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Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

by | Jan 6, 2009 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space
House Beautiful

My new house doesn’t have any built ins, but eventually I’d love to add some. I think built in shelving, benches, bookshelves and cabinetry not only add a lot of storage but pump up the character as well.

I do love freestanding furniture, but built ins give everything a streamlined solid feeling that I really like. I especially love banquettes and window seats!

I am busy unpacking (yay, the movers came!) so while I am getting settled, enjoy these photos for “built in inspiration!”

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

Country Living

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

House Beautiful

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

Sunset Magazine

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

Better Homes & Gardens

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space


Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

House Beautiful

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

House Beautiful

Built Ins: Making Good Use of Space

Better Homes & Garden


  1. Kristen

    Yay! The movers came! You have your things. How nice. And I absolutely love the picture of that bathroom. It’s just beautiful.

    Happy unpacking!

  2. Becky K.

    We built in bookshelves and cabinets in our family room. We put track lighting up to feature some of the cubbies where I have some favorite pieces. It is one of my favorite places in our house.

    Hope your unpacking is fun!
    Setting up a new house is a blast if you have the time to
    devote to it.

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..The Fox, The Turkeys and More…

  3. Beverly

    Good for you, Melissa. You’ll be making that new house into a lovely home before you know it. I can’t wait for you to share more pictures with us.

    God bless you all on this new step in your lives.

    Beverlys inspiring blog post..It Lingers On My Mind

  4. debi

    I’m glad to hear the movers arrived…have fun unpacking!
    Love the photos of the built-ins. We have a bay window that I’d love to have a window seat in. Maybe I’ll try to inspire my dh to build one!

    [email protected] in my studios inspiring blog post..Feeling Inspired

  5. coco

    Loved the picture of your new home…can’t wait to see more! I have been thinking about built ins a lot as we think about building again to downsize…they are great for added storage and for smaller areas. Happy unpacking…I always love how everything seems new again when you take it to a new home.

  6. Jan

    Yeah!!! I’m so glad your movers got there!! I bet you’ve NEVER been so happy to UNPACK anything in your life!!!

    We have lots of built-ins in our home…and just love ’em!!!


    Jans inspiring blog post..TRASH to TREASURE Tuesday

  7. Terri Steffes

    Remember yesterday I told you we were looking at a 75 + year old house? Well, this is why! The built ins in this house are amazing. So, if that is what is drawing me to it, then I can certainly ask for built ins in something new! I know Bob will be thrilled!

    Terri Steffess inspiring blog post..Tiger Stripe Ice Cream

  8. Mary Beth (Cats, Books, Life is Good)

    I cannot see window seats without wanting to curl up with a good book and a cat! And they are wonderful for hiding a myriad of sins when you need a quick clean-up:)

    Mary Beth (Cats, Books, Life is Good)s inspiring blog post..2009 READING CHALLENGES

  9. Robin

    I’m so glad the movers came! What beautiful inspiration! I love coming to your site and seeing all the beautiful pics!

    Robins inspiring blog post..Fasting

  10. jenifriend in kansas

    I also love built-ins!! I have been also keeping my eye out for local bars in restoration-mode to throw away some of their bar booths with the high backs…I think they would be great to add to an entertainment space near a bar and pool table. They wouldn’t be built in, but we couldn’t certainly lend the appearance that they are!!

    jenifriend in kansass inspiring blog post..Kaizen Solution Saves You Money

  11. Emily

    I am so glad you posted this, Melissa! We have a spot in our house that we’ve changed up a bit and I want to put in a window seat with built in bookcases on either side. I needed some inspirational photos. I agree that built ins add character that most furniture can’t.

  12. Pam

    Hi Melissa, I wanted to comment on your beautiful home yesterday but the comment section kept locking up.So…beautiful! We built a home 15 years ago and have added built ins and molding over the years to add a vintage feel without the vintage repairs of an older home. So go for it, it can be equally charming in a new home. (I left a link on my blog to your Beautiful Life Fridays, great idea, Can’t wait ’til Friday) Pam

  13. Mary Beth

    I love the pictures and the inspiration. I have no built ins in my house. I am trying to create the look in my game room/family room/craft room {small house-everything does double or triple duty} by using bookshelves on each side of the main windows. I do, however, just look at the pictures on your site and pretend this is what my house looks like. :)

  14. Jen

    This is next on our mini project list. We have a 16 x8′ wall in our living room with a picture window and door in it. The plan is to build a floor to ceiling bookcase on wall space there. Maybe a bench under the window.

