30 Ways to DIY Your Own Built In Shelves

It’s generally thought that owners of old homes reap many beautiful benefits from their living space. Older homes like to show off with honeyed wood floors, thick strong trim, and beautiful built-in shelves and cabinets. Some people have found ways to bring these traditional elements into newer homes to give the house a storied feel, but rarely will you see built-in shelves in a new home.

Most seem to think that built ins are for old homes only. However, there are ways to can make your own built in shelves. No matter how old your home is, it will benefit from a little extra storage space. Take a look at these 30 ways to DIY your own built in shelves and no one will know that your home didn’t come with them.

Simple DIY Built-In Shelves to Add More Storage Space to Your Home

1. Kitchen Built-In Shelves for Your Utensils and Spices

View in gallery

A few extra shelves can come in really handy in the kitchen where there’s usually a lot to store. The shelves can be shallow like the ones featured on instructables and you can create this really cool structure with them where you can have modules of different shapes and sizes. They’re perfect for storing and organizing spices, bottles, utensils, and so on. 

2. Add Built-In Shelves To The Bathroom

View in gallery

This is another great idea: to add built-in shelved to the bathroom. This room is usually small without much space to spare for things like decorations and accent pieces. Shelves however are an exception because they can be very practical. This design from instructables is nice and simple, custom made to be recessed into the wall between two studs. 

3. A Built-In Bookcase with Various Sections

View in gallery

A built-in bookcase can also look amazing and can help to frame a room in a practical and beautiful way. You can build the bookcase as a series of sections that fit together sort of like a modular system. You can have fixed sections for the top and the bottom and removable shelves in between. There’s a nice tutorial on instructions which explains how something like this can be designed and put together. 

4. Turn an Empty Wall Space Into a Storage Solution

View in gallery

A great way to use an empty wall space in a hallway or in a space like a bedroom for example is by turning it into a built-in wardrobe. You can have the unit made out of plywood and it can have a super simple frame and a basic design. Then you can build a fake wall around it and make it look as if it’s built into it. It’s a nice way to achieve a simple and modern look. Check out instructables for additional details about this sort of project. 

5. A Large Corner Built-In Bookcase

View in gallery

Doesn’t this built-in bookcase look wonderful? It’s simple but it fills this corner so well. It’s a perfect addition to a bedroom or a living area and you can have a comfortable chair placed nearby so you can use this as a reading nook. The shelves are made of hardwood and have an open back design so they don’t cover up the wall completely. More details about the project can be found on instructables.

6. Place a Built-In Bookcase Between Two Windows

View in gallery

Here’s another beautiful built-in bookcase, this time placed between two windows. These wall sections are usually left empty because it’s difficult to find a piece of furniture that fits in that spot. Of course, since we’re talking about a DIY project, that’s something you can easily deal with. You get to measure and plan the design and structure of the bookcase however you see fit so it doesn’t become an eyesore. Check out this particular design on instructables to find out more about it. 

7. Make Use of the Wasted Space Underneath Your Staircase

View in gallery

Another space that’s difficult to furnish is the area underneath the staircase. Why let this space go to waste when you can put it to good use? There are many different ways in which you can do that and one of the easiest most DIY-friendly options is to add a few built-in shelves. You can use them for storage for things like shoes, bags, books, and so on or you can have a bunch of decorations displayed on them. Either way, check out this youtube video to see how you can build them from scratch. 

8. A Step-by-Step Tutorial for a Large Set of Built-In Shelves

View in gallery

Large furniture pieces such as wall units can be quite intimidating because of their size. That however doesn’t mean they’re impossible to build. Anything can be turned into a DIY project and a good plan is to separate a big project into smaller sections and steps. Take these built-in shelves for example. The tutorial, which you can find on youtube, explains how they were made and makes this whole project sound a lot less overwhelming. 

