The Many Benefits of Built-In Bookshelves

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Building a new home can sometimes feel like you have to give up on character that seems inherent in an older home. But with the addition of built-in bookshelves —whether they surround your entertainment center, flank your home office desk, or find another nook to bring to life—your new home, remodel, or addition can feel not only like it was always meant to be, but like there’s nowhere you’d rather be.

Built-in bookshelves add practical storage space, display shelving, and that much sought after cozy character everyone loves. And it doesn’t hurt that they can add value to your home, too.

What Are Built-In Bookshelves?

Higher costs are obviously attached to the full customization and design of every element. The trade off is you’d get the exact look and function you want, as well as a custom solution to the unique challenges of your home. There is not an easy way to quantify cabinetry cost because the prices can vary so wildly from city to city, state to state, and company to company. Here in Utah, a really cheap, semi-custom kitchen can cost $6,000-$20,000. A higher-end, fully custom kitchen could range from $20,000-$80,000 and beyond. Much of the cost depends on the size of the kitchen, the level of detail, material quality, and overall customization.

Built-ins are exactly what they sound like—furniture or shelving features that are built directly into the interior of a home. They can take the form of everything from pantry shelves to entertainment centers, office cabinetry, and even reading benches surrounded by bookshelves. Built-in bookshelves and other units provide added storage and display space, plus additional design elements to any room in your house. They often solve unused space issues (think under the stairs, a wide hallway, or in a closet) and maximize the functionality of a home’s square footage.

Make a hallway more than just bare walls and doorways with custom built in design like this! It's a beautiful way to create space and add character to a home.

Do Built-In Bookshelves Increase Home Value?

Fortunately for the homeowners seeking to increase value on top of the other benefits built-in bookshelves provide, they do provide a great return on investment.

What do you plan on storing in your home's custom built-in cabinets? Without question, the best custom cabinets provide exactly what YOU need.

Because built-ins remain in place presumably forever, they add a more luxurious feeling to any home they’re found in. They can make a space feel more purposely designed and customized, even if you’re not the one who originally had them installed. Built-in bookshelves add personality, dimension, and detail to otherwise open space that would often be filled with temporary and more cheaply-made products to accommodate storage or display needs.

DISCOVER: Our Entire Built-In Porfolio

Designing custom cabinets for the home often means making them feel like they belong, like they've always been part of the house plans—even if that means using different colors and materials than what surround them.

But your built-in bookshelves do have to be well-designed and well-made, too, in order to increase the value of your home. Cramming a built-in where it doesn’t have adequate space, or using inexpensive materials or inexperienced designers and builders will result in a product that won’t benefit you or any future homeowner.

Are Built-Ins Expensive?

The exact cost of built-ins is difficult to estimate due to the many types of built-ins, as well as the variety of materials, designs, and the professionals used to complete the job. There is also the option to DIY your own built-in bookshelves that can shave some of the cost since you’ll only need to pay for materials if you have the proper tools and equipment to design, build, and install the built-ins yourself.

Style and size of your built-in bookshelves will also be a factor in how expensive the project becomes. Elaborate designs, costly finishes, and detailed finish work—along with proportionate sizing—can all increase the cost of your built-ins.

That said, the cost is definitely balanced by the benefits of the end product, when done correctly and well. Built-in bookshelves are a great way to add style and storage to any home, and I don’t know anyone who has regretted the addition of built-ins in their home based on their initial expense, whether done by a professional or as a DIY project.

DIY vs Professional Built-In Bookshelves

When it comes to adding built-in bookshelves to your home’s interior design, there are two ways to go: DIY or professional. If you’re the handy type, you may be tempted to tackle the project on your own, but before you pick up a hammer, there are several things to ask yourself. Chances are that—unless you’re an exceptionally experienced carpenter—you’re going to really appreciate the quality and look of a professional’s work on your bookshelves more than if you manage to complete the project on your own. Here are a few things to consider if you’re trying to decide whether to tackle DIY built-in bookshelves or opt for professionally designed and installed ones.

