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“When you style bookcases again and again, it gets repetitive,” Rosy Fridman confesses. The French prop stylist, who is behind some of our favorite spaces, from Garance Doré’s entryway to Erin Hiemstra’s living room, has styled dozens of shelves throughout her career, most of them following a carefully considered formula of book stacks, vases, and objects. But for Hiemstra’s home, featured in Domino’s Winter issue, she decided to throw the rule book out the window. 

“Bookshelves are often at eye level,” says Fridman. What else is at eye level? Art. A lightbulb went off: “Why wouldn’t I approach Erin’s bookcase as an installation?” She isn’t the first to reinvent the way we store books. Our very own branded partnerships visuals director, Meghan McNeer, got quite the backlash on Facebook when she presented her colorful book stack to the world. “It will ruin the books,” some decried. 

While Fridman acknowledges that this might not be the best solution for the books you frequently use, she says it’s a great way to store old titles you don’t grab very often. If you want to try it, too, she shares her process in four easy steps.

Photography by Seth Smoot; Styling by Rosy Fridman

Step 1: Take Inventory

First, look at what you have. Only attempt this display if you have more than enough books and magazines to fill your shape (or plan a smaller shape to fit your collection).

Step 2: Choose Your Color Palette

If you want a monochromatic look, turn the spines of books around that don’t fit your color scheme, so everything appears coherent. However, leave a few the right way around to keep the display from looking too one-note. 

Step 3: Create the Shape

I chose a curve to break the horizontal lines and reflect the arches that Erin has in the room. Start with the outer edge. Stack the books slowly so they don’t topple over, and frequently take a step back to ensure the shape is looking good. 

Step 4: Fill in the Gaps, Tetris-Style

Once you’ve completed your shape, stuff the empty interior space with flexible magazines, small books, and objects. We used a lamp, a vase, and some candles. Pile them up vertically, horizontally, on top of each other—this is where the puzzle starts. And it’s the fun part! Now that’s one way not to take books too seriously (and decorate your home with art all at once).

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