Home Sweet Home on a Budget: Built Ins

If we could all pool our must-haves for our fantasy dream homes, I’m pretty sure there is one thing they would all have in common:  built ins.  Ahh, built-ins, those elusive, custom storage space savers, that seem to only exist in Craftsman cottages and expensive custom homes and Pinterest.  That dweam within a dweam (name that movie!).

My Home Ideas craftsman foyer

via My Home Ideas

Well, built-in storage and cabinetry doesn’t have to be just for dreamers.  You’ve seen us add it in to our own builder basic home, and we’ve shown you other examples of built-ins that weren’t added until after the house was built…it’s possible!  If you don’t want to take my word for it, let’s let the pictures and links do the talking, shall we?

Built Ins Pinterest Pic


Here’s exhibit A…our very own Great Wall of Built Ins, which I have yet to fully show you, but here is a good sneak peek.  All those fantastic storage options and pretty window seats?  They weren’t there when we moved into this house.

Living Room Built ins copy Remodelaholic Living Room Built ins2 copy

Another favorite of mine, the bookcases in our Park House.  Trimming out the walls around them really made it look like they’d always been here.   we have step by step tutorials for these project, so be sure to check them out.  The corner bookcase  and the window wall bookcases.

Corner Built ins copy

Dining Room Built ins copy

This mudroom at  Dixie Delights  (that we featured here) started out with almost six feet of empty space above those lockers.  The obvious answer?  DIY built ins.

Dixie Delights mudroom

Love this fireplace remodel with built in shelves by A Beautiful Mess that we featured.

Remodelaholic built ins around fireplace

Another featured built in project I like is this pretty kitchen banquette from Gray Dog Designs.

Remodelaholic banquette

This tutorial for adding bathroom storage that came from Pregnant With Power Tools is pure genius, and lovely to look at, as well.

Remodelaholic bathroom storage

In case you haven’t met her yet, allow me to introduce you to the Queen of Trim, Mandi Tremayne of Tidbits from the Tremaynes.  Mandi is crazy good at adding custom built-ins with tons of personality to her builder basic home and dressing them up with molding and trim of all shapes and sizes.  And she does it on a tight budget.  Like her pantry,

Tidbits from the Tremaynes pantry door

spice shelf,

Tidbits from the Tremaynes spice shelf

and bathroom apothecary shelf.

Tidbits from the Tremaynes apothecary shelf

You would never believe that this gorgeous library, built by the awesome Sawdust Girl, was once an empty room with zero personality.  Again, the wainscoting and beadboard ceiling that surround these shelves definitely help pull off a high-end effect.

Sawdust Girl library shelves

And how about this fabulous closet full of built ins, also by Sawdust Girl.  Wow.  I love you Sandra!

Sawdust Girl master closet

So far, all the built-ins that I’ve showed you were built from scratch.  Kind of intimidating if you are a DIY novice, right?  Well, I’m going on the record to state that you can fake built in shelving and storage, with just a little effort.  Ikea shelving units are popular starters for fake built-ins.  Here are some great examples of how to use purchased shelving as the base for storage that looks built in:

House of Smiths used CD towers to create built in storage around a bathroom mirror.

House of Smiths vanity built ins

At Mini Manor, Ikea bookcases were arranged and topped off so that they would look original to the rest of the Craftsman era home.

Mini Manor bumped out shelves

Centsational Girl has one of the best tutorials for turning purchased shelves into a wall of built ins.

Centsational Girl bookcases

Here’s another simple way to achieve the look of built ins at 320 Sycamore.


320 Sycamore fake built ins

Have I convinced you that any house has incredible potential for built in storage and shelving?  The possibilities are endless.  Feel free to click over to my Built In Furniture Pinterest board to gather more ideas and inspiration.

 Featured picture via Tar Paper Crane

Beautiful craftsman style built-in window seat ideas with shelving around the window, by TarPaperCrane

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  1. We created DIY Built-Ins in our family room to replace a long wall of ugly wood paneling. They are stained maple if anyone is looking for an unpainted example. I can’t imagine what these would have cost us to have built professionally but I’m really lucky my husband is such a great hobby carpenter.

    1. Becky! Holy Hanna! I love it! I would love to have you come guest post about your project. If you are interested, will you please email me. I tried commenting on your blog but it wouldn’t let me! cassity @remodelaholic.com

    1. I know I miss them myself… now that we no longer live with them, but such is life! Someday, we will build some more, I am sure of it!

    1. We built them all ourselves. I will work on some tutorials, but I promise, with a good helper (it is a two person job) that you could do it too!

  2. As a mother of 4 children, I am always looking for great bargains to stay within my budget. These tips will definitely give me high quality home improvements without the expensive price! Thanks!

  3. I love built ins!! We took out our fireplace (we never use in Texas) and put in built in shelf unit that houses all our dvds, cds, stereo, Apple TV, etc. I love it!!

  4. I’m loving all the great ideas…I will soon be able to implement them in our new home. Keep up the good work! 🙂