6 Best Ways to Arrange Your Cookbooks, According to Professional Organizers

published Oct 27, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I recently scored a couple of gorgeous cookbooks on Facebook Marketplace — the kind that not only contain seasonal recipes, but could also totally pass as coffee table books. I’ll admit, as tempted as I am to display mine as artwork, the living room in my house is a little too far from the kitchen. At the same time, I’m worried my cookbooks will be vulnerable to spills and splatters in my busy kitchen, and I also don’t want to add unnecessary clutter to my already-full counters. It’s a total cookbook conundrum!

To figure out the best way to store my growing collection, I gathered up advice from a few trusty professional organizers. Here are their six tips for keeping cookbooks accessible yet organized — and a few super-helpful product suggestions, too. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Incorporate them into your decor.

Elise Hay, a pro organizer with Organized Sanctuaries, recommends incorporating cookbooks into your home decor and using the colors of your home for inspiration. For example, you can stack a few with a bowl or vase on top of a surface in your kitchen. Think of your cookbooks as tools that double as decor, and they become less of something you have to organize and more of things to display.

2. Tuck others into a cabinet or basket.

For cookbooks you use but don’t want to display, consider a closed upper cabinet in your kitchen, or in a basket on a shelf. Hay’s favorite book storage basket is the Water Hyacinth Bin from The Container Store. “They come in a variety of sizes, and they help reduce visual clutter,” she says.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

3. Store them at eye-level.

If functionality (you know, having cookbooks ready when you need them) is most important to you, then pro organizer Brenda Scott, owner of Tidy My Space, suggests lining yours on a shelf in the kitchen. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your books at eye level for ease of use. Whether you install a floating shelf or already have a built-in, Scott suggests grouping similar cookbooks together, then arranging tallest to smallest in that group to help you see the division visually. You can also try this trick on a kitchen windowsill.

4. Keep them in a nearby closet or pantry.

Debra Baida, a pro organizer with Liberated Spaces, says she worked with a client who didn’t want her cookbooks displayed in the kitchen. The pair ultimately decided to put the cookbooks front and center in the utility closet — out of the way, but close enough to use when needed. If you have room in the pantry, that’s a convenient spot, too!

5. Try a standalone bookshelf.

If you’re lucky enough to have extra kitchen real estate and want to make use of some floor space, then you can’t go wrong with a standalone bookshelf to hold your cookbook collection. Baida likes the sculptural Story Bookcase from Design Within Reach because it can function as a visual accent and a storage option. Put your most frequently used cookbooks on top and your lesser-used ones on the bottom.

6. Use bookends on the counter.

Another option, if you have the space, is simply to display your most-used books on the counter. Kim Jones of Lock and Key Home likes these clear bookends to hold books upright, so you can see the titles on the spine (and easily grab the cookbook you’re looking for). 

Do you have a creative way you organize your cookbook collection? Tell us in the comments below.