built-in shelving

The Pros and Cons of Built-In Storage Furniture

(4.5-min read)

Storage has become a growing pain for most people these days. Even as home sizes increase, the mini-storage industry booming, and even massive decluttering efforts, most of us are still struggling to keep up with our need to find places for our stuff. Free-standing cabinets and shelves are one option, but one may find these too cluttering up their homes. A possible solution? Built-in storage options. In this piece, we’ll look at a few of the advantages and disadvantages of built-ins in your home. 

What Exactly are “Built-Ins”?

What are commonly referred to as “built-ins” by realtors and interior designers alike are any “built-in” interior features of a home whose purpose can be replicated by movable pieces of furniture. Built-ins range from china cabinets embedded in walls, permanent kitchen pantry shelving, floating shelves, or elaborate bookshelf systems permanent built into livingroom or study walls. 

Pros of Built-Ins

Built-ins Free Up Space

One of the main selling features of built-ins is that they free up a tremendous amount of living space. They typically do this thanks to their ability to be embedded in walls and corners — freeing up square footage for other uses or to make a room feel larger. Some adaptable built-ins can also increase the versatility of a space — a closet-mounted desk in a guest bedroom that turns the room into an office, etc. 

Built-ins are Visually Appealing

Because built-ins are designed to complement a space, their form and function will likely ideally match the room where implemented. Most professionally designed and installed built-ins will make a space look immensely tidy and efficient. For this reason, many like to use built-in shelving to display collections such as books, art, and conversation-starting items. 

Built-ins are Utilitarian

Many built-ins make efficient use of what was presumed to be unusable space. Whether it’s a corner cabinet, elaborate storage shelving under a staircase, storage inside of window-seat benches, or a wall-mounted desk in a tight spot, built-ins can help add immense function to every square foot of your home. 

Built-Ins = Less Furniture

Moving furniture around is a pain. Between the hassle of deciding where furniture best fits or potentially scratching floors and walls while moving it, having too many pieces of furniture can be quite a hassle. Built-ins furniture means less work moving and maintaining furniture. 

Cons of Built-Ins

Built-ins Limit a Room’s Use

Though a built-in bookshelf across the back wall of your livingroom may seem ideal to you, to someone else, they may prefer to flip the layout of the entire space. Not every occupant of a home may have the same ideas about their use, making built-ins more of a hassle than a convenience. 

Built-ins are Expensive

If you want to install built-ins in your home, the cost to hire a specialist to build and install them can be far higher than buying pre-made furniture. The price goes beyond merely the fabrication of the units themselves, also including the cost of possibly removing sections of the wall and installing parts in a way that looks neat and professional. 

Built-ins Can Hurt the Resell Value

One of the keys to selling a house is getting a potential buyer to imagine themselves living in the space (one of the reasons why so many houses are painted in neutral colors when on the market). If someone else’s ideas for the home’s use don’t quite match that of the designer of the built-ins, this can cause them to feel that the home isn’t quite “the one.” On the other hand, the right built-ins can have the reverse effect, and almost singlehandedly sell a house. Still, this largely depends on the buyer’s attitude towards the built-ins or built-ins in general. 


When deciding either upon installing built-ins in new home construction or an existing home, consider how someone else may use these built-ins. If you’re planning on moving one day, limiting the permanence of the built-ins may be beneficial when it comes time to sell the home. If you have no plans to move anytime soon, your home is your oyster. 


Love built-ins? Hate them? It’s your call! Tulsa-based Perry Hood Properties can help you design and build the home of your dreams. 

Learn more about Perry Hood Properties today.