Dec 19

Built-Ins for Your Home: The Pros and Cons


built in shelvingBuilt-in furniture is one aspect of home design that many homeowners and interior designers have strong opinions about. Some interior designers make use of them frequently, noting that they are excellent for defining the shape of a space, while other interior designers absolutely abhor them, claiming that they only restrict your interior design options. Here is a look at the pros and cons of built-ins, according to interior designers.


Define the shape of a space.

Some interior designers point out that built-ins are a great trick for shoring up rooms into neat rectangles or squares. Installing a built-in wall shelf—and in turn, narrowing the room ever so slightly—could give the room a shape that suits your furniture and design layout better.

Make use of dead space.

Installing a built-in may  create more usable space in an awkward room layout. You might find, for example, find that installing a built-in bench underneath a low, oddly shaped ceiling creates efficient use of what might otherwise be dead space where no furniture can go. Or, you might find that installing built-in shelving in the narrow wall at the foot of your bathtub offers useful storage space, thus reducing clutter in your bathroom.

Clear floor space.

When done right, built-ins can potentially clear your floor space and give a room a more airy feel.


Fewer design options.

One major con to consider is the limiting factor; built-ins will limit what you can do to a room significantly. If you add built-in shelves to a living room wall, for example, you will never be able to position a sofa against that wall. For many interior designers, this is definitely the most aggravating thing about built-ins.

Less breathing room.

Another major con to consider is the potential lack of breathing room that built-ins might cause. If you install built-ins on a clean wall in your living room, for example, you are sacrificing having a clean, flat surface in your living room. So sometimes built-ins can make a room feel a little claustrophobic.

You can’t take them with you.

When you invest in truly great furniture, you have the luxury of taking that furniture with you when you move. When you invest in built-ins, meanwhile, those built-ins will have to stay with the house when you move. Built-ins might even be a drawback come selling time, as many potential buyers would rather customize a space themselves.

They’re more expensive.

Built-in furniture is also often more expensive than stand-alone furniture. In addition, built-ins take time to design and customize, meaning there are costs of time to consider as well. So think: are you willing to pay the extra cost for something you can’t take with you, and are you willing to wait through the design and customization processes?