    I can’t wait it’s going to look awesome.

    Jens inspiring blog post..Playing Around

  15. Jenny

    Love the built-ins! I have none, but would like to put some in my home too.
    Good luck with the unpacking!

  16. Vee

    Phew! I’m so glad that your things have already arrived. I was wondering how long you’d have to wait.

    The built-ins you’ve shown are great. Some are, of course, much easier to accomplish than others. Is your dh handy? Personally, I love the window seats and the shelves under the stairs.

    Vees inspiring blog post..Illustrating a Point

  17. Eileen

    Since our home is a modern craftsman style, built ins are everywhere around here – and I really love them. It makes for great out-of-sight storage and efficient use of the space, it even helps with resale values. I also like that built ins allow us to purchase less furniture: a built-in instead of a freestanding entertainment center, built-in instead of a eat-in kitchen table, etc., etc.

    Beautiful pictures again today ! Blessings, Eileen

  18. Rosie's Whimsy

    Excellent. Yay Movers!

    Love the window seats. I wish I’d have planned for that when we built our home 5 years a go. It would be great to keep one empty so that if unexpected company came. You could just sweep everything into it and deal with it after they left!!

    Rosie’s Whimsys inspiring blog post..A New Toy

  19. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

    I love built-in windowseats most of all. I don’t have any, but I love them.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

    Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wifes inspiring blog post..Two Dog Night

  20. Pretty Organizer

    Built in’s are in my dream home. Maybe I’ll get a few now that hubby has his dream saw.

    Favorite inspiration today… THAT BLACK CHAIR with the Medallion face on the back! What a find! May have to put that in my book!

    Pretty Organizer

    Pretty Organizers inspiring blog post..Kitchen Cabinet Make-Overs

  21. teresa

    When you said the mover came I did a little happy dance for you- I was afraid you might be waiting awhile-
    In our home we have several built ins and I love them, I also wish I had a kitchen banquette – maybe someday
    Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

  22. Lorrie

    Yay for the movers! Now for the unpacking and settling in!

    Built-ins are wonderful. Tim and I were saying the other day that in every house we’ve lived we’ve added tons of storage space – shelves in closets, cabinets, etc. Most houses come with so little. My dream built-in is a window seat with a wide sill to hold my cup of tea, and lots of cozy cushions for those rare moments when I have nothing to do but gaze out the window!

    May your busy day be filled with joy.


  23. Misti

    Great ideas and pictures! I too will one day have a banquet built in my kitchen. We have the perfect bay window just waiting for it! My hubby is not so handy, think it will be me that has to do it. So glad your things arrived, hooray!

    Misti @ Studio M Designss inspiring blog post..Step Inside my Kitchen: My favorite place in the house

  24. Mandy

    Hi! I have been following your blog for awhile now and I love the pictures you select! Congrats on the new place and that the movers finally came. :) I love built-ins! My husband has done a few for our small home to really help with using the space efficiently. Happy unpacking!

  25. Amy

    Great inspiration! I’ve been wanting to get some ideas for window seats. I stumbled:-)

    Amy @ Living Locurtos inspiring blog post..Reverse Sign Painting

  26. LeAnn

    Hi Melissa,

    Yay you are unpacking, that’s the fun part!! I love putting a new household together. It is very therapeutic!!! We have a massive built-in in our lr/dr and it has definitely been my decorating challenge. I don’t want it too cluttered but if you don’t put enough, it looks too sparse. If anything challenges my decorating skills, that is definitely it. We did paint it from an oak to white and wallpapered the back of it.

    Have fun, but not too much!!


    LeAnns inspiring blog post..There’s a few little things left to do BUT…

  27. Susan

    I also love built-ins that look like furniture with the feet on them, etc.

    Good luck in your new home/ministry

  28. Michelle

    Love the built ins and your blog!

    Michelles inspiring blog post..No Pants Day

  29. The Mrs.

    I can’t wait to see your new house!

  30. LuLu

    Yes, I wish all homes came with built ins… on my wish list one day.
    Have fun unpacking and placing all your treasures.

    LuLus inspiring blog post..Pantry Shopping

  31. mary

    Love all built-ins, especially in this little house of mine. Wishing you the happiest of times in your new home. :)

    marys inspiring blog post..Resolutions

  32. Jill

    I especially love built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and window seats.

    I’m glad you can unpack now! Have fun putting everything in it’s place – it’s so much more enjoyable than packing!

