Five Simple Tips to Customize "Non-Custom" Built-Ins

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-ins diy

When you want built-in cabinets, but don't have the budget for custom woodworking, try doing what we and so many others have done - go the DIY route!  This was actually the very first project we DIY'd in this house.

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling ikea one room challenge

Renovations make you prioritize where to spend your dollars, and custom wood built-ins were not in the cards at the time.  So, we ultimately opted to retrofit different Ikea components to construct our built-ins.  However, as my hubby's carpentry skills have grown, building them from scratch for another room is an alternative possibility.

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling ikea

Here's a recent shot of the built-ins, which incorporates some subtle fall decor:

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling ikea

While we used stock components for our built-ins, we added custom touches to elevate the look.  Here are five simple tips to customize "non-custom" built-ins:

Add moldings

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling ikea

We continued the crown molding from the ceiling/wall to around the top of the built-ins - making them look more intrinsic to the house.  Molding was also installed to the base of the cabinets, while trim molding was added to conceal the areas where components were joined.

Install hardware

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling anthropologie
These pulls were purchased from here.

Stock cabinets don't often come with hardware - or if they do, they usually aren't very interesting.  Adding "pretty" knobs, pulls, or handles are an easy upgrade that will give you some design bang for your buck. 

Mount decorative lighting

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling
Sita Montgomery Interiors

Lighting is so important.  If you have a wall or somewhere to mount it, install decorative sconces or library lights to the unit.  It will provide both function and beauty to your built-in.

Paint it a bold color

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling
original source unknown / image via My Domaine

Bold built-ins are one of my favorite things!

Add "flair" to the back panels

design decorating tips bookcase bookshelf built-in styling

The wallpaper treatment to the back insets of this built-in unit is fun and unexpected.  It adds design-worthy interest and depth to the otherwise dark unit.  (CAD Design Tip: Peel & stick wallpaper is a good option if you don't want to commit to anything permanent.  You can also cut out a thin piece of paneling to fit into the shelving compartments, and wallpaper that instead.  Paint is also a great option in lieu of wallpaper.)

2 comments :

  1. Beautiful ideas and inspirations Carol! Painting the back of some of our bookcases a contrasting color was a game changer. I love bookcases painted a rich dramatic color too. Such a statement!

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    1. I love your bookcases, and the way you have them styled right now! I'm thinking about doing something to the backs of ours too, but may just wait until I redo the room and tie in the new furnishings, window treatments, etc. :)

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