9. DIY Floating Shelves for an Empty Wall Space

View in gallery

Floating shelves are super versatile and a lot of times they’re the perfect answer when you’re trying to figure out how to fill an empty space on a wall or how to add more storage to a room. You can make them look really stylish and sleek by hiding all the hardware. This video tutorial on youtube shows you exactly how it’s done. 

10. Furnish a Walk-In Closet with a Custom Designed Set of Shelves

View in gallery

With proper planning, you can even take on a large project like furnishing a large walk-in closet. It’s important in this case to come up with a custom design that suits your needs and a great starting point is this wonderful and inspiring makeover project featured on youtube. It shows the transformation of this walk-in closet from a less than practical space into one that’s packed with different storage solutions and everything you see was built from scratch. 

A Few Interior Design Ideas Featuring Built-In Shelves

11. Make the Most of the Space in Your Bedroom by Creating Book Nooks

View in gallery

There are many instances where built-in shelves can be very practical and also look great in a room and this is one of them. The shelves here are positioned on either side of the window, creating storage nooks for books and other items and freeing this small bedroom of other more bulky furniture pieces. It’s a lovely design by Dolphin Architects & Builders

12. A Welcoming Living Room With Built-In Shelves

View in gallery

Here’s a very welcoming and inviting living room which has built-in shelves positioned to the left and to the right of the fireplace, framing not just the fireplace but the windows as well. Notice the shelves are white to match the wall behind them and to maintain a clean and airy ambiance in the room. This is a project by studio Bensonwood.

13. Built-In Shelves by Bay Windows

View in gallery

Bay windows are designed to add more wall space to a room and to bring more natural light inside and they create perfect spots for cozy reading nooks. On that note, they go really well with built-in shelves. In this living room by Design Logic Limited the shelves fill in the gaps between the windows and the two adjacent walls and perfectly frame this sitting nook. 

14. Integrate Built-In Shelves Into Wall Unit Designs

View in gallery

As everyone knows, built-in shelves can be integrated into lots of wall unit designs and are very commonly used in living rooms together with various types of cabinetry. This custom-built entertainment center is an example of how different elements can be combined in a homogenous structure that’s both practical and space-efficient. This is a design by Martha O’Hara Interiors.

15. Bright and Contemporary Shelving Solutions

View in gallery

There’s really no particular style that built-in shelves are associated with. They’re one of the staples in modern and contemporary design but they also fit all other styles as well. Take for example this traditional living room by designer Lorraine G Vale. Shelves are part of its design but they suit the theme of the décor and they adapt to the surroundings. 

16. Piece Together Store-Bought Shelves to Build a Wall Unit

View in gallery

Before you skip over the whole post, know that you don’t have to possess crazy woodworking skills to feature built in bookshelves in your home. Use IKEA bookcases that are easily pieced together and finish with a bit of trim around the top for that built in look.

17. Build Built-In Bookcases from Scratch for Your Home Office

View in gallery

Do you need more storage in your home office? Build some built in bookcases from scratch to fit your needs. Then you get to decide which shelves are for boxes, which are for books and which are for all your tchotchkes.

18. Trim the Edges of Your Shelving for an Authentic Built-In Look

View in gallery

One of the aspects of built in shelving that makes it look original to the room is the lack of space at the ceiling. The tops are tightly trimmed with molding to make it seem as though that built in has been there since day one. So after you finish building your shelves, make sure you trim the edges to get that authentic built in look.

19. Add Shelving to Your Playroom

View in gallery

Living rooms and offices aren’t the only places that can benefit from built in shelving. Make some for your playroom too! Whether custom or hacked, it will give you a space for all those bins and books that looks fabulous at the end of the day.

20. Include a Reading Nook with Your Built-In Shelves

View in gallery

While you’re building, you might as well figure out how to include a reading nook into your built in shelves. That seat between the stacks will become a favorite spot for you, your kids, your dog, and anyone else who comes into your home.

