How To Create Space in Your Home or Office With Built-In Bookcases or Bookshelves

Redo Your Small Bathroom To Maximize Space: Part II – Built-in Book Shelves

…so, now, you are wondering what we did in the office to complete the remodeling of that room. We removed the wall board from the office wall to accommodate the depth of the two shelving units that we installed in the bathroom for added storage. This left us with wonderful, flush mounted shelving units in the bathroom, the backs of which were now sticking out into the office – about 8”.

Well, the office, too suffers from a lack of storage space. Once a bedroom, it has a very small closet, inconveniently situated right behind the room’s entry door. To use the closet, we must enter the room, close the office door, and then open the closet door. Then we must reverse the process, closing the closet door so we can open the office door and leave the room.

This Is A Very Slick Modern Version
This Is A Very Slick Modern Version
Centered Shelving
Centered Shelving
Clever Use Of Space
Clever Use Of Space
Wish We'd Had Room For A Fireplace
Wish We'd Had Room For A Fireplace

We planned to wall off the closet on the office side, as we really don’t need to hang up clothes in the office.

The closet, though, backs onto our tiny kitchen, and we already have drawn up plans to open the back of closet to the kitchen and re-purpose it to hold a micro-convection unit and a standard wall-mounted oven.

As we plan to install the wall oven at chest level, with the micro-convection oven above it, there will be ample storage space under both units to hold all our pots and pans, including the extra large lasagna pans and the turkey roaster.

…back to the office…

We have installed tall bookshelves along the closet wall. Another great IKEA find, they hold most of our reading material quite nicely, but can no longer accommodate our growing stash of how-to and gardening magazines.

The office also doubles as an extra bedroom, with the help of a fold-out couch, a hide-a-bed, that usually sits against the wall that now has two bathroom shelving units sticking out of it.

Fear not, though...we have a plan.

We framed in the back of the bathroom cabinets, making a roughly 3' wide bump-out in the center of the office wall, about a 10” incursion into the office. Then we framed in a new wall flush with that.

We finished the bottom 1/3 of the newly built-out wall with bead board, to about a 3’ height, and added molding along the top of it to create the look of wainscoting. Then we added braces and supports to the studs on either side of the bump-out, above the new wainscoting, and slid in the short book case units we had already salvaged.

We had retrieved them from the rec room in our last home, and refinished them with a light oak stain to match the desks and IKEA shelving.

These short units, now nesting cozily into the wall just above the wainscoting on either side of the bump-out were not only easy on the budget, they saved us the time and expense of having to build in and finish new shelves. The addition of some crown molding and side trim gave our pre-made units a custom look and feel for a fraction of the cost, and certainly added an upscale look to the office.

Renovating a small house can be a bit like working on a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Anything you do in one room affects what you do in another, and any space you can find in one room is likely to be some that you have to steal from another. With careful planning, though, you can achieve some truly amazing results.

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21 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I adore 'built-ins'.. they give a home a great feel.. Kinda "arts and crafts" designing. Again, they won't let me do this to my apartment. Sigh....

Great hub, thanks!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

I'm gonna get you to come and do my place :D :D


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks ladies! Candie V., They sure turned out well - and that's exactly the feel...Enelle, always happy to oblige, lol.


JReed profile image

JReed 7 years ago

Excellent idea when you are strapped for space. I've seen book cases built into the wall in such a way as the area that was dug out serves as the frame of the book case and all you need are shelves to attach to both sides of the niche you dug out.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and thanks for the great idea, JReed.I would certainly do that before purchasing a shelf unit to fit into the space.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Can I also borrow you to do our office? LOL I've been wondering how to maximize our space and all. We do need bookshelves too.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Any time, my dear ripplemaker! Built-ins are definitely the way to go...;)


michelle.dragon99 profile image

michelle.dragon99 7 years ago

great idea....:)...i like your hub...


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, michelle. Glad you liked the Hub.


ThePartyAnimal profile image

ThePartyAnimal 6 years ago

I love built in bookcases, but I am sad to say there are none in my home - I did put it on my husbands to do list - so maybe someday I will have one - yeah right - lol


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Aaahhh, my dear, we all live in hope ;)


johnmce profile image

johnmce 6 years ago from Brighton, UK

Better not show the girlfriend this, the DIY will never end!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Nice to meet you, johnmce. What's her email address...? LOL Just kidding!


Morris Streak profile image

Morris Streak 6 years ago from UK

I love do-it-ourselves projects like this. Small spaces really do force us to go compact, and re-examine what we have and what we really need. Good stuff you have here. I'm into home improvement myself.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Nice to meet a fellow DIY-er, Morris Streak. You are certainly right about what you really need. I call it "pruning" - my at least annual culling of all the stuff that accumulates. Thanks so much.


relica profile image

relica 6 years ago from California

What a great idea it is to use premade units and customize them with crown molding and trim. The finished product is stunning.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, relica. We were very pleased with the results ;)


MisCook profile image

MisCook 5 years ago

I am always a fan of built-in cabinets. They save a lot of space and they look great at the same time. Perfect for small spaces. Nice hub!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, MisCook. I do agree - built-ins are definitely the best way to go in a small space.


Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace

I definitely need some of these for my home office.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Sunnyglitter - I could use a few more, myself ;)

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