5 Ways to Fake Built In Shelving

One of the things I love about older homes are all the built-ins.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has dreamed of a Craftsman cottage with sturdy bookshelves   flanking the fireplace and cabinets with leaded glass doors in the hallway, right?  Well, a lot of us had to let that dream go when we moved into our builder basic suburban subdivision homes.  Luckily, it’s still possible to add character, charm, and storage space into our homes without hiring a carpenter or moving into a historic home.  In fact, getting a few built ins of your own is as easy as getting creative with inexpensive shelving from a big-box store.  Just take a look at these 5 Ways to Fake Built In Shelving.

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1.  Bookcase with a Bump-out

Over at the Mini Manor, Ashli and her husband figured out how to turn Ikea Billy shelves into a custom shelving unit that looks like it was original to their home.  They provide a fantastic tutorial (with diagrams!) so that you can do the same.

2.  Breakfast Nook Bench

I love window seats, so I was fascinated to see how Aubrey and Lindsay at Little House Blog turned inexpensive Ikea cabinetry into extra seating in their breakfast room.  Now they have a pretty place to sit and concealed shelving–impressive!

3.  Character-Adding Closets

The wardrobe shelves flanking the bed at Young House Love add character and interest to the formerly flat wall behind the bed in this bedroom, along with extra closet space.  The inexpensive shelves fake the look of real built-ins with the addition of molding and pretty fabric fronts.

4.  Tall Library Shelving

Kate, the Centsational Girl, got just the custom look she’d been dreaming of by turning four Ikea Billy shelves into one tall wall of shelves.  She provides an easy-to-follow tutorial so that you can do the same.

5.  Mudroom for Less

Been drooling over pictures of mudrooms with handy built-in shelving units?  Better Homes and Gardens is at your service, with details on how you can use in-stock Ikea shelving to make these amazing mudroom lockers for only $324!

Which area of your home could benefit from the addition of fake built-ins?

Check out another new updated post on 5 MORE Ways to Fake Built-ins




  1. You showcased some great ideas. thank you!

  2. Wonderful ideas!! I would really like to do a window seat in my breakfast area. This is really a cute idea!!

  3. Oh, grr…I’ve been writing this post “in my head” and you beat me to publishing it! We are going to be faking some built-ins soon!

  4. I love built ins, but I don’t fake ’em, I make ’em! there is an unbelievable amount of dead space behind our walls. I have built in storage cabinets behind our shower and bookshelves behind the door in our girls’ room. I love them and I don’t lose any floor space!

  5. I love these ideas. Thanks for posting them. I just wanted to let you know that the link for the Better Homes and Gardens mud room is wrong. It takes me to the Centsational Girl Blog. Bummer too because I would love to see how BH&G does that mud room!

  6. awesome ideas…but i’m still going to dream about owning a craftsman! ;}

    m ^..^

  7. Another reason why I love ikea and wish I lived closer!

  8. While I think these are GREAT projects, it always bums me out when most projects involve IKEA. Our nearest IKEA is in another state. I would love to see more projects involving items found at typical box stores. 🙂

    • Home depot, lowes and target all have similar items. they may not be exact but close enough. Check the closet supply sections and at HD and lowes the premade kitchen cabinet section (not the custom order section). Also Costco right now has the base seat and overhead shelf similar to PB…maybe they have it online too.

    • Tell me about it! I am 2 hours from the closest too. I need an IKEA in Indy. Boo!

  9. The Better Homes and Gardens link goes back to the built in shelves post. Can you update it to the correct link?

  10. Rebecca Rodriguez says

    I love all the ideas, especially number 4. I actually go my husband to agree to buy and do the project. Unfortunately, we don’t have an IKEA in NE. It was going to cost like $400 to ship $350 worth of book cases. Ouch! As you can probably guess…I’m not getting them.

  11. Loved the Breakfast Nook Bench that you featured. Wish I had a nook but will definitely be trying this as a window seat in one of my bedrooms. Thanks for doing the roundup!


  12. We actually just finished creating a built-in here, but these optiions look fantastic, too! I love the idea of taking RTA bookcases and making small molding additions to make them look built in. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Some great ideas. Bummer for me tho. In Alaska no Ikea, no one will ship to us, not even Pottery Barn. Have people forgotten Alaska is part of the U.S.?? I will just have to figure it out from Home Depot.

  14. I like the Breakfast Nook Bench the best. However, if I had it, there would be a constant danger of me curling up in it and sleeping after breakfast!

  15. I longed for built ins to “disguise” an outdated rock wall fireplace. Low and behold I found 2 matching shelving units in dark cherry at Goodwill in mint condition!! They look amazing. What a find! Someone was looking over my shoulder that day

  16. Mikey's mom says
  17. Nice examples! Wish there had been one “flanking the fireplace”!


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  5. […] storage space into our homes without hiring a carpenter or moving into a historic home,” said Infarrantly Creative. “In fact, getting a few built-ins of your own is as easy as getting creative with […]

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