It’s no secret, I love built ins! In my mind, they combine the practicality and efficiency of a storage unit, with an aesthetic of a beautiful piece of furniture. A well placed built in adds character, architectural interest, function, depth and intentionality to any space, and has potential to increase the real estate value of your home. Whether it’s a living room built in bookshelves around the fireplace, a bar nook, a built in office desk and cabinets or a home library, there sure is room for one of these in every house! Today I’m rounding up five different spaces in our home where I added DIY built ins, hoping that it inspires you to think of creative ways to add one in your space.
Living room: built-in shelves and cabinets around the fireplace
I knew I wanted a built in look in our living room from the moment we saw the house. Originally, the TV was on the wall across from the windows, and the room didn’t flow at all. I knew creating this TV wall with marble tile fireplace and the shelves flanking it on both sides would create a great focal point and make the layout of the main living area more cohesive. Now, you can see the television from the living room, dining room and the kitchen, and the built ins are definitely the center of attention!
These shelves surrounding our fireplace are actually IKEA Havsta cabinets and shelves built above to make them look like one unit. Honestly, you’d never know these were an IDEA hack, since the whole structure looks like one piece of furniture, and the picture lights really elevate the look!
Storage cabinets on the bottom hold all the living room clutter: board games, magazines, some toys and extra decor items. The open shelves are perfect for our favorite books, photos and photo albums, favorite pictures and, of course, plants. This living room is functional and elevated, lived in and put together, with room for all of our favorite things.
Office built in cabinets and desk
This office is by far my favorite transformation! In order to achieve this look and create these storage cabinets and the built in desk, I used stock cabinets from Lowe’s along with their butcher block counter top. The cabinets come unfinished, but after installing them, priming and painting everything Valspar Chimney Smoke, the space turned out just the right dose of moody, modern and clean that I had imagined!
The floating shelves that sit against the shiplap backdrop are a perfect place to display decorative objects, and the cabinets have endless amounts of storage! There is a place for all the kid’s arts and crafts, school supplies, even the printer, while the top cabinets house items we need to access less often, like photo albums, etc. There is so much room, one of the upper cabinets is still mostly empty!
I added wall paper accent and wall trim in this room, and I love the way it has this cozy yet modern vibe!
My daughter’s room
A kid’s room is another perfect spot for built ins! I had a vision of a window bench with bookshelves for the longest time and a large window is perfect for this set up! Just like with the two previous spaces, this offers so much storage in a perfectly functional and pretty way!
There are four drawers in the window bench, a dresser (another IKEA hack) a desk on the other side along with ceiling hight bookshelves. Kids have lots of stuff and just as much clutter! This is a very cute way of keeping everything organized! I repeated the shiplap element on the backs of the bookshelves just like in the office built ins, and used baskets to corral books, toys, crayons, notebooks, etc. for a cohesive and clean look.
This is such a sweet and cozy spot to read, daydream, and play! The sconces add the perfect mood / task light. They are not hardwired, I used these rechargeable magic lights that are remote controlled, and I love the soft warm glow they give off!
Between the fluffy cushions and pillows, the sweet print of the wallpaper on the ceiling, all the storage and the lovely view, this built in is going to grow with our little girl and provide function and style to her room for years to come!
Basement bar and wine rack
This is another way I used the architecture of our home to create this bar and wine rack nook in our basement. There was a niche in the wall, outlining the shape of the fireplace above it, and it created the perfect spot for this built in! I shared a tutorial for this project here.
I used pine boards, cut at an angle angle to make the slanted shelves , and then added horizontal shelves for the glasses in the middle, as well as a small bar top above the beverage fridge.
It is surprising just how much this built in is able to hold! This is in the area of our basement that’s perfect for entertaining and we have love to utilize this otherwise overlooked area of the space!
If you are looking to store massive amounts of just about anything (really, doesn’t have to be books), I present to you these corner shelves! We are avid readers in this house, so a home library was an exiting project for me, but this would be great in a closet or even a pantry, you choose!
The scale of this bookcase is massive, but it is such a great way to display a collection of any kind! I used the same shiplap element for the backs of the shelves to create continuity with the rest of the shelving in our home, although that’s hard to see in these photos.
To add an element of interest, I used trim casings with fluted detail, and painted everything Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. This bookcase is in our basement and it just got finished. It’s by far the biggest project I’ve done and I can’t wait to decorate this area and create a cozy library corner!
I borrowed the rug from the office for this picture, but I have a couple in mind to try here and see how it connects with the rest of the space.
(Bonus) Closet organization
I don’t know if you’d consider this a built in, but this closet organization in my son’s room was a definite upgrade. The closed came with builder-grade wire shelves that were very difficult to keep neat. I looked into several systems to purchase and quickly realized I was not interested in the price.
So I used these melamine boards, along with some drawers you can buy right in the closet organization section of any hardware store, and built this closet up for my kid! The shelves are cut to size out of the melamine boards as well, the hanging rods are just a dowel cut to fit the space with the brackets, and I even made space for his hamper, his Lego collection, hats and baseball cards! Kid’s closets are nearly impossible this keep organized. This is as good as I could ever hope it would be, and for a fraction of a cost of a designer closet organizer!
I hope this round up gives you an inspiration to use one of these ideas in your own home!