21. Add Cabinets on the Bottom Half Instead of Shelving

View in gallery

Maybe you’re thinking that your built in shelves need a little more hidden storage. Opt for cabinets on the bottom half instead of shelving. This option gives you the opportunity for a countertop like shelf to hold lamps and other larger pieces.

22. Add Doors Over Your Shelves

View in gallery

Or, go ahead and go door crazy over your shelves. With glass fronts plus solid fronts, you end up with a really neat wall of cabinets that gives you plenty of hiding space and keeping your display space. Plus it all looks so uniform no matter what you put in them.

23. Make the Most of Empty Spaces in Your Home

View in gallery

Sometimes you have a space in your home that just screams for some built in action, like a fireplace or a wall with just your TV on it. Flank your existing element with built in bookshelves to create a cohesive traditional look you can be proud of.

24. Build A Set of Library Shelves from the Wall

View in gallery

Don’t have a nook to fit your built in shelves into? No worries. Build a set of library shelves out from the wall. Once you’ve installed some lights and styled the heck out of those shelves, it will feel natural in your space.

25. Styling Built-In Shelves with High Ceilings

View in gallery

While we might envy those who own a home with high ceilings, it can be hard to style all that space well. Adding you’re own built-in shelves can give you decorating access to all that extra head space in a snap.

26. Transform Your Basement Into an Office With DIY Built In Shelves

Transform Your Basement Into an Office with diy built in shelvesView in gallery

Make the most of any dead space in your basement by creating a home office with built-in shelves for storage. So many of us are finding ourselves still working at home, so why not make a purpose-built study. You’ll have plenty of space to store files and books you may need to complete your work each day with these built-in shelves from Lemon Thistle. Of course, you could use this design and apply it to any room in your home that’s in need of a large amount of storage.

27. Custom Built-In Shelves

Custom Built-In Shelves diy

No two homes are exactly the same, which means everyone has different requirements when it comes to built-in shelves and their size. These custom built-in shelves from Lucy Jo Home can be entirely customized to your needs. If you just need a few shelves for books in your bedroom, they can be cut down to that size, or you could create a full wall of built-in shelves in your living room. These instructions will take you through everything you need to know to complete this project, making it a fun challenge to take on this year.

28. Recessed Wall Shelves

Recessed Wall Shelves diy built inView in gallery

Many wall shelves still stick out from the walls in some ways, which is why we love these recessed wall shelves. They are ideal for a small bathroom where you probably lack storage space but don’t want to risk hitting your head on more shelving. Better Homes & Gardens shares a full tutorial on how to create these recessed wall shelves, which you could add to any room in your home. We were impressed to learn that it only takes a few hours to complete this project, but it’s recommended for intermediate and advanced DIYers.

29. Reuse IKEA Bookshelves As A DIY Built In

Reuse IKEA BookshelvesView in gallery

You don’t have to spend a fortune to create built-in shelves thanks to this design from Lovely etc. The plans use IKEA Billy bookshelves, which are then made into a built-in bookcase. If you don’t fancy doing all of the carpentry work yourself, this is a great shortcut that will save you time without costing you a fortune. It also shows you how to make the furniture a little more expensive by removing the shelf pin holes and toe kick at the bottom.

30. DIY Built In Shelves For A Beautiful Living Room Display Unit

DIY Built In Shelves For A Beautiful Living Room Display UnitView in gallery

When you are looking to completely redecorate a room in your home, built-in shelves are a great option. This design from Home Designer Software takes up a full wall in your living room and creates a focal point for anyone entering the room to admire. We love the combination of open and covered shelving, so you can hide any clutter in the cabinets at the bottom. The open shelves can be used to store books or to put pretty ornaments out on display.

All of these ideas can be added into homes of any size and shape, and one of the great things about taking on the task of DIYing your own built-in shelves is that you can cut them down to fit a smaller space if needed. Built-in shelves help to add some much-needed storage to any home while also offering more decoration to any wall in your house.