The Design Corner: How to Plan & Design Your Built-Ins

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

We get pretty excited about things that are both trendy and classic, functional and stylish. And built-ins fit exactly into those highly desirable categories. If you’re looking to add some storage, open shelving for decor, or seating to your home, consider building it in! Well-designed and well-placed built-ins can add value and charm to any room. Read on to check out some tips from our design pro, Cathi Beighe!


How will your built-ins be used?
What will you store in them?
Will hidden storage be better or do you want to display your items?
If you build shelves all the way to the ceiling, the top shelves will be hard to reach – either put lesser used items on the top shelves, use those shelves for decorations, OR don’t build your shelves quite as high.

The Design Corner | Built-Ins
The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: bloglovin’)


With built-ins (as with most things you build into your home) you have the option of either pre-made or custom. Make sure to price out both options before deciding on one.

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: myhomeideas)


Built-ins are great for those places in your home where furniture doesn’t quite fit or doesn’t fit as efficiently as a built-in might. They’re also great for adding interest to wide, bare walls.

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: desiretoinspire)

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: chic-deco)

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: beneathmyheart)


It may go without saying, but when designing your built-ins, make sure that the shelving you pick is thick and sturdy enough to hold the contents you plan to put on the shelves. If you’re planning to stain the final piece, use a good quality wood. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to paint the final result, you could use MDF, which is a cheaper option.

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

(image source: thriftydecorchick)


If you have a built-in in a home office or library, you could get away with filling it entirely with books. But built-ins in most other rooms in the house would benefit from a little styling.

The Design Corner | Built-Ins

About Emily Marsh

Emily takes impressive photos, interviews interesting locals, and keeps things organized for Harrisonblog. She also works on special marketing projects, transaction management, and event management for The Harrisonburg Homes Team. Emily loves dogs, her friends and family, dancing, and getting outdoors.