Clutter? Craft a Bult-In Bookcase
People may be reading fewer print books nowadays, but they still need shelf space for storage and display.That’s where a custom built-in bookcase can help, both for organization and as a room’s handsome focal point.
“Bookcases are used for a lot more than just books these days. They provide space to showcase your most treasured collections of things,” says Lindsey Putzier, owner of Lindsey’s Eclectic Interiors in Hudson, Ohio. “They also function as another form of decorative woodwork, like crown molding or wainscoting.”
Joseph Dangaran, AIA LEED AP, partner with Los Angeles-based architectural firm Woods + Dangaran, notes that a custom bookcase or open-faced cabinet built into or onto a wall has advantages over freestanding units.
“They can be designed to complement any decor or architectural style and size, material, and configuration and can be added to the home exactly where storage is needed without compromising convenience,” says Dangaran. “Also, they’re durable and secure, unlike flimsy, tip-prone portable shelving, and they can be subtle or statement-making if you desire.”
Nearly any room can benefit. “In family rooms, homeowners use built-ins to showcase art, treasures picked up during travels, family heirlooms, or fun collections of pottery or sculpture. In kids’ bedrooms, children will often display toys, games, school art projects and stuffed animals. And basement bookshelves often house more adult-oriented items like glass collections, sports memorabilia and liquor bottles,” adds Putzier.
Homeowners are recommended to choose the same wood species they may already have in the room selected for the bookcase. If you have stained woodwork/trim in the room, it’s best to stain your built-in bookcase similarly; if your woodwork is painted, choose the same hue for your cabinet or bookcase.
“Or you can choose to paint the built-in a contrasting color to make it visually pop,” suggests Putzier. “For an even more unique look, consider wallpapering the back of the built-in shelves.”
Crafting a built-in bookcase won’t be cheap; expect to pay from $300-$500 for a DIY project to a few thousand dollars if you hire a pro and opt for lots of fine detail, says Putzier.
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