7 Renovators Used Custom Bookcases to Build Their Own Library

by Jennifer Malise

7 ideas of custom bookcases to house a collection of books—whether you own 20 or 200

If you live with a book lover, you know that one book can quickly multiply into ten. It’s the kind of proliferation that seems to grow overnight, filling shelves, tabletops, and chairs until every surface is covered in books. But you don’t have to get rid of your treasure trove to reclaim your space (thank goodness!). Instead, think storage from custom bookshelves—from built-ins and open shelving to unique designs. For everyone who’s ever tripped over an errant book that found its way onto the rug, these custom bookshelf ideas from Sweeten homeowners will come as a welcome relief.

Statement bookcases

bookshelvesBuilding custom bookcases around their fireplace was a must-have for Cat and Jordan. Their generous collection of books needed a home. Looking to design a clean, modern home, built-ins and skim coating for smooth walls did the trick. The varied spines of the books bring an added bonus of color and vibrancy to their space.

Custom shelves for dining rooms

Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, dining room, renovationMost New Yorkers would choose to add more closets to their apartment, rather than remove them. But for Sheilaja and Sergio, a renovation goal of having a larger, open dining room was impeded by two closets in the entryway. They removed the closets and nearly doubled the size of their available space for the dining room. They added custom bookshelf storage in the dining room to showcase a mix of photographs, paintings, and drawings.

Custom bookcases add hallway organization

book shelvesCooking and entertaining enthusiasts Jessica and Jesse bought their Clinton Hill co-op knowing the apartment needed renovation help, especially for their favorite room—the kitchen. During construction, their contractor reserved square footage from the kitchen to widen their hallway. This added space allowed them to add in a long, built-in custom bookshelf. A functional, expanded kitchen and more space in the foyer? That’s a renovation win-win.

Built-in custom bookcases in a foyer

entrywayA classic apartment problem: how to make the best use out of a small or oddly-shaped entryway. Luckily, Hudson Yards homeowners Jeremy and Chris found a Sweeten contractor skilled in custom millwork to maximize their entryway. They solved their storage issue with a full-height bookcase with 8” deep shelves. A happy surprise: the 8″ shelves hold much more than they expected!

Wall-to-wall shelves for books, trinkets

living spaceWe’ve said it before: the right general contractor really can make your design dreams come true especially for a unique home feature. In Mimi’s case, her partnership with her contractor resulted in a custom, floor-to-ceiling, 18-foot bookshelf for her Gramercy apartment.

Save space with bookcases

bookshelvesFloor space can be scarce in a studio or one bedroom, a fact of life that Casey and Kumar had accepted. Rather than building their custom bookshelves from the ground up, the couple placed them over the living room sofa. This allowed them to use the full length of the wall to fit as many shelves as possible. The storage keeps their collection organized and within reach, making it easy to grab a book for a good read.

Naturally divide a room (and show off your literary collection!)

Making an open plan kitchen space feel harmonious can be challenging, especially when the adjoining space is a living room. Melissa and Russ didn’t want to feel like they were always in their kitchen. To provide separation, they added a partial wall, which housed a customized, built-in bookshelf in their living room. To be complementary, their contractor built a frame for the bookshelf with a lacquer panel that matched the kitchen’s framing.

Ready to kickstart your own custom bookshelf project?
Post your renovation details on Sweeten to start getting matched with our experts in custom built-ins!

Our cost guide on custom built-ins will bring you one step closer to the library of your dreams.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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