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A bookshelf is more than just a functional storage solution for your ever-growing collection of titles. When curated and styled with intention, this simple piece of furniture has the potential to transform into undeniable eye candy, not to mention sheer Instagram gold. 

Color-coded, monochrome, or dotted with plants—there are myriad ways to go about it, all made infinitely easier when your wedding gifts start rolling in. But are there any tricks to decorating the perfect bookcase, you ask? We turned to Domino’s style editor Elaina Sullivan for her step-by-step guide to putting together the shelves of your dreams using items you can put on your registry, from vibrant prints to hefty art books. 

Photography by Heidi’s Bridge

1. Set the base

Use framed imagery (or your favorite tomes where the covers double as art) to set the foundation. Standing them up against the wall, stagger the pieces in various spots, depending on the height of each shelf. (If you have the luxury of controlling that, vary them to accommodate especially tall vases or objects.) Designate your favorites to eye level so you can easily spot them.

Decor photo
Day At The Beach Print, Vintage Book Art Co.

2. Layer, layer, layer

Time to add in more books! Alternate between vertical piles and pyramid-esque stacks, choosing their locations in a zigzag manner from top to bottom so that your line of vision follows a continuous path. 

3. Bring on the plants

Think of them as living sculptures. Painted-leaf begonias are truly of-the-moment and will provide a bold splash of green to your shelves, while trailing plants will inspire a dose of drama. 

Stick with matching pots or ones in a tonal palette for a cohesive look. If you’re the maximalist type, though, go wild with planters in all sorts of hues and patterns. 

4. Incorporate the final touches

This is where you impart your shelves with a personal note. Fill in the blank spots with framed photos, more artwork, or a couple of chic bookends. Then, pepper in objects you’ve collected over the years—think little bowls, decorative ceramics, and trinkets from your travels. Keep on contributing these over time, allowing it to be an evolving reflection of your newly-official relationship.

Photography by Heidi’s Bridge