-in) against a wall alongside the bed. The foot of the bed to the corner of the bookcase is about 30″. The bedroom is large, and the bookcase is actually considered to be part of the “sitting” are of the room. What can I do to still have a bookcase but that does not violate the concept of Feng Shui?

    • Hello Colleen. Having a bookshelf in a bedroom isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be used to your advantage. I love built-ins, and think more homes should have them. It’s what you put on the shelves that matters. Consider placing items there that are romantic and loving to you, items in the red or pink family, books dealing with love and romance (gothic novels, tawdry paperbacks, or self-improvent books dealing with love and sensuality would be ideal here). What we consider romantic or loving is subjective to each person; find items that really speak to you. Try not to display too many family photos here – they are better situated in other rooms. However, pictures of you and your romantic partner would be wonderful here.

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    • Yes, it is alright to put books there. I have books there, myself. Make sure to have an organization system, and mix in some very auspicious elements onto the shelf. The southeast are is of wealth and prosperity. Things that respresent wealth to you specifically, colors in jewel tones (especially green or purple), and items in sets of four are ideal for this area. Play around with the design. I’d love to see a photo of the finished arrangement.

  6. With the book location, Im in the southern hemisphere, so things are a bit different here (Australia). Which corner of the room would I need to locate them?

    • Hi Joanne. My apologies for the delay in response. This is such a good question! Compass directions still remain the same in either the Northern or Southern hemisphere, only the magnetic pull alters dramatically. How this affects feng shui directions has been a topic of debate among feng shui consultants for awhile now. Some say it doesn’t matter. Others say you have to reverse everything for that side of the world. While I, personally, am classically trained in feng shui, I pull things from all the feng shui methods. I have yet to have any clients in Austrailia, nor have I been there yet, so I’ve yet to experience the energy of the area first hand. My suggestion is this: Try it according to the compass directions first. If that feels off or wrong to you within the first week, then flip it entirely to the other side. See how it feels to you. Furniture placement and other items in the room can also play a factor with location. Would love to see a picture of the environment.

  7. I’m discovering this art and grateful you posted this. Would love to learn more. After reading this I decided I’m just going to box my books up (except my Bible) and place them in my closet. I am supposed to be moving soon so it’s probably a good idea, thanks again!

  8. Hello,
    I saw a cool Lamp Shelf Unit online where the lamp is built in to the shelf.
    Is that bad feng shui??

    Can you be quirky and unique with feng shui or does it have to be normal and traditional with furniture and decorating??

    Many Thanks

    • Hi Selina – My apologies in my delay in response. I love lamps of all kinds. More light sources, the better. If this combines an intriguing bookshelf into the structure, all the better! I’m very much in support of storage space; this items sounds like it’s great along feng shui guidelines. I think feng shui can and should be quirkly and unique, with some classic furniture and techniques mixed in.

    • My apologies for the delay in response. This is a tricky one. I would need to see some photos or a floorplan layout of the bookshelf in question. There are lots of things we can do, but I need to visually see the area

    • Short answer – yes. My apologies for the delay in my response. It should be fine, as long as it doesn’t obstruct the doorway into the bedroom. I would need to see a photo or floorplan layout of how it looks to give a definitive answer.

  9. Is it ok for an East group person to have bookshelf on the east side of the room or on the north side of the room situated in the west?

    • The short answer is yes, but it depends on the architecture of the room. Although everyone falls into either the west or east groups, furniture placement should defer to the architecture of the environment. Try what feels best to you. If you have any other questions, drop me a line at [email protected]

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