Install Closets and Built-ins to Save Space, Add Charm

Photo: Jeremy Levine/flickrAn acquaintance of mine has just embarked on what promises to be a great adventure. She and her husband recently bought a new home and before they move in, plan on remodeling from the ground up. Having lived through more than one hair-raising remodel myself, I am happy to report that they are working closely with an experienced designer, who is also a creative, think-out-of-the-box professional. One of her suggestions was that they install good-looking custom closets and built-in furniture in several rooms to make the most of their floor space.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Built-ins

Ordering furniture and closets built in to suit your own individual needs and your home's layout offers a number of benefits. Built-ins are generally less expensive to commission than freestanding custom pieces, yet they can utilize small or awkwardly shaped spaces (such as the under-stairs area or the few inches of kitchen "real estate" between your fridge and the wall) to the best advantage. They give a neat, trim feeling to any room and are a fantastic storage solution. However, built-in furniture which is constructed of poor quality materials or in overwhelming quantities may have a negative impact on your home's marketability should you decide to sell. Make sure, too, that it will be possible eventually to modify the appearance of your built-ins, perhaps by painting or adding molding, in case you want to update the design some day.

Custom Built Closets

Eliminating household clutter is a top concern for many homeowners. Be aware that this problem can be solved beautifully by having a carpenter construct built-in closets for bedrooms which previously had little to no closet space. Position organizational features like hanging rods, partitions, drawers, shelving, shoe racks, and rollout storage bins precisely where they will be most convenient for you. Then add such luxurious extras as a full-length mirror, a bench or loveseat, or a dressing table. Don't forget adequate lighting and ventilation.


In the public areas of your home -- for instance, the living room or kitchen -- attractive built-in shelving lends itself wonderfully to a multitasking role, serving as both storage and display. No need to hide away your prized collection, whatever your passion may be -- books, antique glassware, or ceramic frogs, to give a few examples; custom bookcases or shelves will allow you to show it off in style. Pretty and practical built-in shelving is also perfect in the bathroom for providing easy access to essentials such as extra towels or toiletries.

Entertainment Center

With the popularity of sophisticated home multimedia, a handsome built-in entertainment center can become the focal point of your great room or family den. Include a bracket for secure mounting of your flat-screen TV, room for audio and video equipment plus accessories, and suitable lighting. You might also want to incorporate a charger center to neatly tuck away all those stray wires from your smartphone and other electronics.

Dining or Breakfast Nook

There's something that we find very charming about a breakfast nook, whether its primary use is for your morning or evening meal. Either the seating or the table (or both!) can be built-in, preferably in a sunny spot near a window. A comfy banquette or two might open up for extra storage of kitchen linens and utensils. Constructing a dining nook with built-in furniture will create a cozy, casual eating spot, close enough to the food prep area for Mom or Dad to keep an eye on the kids and the cooking at the same time.

Laura Firszt writes for

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