Antiques dealer and decorator Jenny Kramer loves to style a built-in, something she accomplishes by-the-season as evidenced on her Instagram account @jennykramerdecor. We asked her to share some linear know-how and show us a bit of what’s filling her shelves this summer.

  • The designer grew up with collections of blue and white porcelain, so to Kramer it’s simply classic. Shelves are ideal for placing items in clustered groups, especially for things that hold value to you personally.
  • “When I’m working on a bookshelf, I always start with the books first, then I add the larger decorative pieces and fit in the smaller treasures in the nooks and crannies,” says Kramer.
  • “I definitely believe in adding unexpected items,” she says. “I have a leaf that my daughter painted propped up and a pair of my baby shoes, just as is, old and cracked leather. They signify growth.”
  • Kramer thinks it’s important to add some whimsy to bookcases so they don’t lean too serious. “Throw in something unexpected, it adds interest,” Kramer says.
  • Look for books that have faded over time, where the color has washed from the original binding fabric. Kramer notes it will look as if they have weathered through time, lending authenticity to a bookshelf.


The cake topper was a gift from Kramer’s mother for their wedding day. She thinks of it as a piece of functional art, something to be saved, treasured and rightfully displayed.