Monday, November 26, 2012

Add Custom Built-In Shelves to Add Interest, Value to Your Home

Living Room after adding custom built-ins
Living Room before adding custom built-ins

Adding bookshelves to a room can add functionality, depth, interest, texture and value.  With real estate prices beginning to rise again, folks are interested in sprucing up their homes with all kinds of upgrades.  Adding built-in bookshelves and cabinets are one way to add architectural interest that can really transform a space. 
When considering installing bookshelves and cabinetry, you must consider your budget.  Contractors can vary greatly in pricing out finish carpentry like built-ins.  To save money, you might consider having a contractor build and install your custom built-ins and you paint them yourself.  (Note: it's really NOT fun to paint bookshelves). 
Other considerations to think about is the room height, scale of bookshelves, and finish.  For custom built-ins, I like the finish to match existing trim work and I like the style to be in keeping with the architectural style of the house.  An exception to this might be a modern architectural style home.  These built-ins may be wood or painted lacquer that contrasts with the trim.  Maybe the trim is stark white, but the shelves are dark espresso finished wood for a sharp contrast. Will the built-ins go all the way to the ceiling?  How will they integrate with existing crown molding or other trim?  How many shelves will they have and how are they spaced?  Will there be closed cabinetry for the base to house things like electronics, games and other storage?  These are all things to consider when designing your built-ins. 
If you're budget conscious, non-committal or both, Ikea might be a good source for creating a built-in look at a lower price and less commitment.  Still, planning is KEY to a successful install.  Ikea and other "big box" stores can help you plan your project using their components and your imagination. 
Another fun thing about adding bookshelves is the opportunity to bring in a color to the room.  Consider using a bright or bold paint color to the back of the bookshelves.  A grass cloth wallpaper added to the back of the shelves is a great way to add texture and interest to a room without having to wallpaper the entire room.  If you do add a color to textured paper to the back of the shelves, keep the things on the shelf fairly neutral and make sure all the items displayed are balanced in volume, color and style. 

Note that in the photo above, the ceiling height is ten foot, so the bookshelves don't go all the way up to the ceiling so that they don't overwhelm the space.  The background color of these shelves is a dark teal which adds a lot of color for an otherwise very neutral room.  If you do have bookshelves in your  room already,  consider freshening them up with paint and a new background color.  Take a critical look at them and determine if you should edit the items on the shelves.  Does it look cluttered?  If so, start removing items and play around with the way items are displayed giving each item or set of books some "breathing room".   Done properly, bookshelves and built-in cabinetry are a great way to add interest and value to your home.

1 comment:

  1. I just needed to say that I found your blog via Google and I am glad I did. Keep up the good work and I will make sure to bookmark you for when I have more free time away from the books. Thanks again!

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