What do built in bookshelves cost?
Custom bookcases, cabinets, 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?)
- Number of Cabinet Units
- Open Shelving
- Stain Grade vs. Paint Grade Materials
- Arches or Header Details
- Custom Paint Colors
- Standard vs. Non-Standard Cabinet Sizes
What does a built in bookcase around the fireplace cost?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.
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 fireplace bookcases in this great room stretch across the living room wall. If you want a "full wall" built in look for a lower cost, 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).
Small bookshelves can still make a big impression, especially when paired with windows on each side of the fireplace:
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 - see more photos here, a craftsman style home.
3. 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). The design made the room feel even larger and more open, with trim details that add visual interest.
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 - see more photos here.
5. Open Shelving or Floating Shelves
Open shelving can be a great design choice. The cost of open shelving, compared to bookcases, can depend on the size, details, and paint. In this design, the addition of a decorative header (designed to carry the line of the ceiling created by the upstairs walkway on the right side of the fireplace), cabinets, and counter top are each cost factors that contribute to the total.
6. Stain vs. Paint Grade
Most types of built in storage units are available in two "grades," stain or paint. While some of the cabinets pictured above are constructed in a stain grade wood, the bookcases below use a (more cost effective) paint grade wood. For today's homebuyer, "stained" shelving and cabinets can easily feel dated, and an extensive area of stained finish can make a large room feel smaller.
This living room photo - with bookcases on each side of the fireplace - is from a version of the Country Farmhouse - see more photos here.
7. 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 can add a little additional 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 bookshelves around the fireplace - is from a version of the Scottsdale - see more photos here.
8. 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. Because the painters must tape off each shelf, individually, to create this effect, this can add a few hundred dollars to the finish cost.
These built in bookshelves around the fireplace include a custom color and lower cabinets. The photo is from a version of the Low County Farmhouse - see more photos here.
This custom living room built in shelving unit is from a version of the Treehouse - see more photos here.
9. Cabinet Sizing
Another way to save cost on your built in bookcase configuration is by choosing larger cabinets, such as the 48" base cabinets here. It's more costly to use three or four small cabinets in a space than to use one or two large cabinets.
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.
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. Stanton Homes offers a full menu of options in your Personal Build Portal for you to review before, or during, construction, in order to make your final decisions.
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.
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