    Jills inspiring blog post..A New Year, A New Word

  33. Stephanie

    Beautiful inspiration pics! And I love that huge pedestal base kitchen table!!

    Your new home looks lovely. Can’t wait to see more of it!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

    Stephanies inspiring blog post..New Years Cozy Giveaway from Joy!!

  34. Lisa

    All those built-ins are fabulous! So glad the movers made it!

    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolatess inspiring blog post..Tea for Two-sday ~ Teavana

  35. Cathleen

    Really beautiful inspiration pics, and I love your new Home! I’m new here but really excited to check back and see what you have for 2009….. :-)


    Cathleens inspiring blog post..My Green Bug

  36. Maven

    You always find the best pictures. I have one built in but am realizing I have the perfect spot for a window seat…

    Mavens inspiring blog post..Advertising

  37. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    Happy New Year Melissa! Where to start – well first off…LOVE your NEW home! It is fabulous and you will enjoy it so much more than an older home. Perhaps it will leave you more time to accomplish all of your New Year goals, too.

    Winston looks so cute in his little red sweater. I hope he is adjusting to his new home. Lots of new smells and sounds to discover for sure!

    Thank you for all of the wonderful photos. As always, it is such a treat to visit you!


  38. Niesz Vintage Home

    In a small home, builtins are a life-saver when it comes to storage.
    Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. Great inspiration.

    Kimberly :)

  39. Donna

    I LOVE your new house……… charming. The built ins will be great, I wish I had some……Great Blog!

    Donnas inspiring blog post..Operation REORGANIZE

  40. Becky

    Congratulations on your home and your move. Built ins are not used today as often as they could be. we had a built in put in our master bedroom–the builder thought it was weird, but it used some space that would have been totally dead wall space. We love it!

    Beckys inspiring blog post..A Magic Wardrobe?

  41. Natalie

    I love your site! You have such great tips :) How do I add you to my “favorites” list?

  42. Irene

    Oh the amount of work you put into your posts!

    Irenes inspiring blog post..Paradise

  43. Pam D.

    Oh, how I agree about built-ins! I moved into my site-built condo (looks like a quaint cottage) 4 yrs ago and have been dreaming of putting a window seat in the living room (I’ve always wanted one — since I was a kid in the 60’s when I dreamed of one in my bedroom). I’d also love to put in some built in bookshelves eventually, or even a little niche like you see in the old black and white movies from the 40’s. I love all the character they give a place. Mouldings too. If I only had money to spend –always have to wait to do just one little change a year at tax return time. But I did get to makeover my kitchen by pulling down wallpaper and putting up white beadboard (the cabinetry was already white) and it so refreshes me every time I step in the room, especially with the colonial blue of the living room adjoining. Thanks for all the lovely photos to inspire!

  44. Internet Strategist

    Great selection of built-in ideas. What I’d really love to see is built-outs. :-) I’d love to have a window box to grow herbs for the window over the kitchen sink and a larger one with planter boxes on three sides and a padded bench that slides into the center for storage. There could be hanging planters over the planter boxes so any extra water would drip into them. Then I could sit on the bench to tend some indoor vegetables year ’round. If you ever see something like that I’d love to see it. In the meantime, I’ve shared this post at FriendFeed. Found you because you’re using CommentLuv. I hope you and your readers who are interested in better blogging will come by and visit.

    Internet Strategists inspiring blog post..Blogging Best Practices: Enabling Your Readers to Subscribe to Comments

  45. Amber

    OOOHHH these pictures make my heart happy!

    Ambers inspiring blog post..Really don’t know what to say to this…

  46. Ellice

    I’m very new to this site but enjoy reading the various hopes, plans and successes expressed by you.

    I’m writing to ask if anyone has any information about how to make a comfortable window seat for a 3-window bay window in a kitchen. I am visualizing an over-stuffed version that is comfortable and easy to get in and out of. I would like to use a round or oval table as my dining table. I am trying to create a welcoming and comfortable conversation/eating area within the kitchen. The main window is approx. 48″ with two small side windows measuring 22″. It would be perfect for a straight bench, but they just don’t look all that comfortable to me. There is enough wall space under the windows to put back pillows and would like to preserve the bay window shape to some degree in the seating.

    I’ve checked the internet and the libray already. Any suggestions, photos, plans, etc. would be appreciated. Thank you.

  47. DaniellaT

    I am totally addicted to having bookshelves everywhere. I would love to have a floor to ceiling bookshelf, and then the one you have in your post with the under stairs bookshelf. I’d be in heaven! I read about 3 books a week!


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