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15 Built-in Ideas That Add Character and Storage to Home Interiors

Get Organized in Style with These Amazing Built-ins!


Remember when hiding places under the stairs were just that? Hiding places!


Today, the space under the stairs or that cozy nook in an old or new home can be transformed into something functional, attractive, and appealing – like a built-in study space, home office, a book corner, or even a mini wine cellar. The options can be quite extensive as well as fashionably trendy.


A look at some of these amazing built-ins that provide clever storage space may inspire you to get organized.  



1.  Wall Shelves – Why clutter up coffee and corner tables with display items when you can install unique and interesting built-in wall shelves? Whether in one corner or extending across an entire wall of a room, built-in shelves can be used as décor or spaces to show off photos, artwork, trophies, curios, rare books, collectibles, and plants that would otherwise fill up those tables.



Living room with built-ins

This built-in wall shelf – in a 1-story, 3-bedroom Mediterranean-style home plan – is used as a display space for decorative items, plants, and artwork (House Plan #133-1029).



Bright red wall with contemporary shelves

This wood installed shelf – filled with curios and knick-knacks – is built into one corner of the wall. The beige/light brown color complements the red-painted wall. 
(Photo credit: freestocks.org on Unsplash)



2.  Bookcases – Instead of standard bookcases set against walls or adjacent to study desks, go for built-in bookcases in the living room, family room, or children’s bedrooms. They are far more intriguing and eye-catching. 



Beautiful bookcases in a child's bedroom

Bookcases don’t have to be boring. These two built-ins, which flank the window of a child’s bedroom in a 2-story, 5-bedroom European-style country house plan, are the only décor items needed to make the room more interesting (Home Plan #161-1030).



3.  Window Seat and Drawer Storage – Don’t waste the area under windows. You can build cushioned seats that can double up as a sleeping space or build cabinets and drawers for storing items, such as linens and towels or kitchen items (if the under-window area is in that part of the home). 



Cozy window seat

A picture-perfect window niche with fabulous built-ins: Bookcases on opposite sides anchor the built-in under-window seat in a child’s room of a 2-story, 6-bedroom home plan with a Craftsman, Shingle-style exterior and contemporary interior floor plan. The seat, which can also be used as a sleeping space, comes with storage drawers (House Plan #161-1044).



4.  Mudroom Bench – One of the most versatile ways to cut down on the mess, get organized, and create storage space for hats, jackets, umbrellas, and other gear is a mudroom bench. Add wider shelves on top for baskets and plastic bins; shelves directly under the bench can be used for shoes, sandals, and slippers.



Lovely mudroom bench in a Cottage style home plan

Function and beauty rolled into one: A mudroom bench in a 2-story, 3-bedroom Cottage-style home plan is not just a practical feature with its storage shelves and hooks for outdoor gear, it’s also an attractive and stylish element (House Plan #168-1128).



5.  Custom Bunk Beds – Gone are the old uncomfortable and old-fashioned bunk beds in dorms, summer camps, and ships. Today’s bunk beds – while still the practical solution for small bedroom spaces – have evolved into chic and trendy built-in structures. No longer limited to children’s bedrooms, bunk beds are now designed for guest rooms, vacation cottages, and beach houses. 



Practical, space-saving, colorful bunk beds

Bunk beds provide the bright splash of color in the children’s bedroom of a 2-story, 3-bedroom Cottage-style home plan. Adequate storage space is provided by the drawers under the lower bunks (House Plan #168-1128).




6.  Bathroom Fixtures – Next to kitchen essentials, bathroom fixtures and accents are high on the list of homeowners, especially those who are thinking of renovating their existing bathrooms. Built-in tubs, vanities, and open shelves that range in style from the retro to the contemporary and the traditional can give your bath an exciting new look. 



Attractive bathroom built-ins

A mix of free-standing and built-in features adds to the appeal of this modern bathroom in a 3-bedroom Craftsman-style home plan. The stand-alone tub blends well with the attractive built-in vanity (House Plan #108-1789).



Traditional built-ins in a Southern-style house plan

This classically traditional built-in bathtub enhances the spa-like atmosphere in the master bath of a 2-story, 4-bedroom Southern-style home plan (House Plan #190-1004).