First, think about the budget you have available for the built-in bookshelves. If you’re ready to spend more money in order to save time and effort, you should opt for hiring a professional to design and install your bookshelves. There is little doubt that you will thoroughly enjoy the benefits of professionally designed and crafted bookshelves for years to come. On the other hand, if your budget is tighter, but you’re highly capable and have the time, going the DIY route is probably for you.

Another thing to consider is your DIY skill level and capacity. Some may think that because they’ve tackled smaller, less involved projects, DIY bookshelves will be easy to design and build. But well-built and beautifully-finished shelving, drawers, and cabinet doors are more than most DIYers are ready for. Most will also lack the necessary tools and space to get the job done well, leaving them with subpar results that will not only be aesthetically disappointing, but lack a substantial return on investment.

One more question to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to hire a professional is the time and effort you’re willing to invest in the project. Even the most ambitious DIYers tend to underestimate the level of involvement a project as big as DIY bookshelves will require. So ask yourself: Is building bookshelves where you want to invest your time and effort? If so, and your skill level matches the design you’re going for, you’re probably a fine candidate for creating your own built-in bookshelves.

How Deep Should Built-In Bookshelves Be?

By reflecting the painted ceiling beams, this custom fireplace design looks 100% original to the home design. Which is exactly how custom cabinetry should look and feel.

Whether you’re hiring a professional or installing DIY built-in bookshelves, it’s a good idea to get a picture in your head of what your built-ins could look like—including important dimensions. According to some library experts, 85% of books will fit on a shelf that is just 8” deep. However, when designing built-in bookshelves for a home, many consider something closer to a foot deep to be more practical, beneficial, and aesthetically pleasing. That said, any single built-in bookshelf in any single home can be designed to the exact proportions that both fit the space and homeowner preferences while optimizing storage and display function.

The best built in custom cabinets include a 100% unique design to fit your living space and are based on your aesthetic and functional needs.

Where Is The Best Place To Put Built-In Bookshelves?

The best place to put built-in bookshelves is wherever there is enough space for them to make sense as far as design and square footage are concerned. Like we referenced earlier, built-in bookshelves can be found in many rooms of a home, including a living room, den, office, playroom, bedroom, hallway, and more.

Which comes first—the custom cabinets for your home or the furniture? Did you choose green cabinets to match the couch that belongs in the room or are you bringing in the rich leather couch because you know it'll pair perfectly with those deep green cabinets?

Some of our favorite projects have been custom built-in bookshelves with cabinets in a home office painted in deep, bold green; built-in bookshelves around windows for a sweet nursery; and built-in bookshelves as part of a uniquely contrasting entertainment center.

Commissioning custom cabinets for your home means fitting exactly what you need, where you want it. Like these custom nursery cabinets with their perfect tiny window seat for snuggling up and reading together.
Those contrasting display shelves make this one of our most unique entertainment center ideas—you'd never find a custom cabinet design like this at the store.

Why Hire Christopher Scott Cabinetry For Your Built-In Bookshelf Project?

Custom built-in cabinets and bookshelves bring the art of good design and the utility of increased function to your home, along with increased charm and value. At Christopher Scott Cabinetry, we pride ourselves on being the best at every stage of the process. From using only the highest quality materials and guaranteeing precise installation, to providing the absolute best design services that will not only utilize all potential storage space but also create a perfectly customized interior you will fall in love with. Our team is based in Utah, but we’ve designed and installed built-in bookshelves for homes nationwide and are available to help with your project no matter where you live in the US.

With custom built-ins, there are endless possibilities for adding personality, customized hidden storage, beautiful displays, and added value to your home. Especially if you hire Christopher Scott Cabinetry to do the job for you. Contact us here for help with your custom built-in bookshelves and cabinetry today!

You can also check out more Christopher Scott design projects—kitchens, bathrooms, built-ins, and furniture—on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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