Merchandising and Interior Design Tips

Pros and Cons of Customizing With Built-Ins

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To built-in, or not to built-in? That is the question. Or at least it’s one among many you’ll face going through the process of customizing your new home. 

Built-ins can enhance your living space in many forms. Media walls, wine storage, dining room buffets, desks, dressers, drop zone cubbies and outdoor fire pits are just a few of the options your builder may offer.
Since they are permanent by nature and something of an investment, deciding if you’d like a built-in bench for your master bath or a built-in settee in the bay window is enough to make anyone reach for the beverage of their choice.

As with all challenging decisions, compiling a list of pros and cons can be an enormous help. To get you started, we’re sharing designer-approved positives and negatives below.


Built-in dining nook with storage and open shelving seen at Canterbury at Bay Meadows by TRI Pointe Homes.
Painted gray built-in dining nook with storage and open shelving as modeled at Canterbury at Bay Meadows by TRI Pointe Homes.


On The Plus Side

Hassle-free Décor
Offers our designer Jill Mitchell, “Not having to shop for that specific style or size of a furniture piece, wall décor or lighting is a wonderful thing. Plus, they look neat and finished.” Polished is something we can all agree is gorgeous in any home!

Smaller Footprint
A sense of flow is essential to making a room feel spacious, so how do built-ins help? Explains our designer Edith Garcia, “They can save space in a room as opposed to a bulky, free-standing furniture piece.” For example, a large shelving unit will project several inches into the room between it and the wall, whereas a built-in bookcase is part of the room’s structure.


White painted built-in for the home office
Camelot Homes’ Villas at DC Ranch features a home office with built-in shelving, drawers, enclosed cabinets, and wall sconces.


Elegant Asset
Both Jill and Edith agree that, as far as storage goes, built-ins can’t be beaten. The ability to customize what sort of shelving, drawers, and surfaces work best for your needs will help keep your home organized and less cluttered. Adds Edith, “Built-ins bring character and personality to the overall designed space.” That inherent sense of specialness makes them a perfect spot to house cherished items and family photos.

Wise Investment
Customizing your home to suit your family like a tailor-made glove affords a lot of enjoyment. There’s nothing like having everything as you imagine and feel it should be! That alone is worth a bit more cost. Should you ever have to move, the custom aspect of built-ins speaks to the quality of your home.


On the Minus Side

Jill and Edith concur that the biggest challenge is that built-ins are fixed elements. Once created, they can’t be swapped as easily as one might a rug. This could be an issue because, as Edith says, “depending on the type of built-­in, they can sometimes feel outdated over time.” So, before you create a custom Pokémon action figure display wall in your child’s bedroom, consider how it might be re-purposed or styled in the future.


Custom built-in wine closet and dining buffet with upper cabinets.
The dining room at CalAtlantic’s Hidden Crossing includes both a built-in wine closet and a full-height built-in dining buffet.


Just as furnishings might not work as well, built-ins, states Edith, “can be overwhelming in small spaces.” Something to keep in mind as you map out each of your new home’s rooms.

By and large, built-ins tend to cost a bit more than furniture. As you build your new home, there may be other priorities. Develop a built-in wish list for each room, ranking must-haves to wants, and then balance it against your overall budget. You’ll find it easier to make decisions regarding function and style.

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#CalAtlantic Homes, #Camelot Homes, #Edith G, #Finish Carpentry Ideas, #Storage Ideas, #TRI Pointe Homes,
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