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Built In Cabinetry

"Storage is always at a premium in a small home. Even in larger homes, we find ourselves quickly filling up that extra closet or storage space. "

When to Use Built-in Cabinets

Authors Website: http://www.builtinplans.com/

Storage is always at a premium in a small home. Even in larger homes, we find ourselves quickly filling up that extra closet or storage space. Sometimes the best place to store things right there in the room. That is where built-in furniture comes in.

Advantages of Built-in Furniture
An attractive armoire can be a nice focal point in a room. But sometimes you want your storage to blend into the room and look like a part of the house itself. Built-in cabinetry lets you achieve this look.

Some of the advantages of built-in furniture include:

  • Built-ins provide storage in plain sight.
  • Built-ins blend in instead of stand out from the interior of your home allowing you to have other focal points such as art or a view. An armoire which sits against a wall and projects 24" may very well appear "bulkier" than a somewhat shallower cabinet that is fitted to the entire wall.
  • Built-ins can provide large quantities of storage because they can use an entire wall without overwhelming the look of the room.
  • The trim in your house can be coordinated with the cabinets and crown or base moldings can run right across the cabinets.
  • Built-ins can provide more efficient storage because they can be tailored to fit specific needs. Old stereo equipment was often 18-19" deep and so with space for cables, backs and doors, one had to build cabinets 22-24" deep. Now, it's not uncommon for equipment to be less than 12" deep, and flat-screen displays are the norm. As a result, you can built very effective cabinets that are only 16-18" deep.
  • Lighting can also be easily integrated into your built-in cabinet.

Design Considerations
Before deciding on your built-in, surf the web for pictures of cabinets that you like. Then take a hard look at your house to decide what will work and what won't.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Are the built-ins going into a big room? A big room can take a full wall of bookcases, but in a smaller room would be better to have the mass broken up with a combination of cabinets, cubby holes and shelves. Open shelves will give more depth to a wall of storage, but will also appear more cluttered. Glass or frosted glass doors may be an appropriate compromise. Varying the depth and height of the cabinets can go a long way towards balancing the overall look.
  • What are the materials in your house? Do you have hardwood floors? Are your interior doors natural or painted? You want to use finishes that are already in your house to help your cabinets blend in. We used slate tiles on the top surface of one of our cabinets that matched the slate tiles on our fireplace.
  • Using the materials in your house, which of those materials are going to achieve your goals? A full wall of dark oak cabinets is going to look more massive than birch or white cabinets.
  • What are you going to store? There are some wonderful interior cabinet parts for audio/visual equipment, but you need to know the sizes before you decide on the cabinets. AV equipment is going to require planning for cabling and cooling, as well as access.

Who Can Build the Cabinets?
There are many local cabinet shops that can bid on your project once you decide on the look and basic design. The other option is to build the cabinets yourself. Cabinets are really just big boxes with different finish treatments, so a comparatively modest investment in tools will enable you to build them yourself, in particular if you already have some tools.

To have someone else build a full wall of built-ins will cost anywhere from $5,000 - $50,000 (depending upon materials, finish, size of house, and geographic area). For an investment in tools of around $1,000 and material cost of several hundred dollars, you can build them yourself and then have the tools to build another set!

2007 Reinhardt Quelle
Built-in Plans offers advice and plans for creating beautiful built-in furniture.

Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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