If you’re building a house, remodeling your existing house, or refurnishing, you may be considering built-in furniture. Naturally, you’ll have a lot of questions: why built-ins? Which furnishings should I build in? Where should I put it? Will I regret it? How much will it cost?
While you’ll have to make that choice on your own, there are many factors to take into consideration before decision time.
First, weigh the pros and cons of built-ins.
Advantages of built-in furniture:
- Clears floor space for an open, airy feel and easy passage
- May be customized to your needs and tastes
- More subtle than heavy furniture
- Efficient use of space, especially small or oddly-shaped spaces
Disadvantages of built-in furniture:
- Permanence; difficulty in changing shelf or cubby configuration or removing entirely (you’re “stuck” with it in case of damage or style change)
- Impossible to transfer to a new home
- Often (but not always) more expensive than freestanding furniture
- Limiting; once it’s in, you can’t move it to another part of the room or house
If you’ve decided that built-ins are right for you, now you’ll need to decide what you want to build in! The options are limitless; build in to any room to create a custom home.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Bedroom: headboards, closets, dresser, night stand
- Bathroom: vanity, tub, shelves
- Living room: shelves, media center, seating
- Hallway & transitional spaces: bookshelves, desk, storage, window seat
- Laundry room: drying racks, ironing cabinet, shelves for supplies, pet bed, appliances
- Mudroom or entry: cubbies, hooks, benches
- Dining room: china closet, buffet
- Kitchen: banquette, appliances
Surprisingly, built-ins may seem like the epitome of luxury, but they can actually be more cost-effective than freestanding furniture. A built-in unit will save you from hunting for the perfectly-sized piece (that may cost a lot due to an unusual shape). You can also get creative with DIY built-ins; check out IKEA Hackers (and this post from Good Housekeeping) to see how you can transform that nondescript bookcase!
Now go reevaluate all those “useless” spaces in your house!