Design Recipes: The beauty of built-ins


Built-ins: Love them or hate them? They can either be the first item on the demo list, or the ideal storage and space-saving solution. Space is a challenge for many homeowners, and built-ins can be the ideal solution. Additionally, those who aren’t fans of off-the-shelf solutions may desire built-ins because of the customization and design freedom they can allow both homeowners and designers.


Closets are a popular location for built-ins, especially drawers and shelves. Built-ins allow for storage that will not infringe on what is often a limited space. Wall-to-wall closets allow for the most amount of design capability and flexibility. Look to place your built-ins along perimeter walls, and consider a mix of shelves and drawers.

Living spaces

Living spaces that may or may not include other social areas such as family rooms and dining rooms also serve as great design opportunities for built-ins. For these areas be sure to think function first and define the needs of the space before beginning to construct your built-ins. In these rooms, built-ins can serve both areas you wish to highlight as well as areas in which you have items you may wish to hide.


This is where personalization really comes in to play. Keep in mind that if you integrate built-in furniture into your home, these pieces may or may not have universal appeal and may make your home less desirable long term. Think and plan well to achieve the most successful outcome.


Home offices are often prime targets for built-ins, especially when it comes to cabinetry, shelving and drawers. Looking for a low-cost solution? Kitchen cabinetry is a good choice as an office built-in solution over custom cabinetry.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> or visit her website at <>.

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