What are the most cost effective built in bookcase styles for the Fireplace?
Fireplace walls are great spaces to add a built in bookcase. These walls are already "reserved" as focal points (with furniture spread among the other walls or open areas).
If you're trying to decide on the best built in bookcase design for your budget, these photos will give you a good idea of how pricing works - with specific cost factors. See why some bookcases are cost effective, while others are only found in luxury home designs.
What does a built in bookcase cost?
The best bookcase, cabinet, and built in storage designs are priced based on a number of factors, including:
- Size (Height, Length, Depth)
- Depth of Base Shelves (are the base shelves wider than the upper shelves?)
- Stain Grade vs. Paint Grade Materials
- Arches or Header Details
- Custom Paint Colors
- Number of Cabinet Units
- Standard vs. Non-Standard Cabinet Sizes
Below are 8 photo examples that give a clear indication of what each cost factor can look like:
1. Bookcase Size
The height, length, and depth of a built in will affect the total cost. For open shelving bookcases, larger sizes mean more materials and labor. For cabinets, larger sizes typically require multiple units.
The floor to ceiling height bookcases in this great room - a version of the Penelope - also stretch across the living room wall. If you want a "full wall" built in look, consider reducing the height of the shelves. This would leave wall space where you could display artwork (or add windows if it is an exterior wall).
2. Depth of Bookcase Base Shelves
Complex configurations add cost to any built in design. The two base shelves on these fireplace bookcases are wider than the upper shelves. Varied depth bookcases can make a big impression in person, so this is one custom factor you should consider when considering cost/benefits on a tight budget.
This living room photo is from a version of the Brogan, a craftsman style home.
When designing built in cabinets, manufacturers can include a finished "countertop" piece that rests on top and adds cost (when compared to how built in shelving works).
This living room photo - with cabinets on each side of the stone fireplace - is from a version of the Horse Country Estate.
4. Stain vs. Paint Grade
Most types of built in storage units are available in two "grades," stain or paint. While the cabinets pictured above are constructed in a stain grade wood, the bookcases below use a (more cost effective) paint grade wood.
This living room photo - with bookcases on each side of the fireplace - is from a version of the Country Farmhouse.
5. Arches or Header Details
Arches or header details - like the white wainscoting design across these living room bookcases - are beautiful additions that can really add formality to a room. These hand-crafted or custom details add cost, but they can make a big difference in the look and feel of your fireplace surround (often the focal point of your downstairs living space).
This living room photo - with custom shaped bookcases - is from a version of the Scottsdale.
6. Custom Color
Most built-ins are painted white, to match the interior trim color of the room. Adding a custom color inside a built in bookcase is another popular detail, that can add cost.
This custom living room built in shelving unit is from a version of the Treehouse.
7. Number of Cabinet Units
The number of individual cabinet units also contributes to the total cost of a built in design. Typically, using two 24'' cabinets will cost significantly more than using one 48'' cabinet.
The wider, four-door 48" base cabinets in the living room pictured below, from a version of the Statesman, helped the Raleigh home owner save cost (compared to choosing a layout for four 24" cabinets that would fit into the same overall space).
8. Standard vs. Non-Standard Size
Another way to save cost on your built in bookcase configuration is by sticking to cabinets in a standard size, typically units that are 24'' or 48'' wide.
If cabinet units do not fit into the designated wall space, your builder will need to add trim pieces to make up the difference. Custom trim, painted to match, will look intentional; they will just cost more to construct.
When working within a budget, you will want to compare each of these cost factors. Do you want to prioritize wainscoting details, custom colors, simpler (but wider) shelves, or a combination of these details? The choice is yours, and a custom home interior designer can help you weigh the options.
How much do custom built in bookcases, cabinets, and shelving units cost?
Exact pricing for built ins depends on the size, configuration, style, materials, and other custom details.
Looking for popular home plans with built in spaces already added in? Here are some examples of floor plans with built in bookcases and other custom storage spaces throughout the home:
- The Judson - built in great room entertainment center
- The Country Farmhouse - built in fireplace shelving
- The Shoal Creek - built in office bookcases
- The Statesman - built in butler's pantry