It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when built-in bookcases became such drooling, blog-blogged design elements, but we’re definitely members of the fan club. So much so that we love incorporating built-in bookcases into our customers’ homes, especially in urban areas where every extra square inch of storage or display space is valued (and needed).
If you are moving into a rental apartment or a house with built-ins, consider yourself extremely lucky (twice that if you have also exposed). However, if you have the opportunity to design built-in features for your own location, take your opportunity with a lot of research and planning to create your ideal setup. Get inspiration and practical ideas for your own home by checking out some of our favorite shelves from Decoration aid projects.
Wall shelf system
When it comes to built-ins, this Upper East Side condo is basically the deluxe model. The built-in unit spans an entire wall in the living room and thus offers more storage space than most New York apartments. The grid of open shelves with two picture lights allows homeowners to highlight their collection of books and artwork. And the cabinets let them keep everything else out of sight. The sleek hardware and trim reflect the modern traditional design of the house, which allows it to blend in seamlessly with the space and look like it has always been there.
Pair of built-in bookcases
The owners of this Manhattan brownstone wanted a clean, uncluttered look throughout the house, which meant plenty of built-in and hidden storage space. Our master designer used walnut for cabinets, shelves and accents throughout the house, like in this den. A pair of walnut bookcases flank the door, which is also lined in walnut for a cohesive look. Pin lights under the shelves highlight sculptural pieces, while cabinets underneath offer hidden storage space.
Built-in half-walled shelf
In urban apartments where space is limited, the rooms must perform multitasking tasks. For example, in this New York duplex, the guest room doubles as a study, and the sofa has a pull-out bed. Half of a wall has built-in shelves and while it has some storage space for books, in this case it serves more as a design element and has a designed collection of objects. Even if there is no room for serious storage space, it adds dimension to the room.
TV and media storage
Our clients for this project were newlyweds who just moved into a new apartment in a new town and put their things together and their styles. The narrow living area didn’t allow for much additional furniture, so our lead designer took advantage of the high ceilings and created a custom open shelf that housed TVs, books, and other items. The shelf also offers the opportunity to bring splashes of color into the otherwise neutral living room. A cabinet under the TV has frosted glass doors so that the cable box and other electronic devices can be hidden when not in use.
Bookshelf with roller ladder
Built-in bookcases with rolling ladders are the stuff of real estate dreams and sophisticated Pinterest boards. The room’s white walls and neutral furniture focus on the floor-to-ceiling shelves, which offer a variety of shelf heights for books, bar supplies, items, a television, and more. The white shelf serves as a blank canvas on which homeowners can constantly rotate and rearrange their books and artwork to create new looks any time of year (or day). And the roller ladder is of course both practical and dreamy.