7.  Bedroom Built-ins Some homeowners forego bathroom and kitchen fixtures by adding built-in elements to the bedrooms. These can range from headboards built into recessed areas, nightstands, bookshelves, cabinets, even breakfast nooks.



Master bedroom suite with built-ins around fireplace

Who needs a headboard when you can have something more fascinating? A shelf built into the wall above the bed – with small lamps and vases with dried flowers – is the striking accent in this master bedroom



8.  Dining Bench A traditional dining table with chairs may not always be the answer for a small space. Some designers and builders have successfully experimented with built-in dining benches or banquettes.   



Built-in kitchen dining bench

No space for a regular table? Try a built-in dining bench with storage space underneath. 
(Photo credit: Brian T. for The Plan Collection)



9.  Nook Niches – It’s amazing what you can do with irregularly-shaped corners and walls. A little bit of imagination and a “do-it-yourself” spirit can transform these spaces into something cozy and functional. 



Unusual niche built-in on a second-story stair landing

This space beneath an irregularly-shaped niche in a 2-story, 4-bedroom Southern-style home plan is transformed into a snug home office by installing built-in wall shelves. The lower shelf serves as a desk; the top one with built-in cabinets is for documents and office supplies (House Plan #190-1004)



10.  Desks/Study Areas Whether in the kitchen, the bonus room, or a child’s bedroom, built-in desks and study areas can be designed according to the floor plan and the individual’s specific needs.   



Built-in desk area in a utility room - laundry room

A convenient and homey work area is created by building wall shelves and a desk in this otherwise empty wall space in the utility room. Take a look at the cabinets, drawers, and open shelves for additional storage. (Plan #153-2088)



Stunning desk area built into a loft area at the top of the stairs

Here’s a stunning and bigger desk with drawers, cabinets, and open shelves for books, supplies, and décor items - built into an otherwise unused loft space. 



11.  Under-Stairs Drawers or Shelves – No longer a hiding place or a room for Harry Potter, the space under the stairs holds a number of possibilities for built-in storage ideas.



Custom-built children's playhouse built into underneath the staircase

Fascinating and functional: A custom-built childrens playhouse is designed effectively as a built-in under the staircase. (Plan #161-1067).



12.  Room Dividers An open floor design doesn’t necessarily mean no private space. With some imagination, you can build innovative room dividers to define areas in the Great Room – living room, dining, game room, and more.  



Lovely built-in room divider in open floor plan

This column divider with open arched entries separates the living room from the dining area and billiards space in a 2-story, 4-bedroom Contemporary-style Mountain West home paln (House Plan #161-1000).



13.  Shoe Shelves – Tired of shoe racks for your “oh-so-many-pairs of shoes”? How about an innovative floor-to-ceiling built-in wall shelf with cubby holes for your shoe collection? Ideal for a walk-in closet.



Utility can be attractive: wall of shoe and other storage shelves in walk-in closet off of master bathroom

An interesting and space-saving concept for storing shoes: a floor-to-ceiling built-in wall shelf



14.  Fireplace Niche – If you have a fireplace and some empty space around it, consider built-in cabinets, a media center, wall shelves, or bookcases to maintain the overall design and balance in the room.



Built-in fireplace niche with shelving and woodwork

While the fireplace is the “eye-catcher” in this delightful family room of a 3-bedroom Craftsman-style home plan, built-in wall shelves with cabinets enhance the overall look. Display items fill one wall shelf, with an entertainment center on the other side (House Plan #108-1789).



15.  Entertainment Center – From the bare essentials design to the most elaborate, a built-in media center brings not only the movie theater and other entertainment to the comfort of your home, but can also fulfill storage needs. Like most built-ins, the media center can be adapted to floor plans and the home’s architectural style.  



Modern media center with storage cabinets above and below

A simple but functional built-in media center – along with the fireplace – is the perfect touch in this very cozy and comfortable family room of a 2-story, 5-bedroom European-style Country house plan. Cabinets on top and below provide storage space (Home Plan #161-1030).


Wonderful white entertainment center with shelving, cabinets, and doors

A beautifully-designed white built-in media center is the main attraction in this living room. Cabinets with glass doors give an “open shelf” look and provide storage space. Note the additional cabinets below the large-screen television.   



Are you ready for a new look in your home interiors? Get set for an adventure in custom built-ins, and create a lot of interesting and stylish storage space in your home. Share your own ideas or reactions to ours in the comments section below.



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