7 Spaces to Add Custom Built Ins to Your Dream Home Design


When planning your dream home, what comes to mind when designing built ins?  Is it only the kitchen cabinets or closet shelving you consider?  Or do you imagine the shelves that flanked the fireplace in your childhood home, full of framed memories?  Perhaps traditional bookcases in the home office, stocked with encyclopedias and classic novels?  Custom built in structures have evolved to provide space saving efficiency and extra functionality, while adding to the overall beauty and character of the room. At Harrison Homes, built ins are a staple feature of our new construction and custom homes.

                Made especially popular in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, not only do built ins create multi-functional spaces but they tie together the architectural style of the home.  A traditional built in cabinet in a living room, paired with the right color paint, hardware or detailed design elements transforms from a simple storage space to its own work of art.  With the growing versatility, every room can include a built in.  These are a few of the top picks from our custom built ins from Harrison Homes:


This breakfast nook is small but intimate.  The partition defines the space without completely separating it from the rest of the room.  Its design and lighting exudes coziness, making it ideal for spending quality time with family.  Imagine starting the day together over pancakes or gathering around for a family game night.

A cozy area for family meals
This breakfast nook features white oak wood accents in the ceiling

In contrast, the larger breakfast nook allows for more room, yet still defines the purpose of the area  Utilizing every wall in this corner of the room produces extra seating for a big family or an entertainment space for hosting a dinner party.

Another useful purpose of a built in breakfast nook is the possible dual functionality of bench seats.  Installing hinges transforms from a single use to added storage for items that need to be tucked away out of site, yet still within easy reach.

Harrison Homes built in bench seating provides convenient and hidden storage
The trim detail elevates the design


Living room built ins serve multiple purposes, from an area meant to display special items to storage or seating. When flanking a fireplace, the entire wall becomes its own statement piece.

Benches provide additional seating. Like breakfast nooks, with the appropriate hardware these benches can be used for storing throw blankets.  Incorporating windows overlooking the bench provides natural light and paired with cushions and throw pillows, establishes a picture-perfect spot to curl up and relax.

In this Harrison Custom Home, the beautiful built in is the focal point of the room

If you prefer floor to ceiling shelves, cabinets, or a combination of both, these built ins can still meet your needs without compromising the style. The right hardware can elevate the look. This living room built in painted the same moody shade as the rest of the room, combined with light fixtures, sets a backdrop for a stunning expression of the homeowner’s style.  The matching color allows it to blend seamlessly without fading into the background.

Moody and masculine

Additional design elements and details can vary between simple or bold, easily providing texture and dimension to your built in.


Mudrooms first made their appearances in the mid-1950s with the rise in popularity of less formal entryways at the side and backs of houses.  But less formal doesn’t mean your mudroom can’t make a statement.  A custom mudroom can create a communal space to meet each individual family member’s need while providing a place for everything: shoes, coats, hats, purses, or school bags.  Add a door or baskets for cubbyholes to hide any clutter or hooks to easily hang your various belongings.



If you have a small space and are unsure how to use it, a built in bookshelf can give the space a new purpose.  Combined with a comfortable chair, you now have a charming reading nook.

Built in design details

This homeowner added a bookshelf on their staircase, drawing your eye to a new focal point at the top of the stairs.


Whether you have children who need an area to study or your WFH lifestyle is fulltime, the appeal of a built in desk works to everyone’s benefit.  It meets a specific need and can be designed to include shelves or drawers for storage or mail slots for organizing the family’s incoming mail.  Sometimes the smallest details provide the most functionality.

Custom desk built in for kid’s room


We can’t forget the kids!  Your kids will go crazy over custom built bunkbeds!  Whether it’s one set or multiples, your kids can host their friends for a fun sleepover, complete with a space for everyone to sleep (fingers crossed!).  Drawers for storing toys and a ladder or steps can complete the look.

Built in bunk bed for a Harrison Homes custom home playroom


Wine cellars are a popular theme in new construction and custom homes.  Whether large or small, a custom built wine cellar can be designed to accommodate your collection.  After all, we are living in unprecedented times, might as well be adequately prepared.

Custom home wine cellar with walnut built in shelving

At Harrison Homes, what we love most about custom built ins is the opportunity to meet the needs of our homeowners, taking a blank canvas and building from that a structure that showcases their style.  We can incorporate their needs with design elements to create a lasting statement piece for our clients to enjoy for years to come.

By Samantha Grundy

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