It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when built-in bookshelves became such drooled-over, blogged-about design elements, but we’re definitely members of the fan club. So much so that we love incorporating built-in bookshelves into our clients’ homes, especially those living in urban areas where every extra square inch of storage or display space is appreciated (and needed).
If you move into a rental apartment or house with built-ins, you should consider yourself extremely lucky (doubly so if you also have exposed). But if you get the chance to custom design built-ins for your own place, make the most of your opportunity with lots of research and planning to create your ideal setup. Get some inspiration and practical ideas for your own home by checking out some of our favorite built-in shelving from Décor Aid projects.
Wall-Sized Shelving System
When it comes to built-ins, this Upper East Side apartment basically has the deluxe model. The built-in unit spans one entire wall in the living room, and with that offers arguably more storage than most New York apartments. The grid of open shelving, which features two picture lights, allows the homeowners to highlight their collection of books and art. And the cupboards let them keep everything else out of sight. The elegant hardware and crown molding echo the home’s modern traditional design, which allows it to blend seamlessly into the room and look like it has always been there.
Pair of Built-In Bookshelves
The owners of this Manhattan brownstone wanted a clean, uncluttered look throughout the home, which meant lots of built-in and hidden storage. Our master designer used walnut for cabinetry, shelving, and accents throughout the home, like in this den. A pair of walnut bookshelves flank the doorway, which is also lined in walnut to create a cohesive look. Pin lights under the shelves highlight sculptural pieces, while cupboards underneath offer hidden storage.
Half-Wall Built-In Shelving
In urban apartments where space is at a premium, rooms need to multitask. For example, the guest room in this New York duplex doubles as a den, and the sofa has a pull-out bed. Half of one wall has built-in shelving, and while it does offer some book storage, in this case it serves as more of a design element and features a styled collection of objects. So, even if it doesn’t have space to offer serious storage, it adds dimension to the space.
TV and Media Storage
Our clients for this project were newlyweds who just moved to a new apartment in a new city, so they were merging their stuff and their styles. The narrow living room area didn’t allow for a lot of extra furniture, so our senior designer took advantage of the high ceilings and created a custom open shelving unit that accommodated their TV, books, and other objects. The shelving also provides an opportunity to introduce pops of color into the otherwise neutral living room. A cabinet below the TV features frosted glass doors, so the cable box and other electronics can be hidden when they’re not in use.
Bookshelf with Rolling Ladder
Built-in bookshelves with rolling ladders are the stuff of real estate dreams and aspirational Pinterest boards. The room’s crisp white walls and neutral furniture keeps the focus on the floor-to-ceiling shelving, which features a variety of shelf heights to fit books, bar supplies, objects, a TV, and more. The white shelving serves as a blank canvas that will allow the homeowners to constantly rotate and rearrange their books and art to create new looks every season (or day). And the rolling ladder, of course, is both practical and dreamy.