Built-in Bookcase Ideas that Offer Opportunities for More Storage, More Personalization — all while adding value:

Personalize your space with these built-in bookcase ideas that also increase home value. These built-in bookcases offer the opportunity to combine highly functional storage with a unique and personal design statement.

Bookshelves are one category of the more generic term “wall unit,” meaning they are a storage unit that is usually constructed against a wall. Built-in bookshelves are always physically attached to a wall or other permanent feature of the home. This is what makes them “built-in” rather than a piece of freestanding furniture. Whereas furniture usually leaves with the homeowner when they sell the house or move, built-ins remain. This is why they can increase home value.

In Demand

Very popular during the early 1900’s American Craftsman era of design, built-in shelves are enjoying a resurgence in popularity among homeowners across the United States. Today’s built-in bookshelves encompass many more design styles than just Craftsman, reflecting the tastes of the individual homeowner and the make-up of the home. Built-in bookcases are practical for the added storage they provide. They also offer the potential for increased profits when it comes time to sell. The key to getting top dollar when it comes time to sell is the proper placement of the bookcase.

    Proven placements include:
  • Installation of a wall of bookshelves around a window or doorway.
  • A built-in bookcase around a fireplace to add warmth and personality
  • Bookshelves as a room divider
  • Bookshelves above the bed as a headboard
  • A wall of bookshelves as a giant piece of art

5 Great Places to Add a Wall of Bookshelves

  1. Add a wall of bookshelves around a window or doorway:

    built-in bookcase idea around a patio door
    Surround the sliding patio door with a wall of bookshelves.

    Bookshelves can help define the focal point of the room. Use built-in bookshelves as a frame for a beautiful view. Call attention the areas of your home that you most want to be noticed this way. Personalize them with family mementos and favorite objects to make them come alive, even when the window blinds are shut.

  2. Construct a built-in bookcase around a fireplace for warmth and personality:

    Built-in bookcase around a fireplace
    Surround the fireplace with a wall of bookshelves.

    Bookshelves as a fireplace surround are a traditional way to frame a fireplace. The bookshelves help solidify the fireplace as the focal point of the room. Use cabinet doors over the lower shelves to conceal storage areas that you don’t necessarily want in public view. Use the open shelves for favorite treasures, art, photos, and, of course, books. When combined with the warm glow of the hearth, they create a very cozy and inviting space.

  3. Use built-in bookshelves as a room divider:

    Bookcase design as room divider is a great built-in bookcase idea
    Make a very functional room divider with a wall of bookshelves.

    With the rise in popularity of open floor plans, many homes are missing the hallway. Bookshelves are a great way to separate spaces within a large room. Use them to help define the purpose of different areas. They can also provide privacy as in this example where the bookshelves close off the pathway to the bedrooms.

  4. Mount built-in bookshelves above the bed as a headboard:

    Bookcase design as headboard for bed
    Make a very personal headboard out of a wall of bookshelves.

    A bedroom, by its very essence, is an intimate space. Personalize the room further with a bookshelf wall unit that surrounds the bed and acts as a headboard. This type of built in bookcase adds unique storage. Depersonalize it when you move by easily removing your items from the shelves.

  5. Use your bookshelves as a giant piece of art:

    innovative shelving ideas as art installation
    Use bookshelves as a piece of art.

    Turn a wall of bookshelves into a highly personal art installation. Combine custom lighting with an overall theme to accomplish this. This example highlights the homeowner’s collection of statues and antique books. It is a highly personal installation that has a lot of meaning for the homeowner. She even went to far as to have the shelves arranged along the principals of Feng Shui. This creates a harmonious display of all her favorite items. However, these personal itmms are also easy to pack up and remove. This leaves a plain white bookcase behind for use by the next homeowner.

Other Built-In Bookcase Tips

Use Neutral Colors to Increase Resale Interest

Built-in bookshelves are a great way to include very creative and personal design elements in the home while simultaneously maintaining a neutral backdrop for resale. Neutral color choices are often preferred by realtors. They make the home appeal to the greatest number of buyers. However, when your color and design is achieved through the introduction of personal treasures displayed on shelving units, a large amount of personality can be injected into an otherwise neutral and easily changeable wrapper.

wall of bookshelves
Divide rooms with a wall of bookshelves.

Invest Wisely

Done right, built-in bookcases will increase the resale value of the home. Key features that add value include proper placement, high-quality construction, and flexibility through adjustable shelving configurations.

The added storage space from a built-in storage unit should increase the home’s value. Make sure it is appropriate to the function of the room. It must also be high quality and flexible enough to accommodate the next homeowner’s storage needs. For example, a wall of quality built-in bookshelves in the den or home office will most likely increase home value. They are appropriate to the function of the room and add practical storage to the area. The same bookshelves in the bathroom or dining room might be looked at as something that needs to be changed by the next homeowner. (If you like to read while on the toilet or use your formal dining room as an office, enclose the shelves behind doors. This provides a high-end cabinetry look. Or use freestanding bookcases that are not permanent).

  • Quality of material is critical, as well as the skill in which it is assembled. Less than professional handiwork is easy to spot and could decrease rather than increase your home’s value.
  • Flexibility is important. Make sure your built-ins can accommodate the next owner’s different possessions. This is easily achieved by making at least some of the shelves adjustable. That way, they can be moved around.
  • Built-ins that display poor quality due to substandard material or installation never increase home value. They will be the first thing home buyers tear out when they move into a new home.

Go For It

With a little forethought and maybe some help from the pros, you can design a beautiful floor to ceiling bookcase for your home that will provide a lot of enjoyment and a fabulous way to display all your favorite treasures. All while recouping the cost to build it when your home is sold.

Reproduced with permission. This article first appeared on our parent company website closetworks.com

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