Built In Bookshelves

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comHave you ever had one of those jaw-dropping moments when you see something and think to yourself “Oh my gosh why didn’t I think of that?” That’s how I felt when I saw this pin on Pinterest. The pin is from The Accent Piece and the minute I saw it I knew I had to somehow make this project happen in our family room.

The problem was that I clearly could not do it myself. The complete tutorial to do that is found on The Accent Piece.  It’s in four parts but they are all linked together. Here is Part One. What I had to do was call my home improvement guy and tell him what I wanted. I had to wait a few months until he could fit me in his schedule so it gave me plenty of time to save some money.

Here is the before picture of the back wall of our family room. The french doors lead out to the deck and back yard.

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comNot bad but not great either. This end of the room tended to attract all sorts of clutter and never felt organized. I have always wanted to streamline it some how but could never come up with the perfect solution. Until now.

Just look at this.

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comWall to wall built in bookshelves installed around the french doors. For the first time since we moved into this house, I can look at that wall and NOT wonder why the door is off center. That has bugged me since day one. Since we had more width on the right side than the left, we divided the right side into two sections so it actually looks balanced. It’s beautifully trimmed out on the top…

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for building around a doorand on the bottom.

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.com

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comStyling the bookshelves was a bit of a challenge. I referred to my Pinterest board of bookshelves for inspiration when I got stuck. My only new purchases were the four baskets from Pottery Barn.

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comThis project is a true reflection of my husband which is what I wanted. He never had anyplace to display all his “stuff” but now it’s all in one place and actually makes sense. You can pretty much tell who he is by just looking at these shelves. Bobbleheads and all.

Built In Bookshelves | Inspiration for building around a door

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comI can’t tell you how happy I am with the way this turned out. It really did transform the whole space. Sometimes I get in the mind set that if I can’t do it myself, it can’t be done. In this case, hiring a professional was the absolute right thing to do. Of course if you can DIY this, I say go for it. You will definitely love the end result!

Built In Bookshelves | Ideas for adding bookshelves around a door | onsuttonplace.comThank you for stopping by!
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  1. Tamera Brown says:

    Do you mind telling me how long your wall is?

    1. Hi Tamera! The entire length of the wall is 14 ft. 9 in. Thank you!

  2. I appreciate that you pointed out that in the case of your built-in bookshelves hiring a professional to help you was the absolute right thing to do. My husband and I are thinking about putting a built-in wardrobe into our closet to give us more room for everything. We thought about doing it ourselves, but we agree that a professional is probably the one who needs to construct it so that we know it’s been done right and isn’t going to damage anything in the process like we might if we tried.

  3. Margaret Rose says:

    I love the look, it has made the room so much more welcoming. . I have a wall and window I would like to do this with and like you I don’t think I could attempt it myself. Now to find a local carpenter. Thank you for the inspiration, pinning this to keep track.

  4. These are perfect! I’ve pinned several pictures of living room bookshelves and yours may just encourage me to call someone for my own version.

  5. Pamela Gallien says:

    I love your new built-in bookcases. Your handyman did an excellent job. Excellent craftsmanship.

  6. Wow What beautiful display/storage shelves. It is perfect, and the table in front a truly beautiful addition. i would just stand or sit in the family room and enjoy.

  7. Your bookcases are fabulous. Sure wish I could find a space in our home for a library book.

  8. Hello Ann,

    I am already connected. It is a pleasure to follow your beautiful work!
    My user name is mariaizabel.

    hugs from Brazil

  9. Doreen Nordstrom says:

    What a stunning solution, Ann! and a very nice job filling it in with your husband’s personality!
    Congrats, and thanks for sharing this wonderful idea-
    Doreen N.

  10. I love bookcases. And I LOVE these bookcases. I also love the fact that you dedicated all the shelves to your husband’s interests.

  11. I LOVE this and want to do it in the den in our basement…when the budget allows. Yours looks great!

  12. You know…I’ve wanted to do that in our dining room for 31 years. Exactly that with shelves across the top too! Yours are beautiful! Bobble heads and all! Thanks for the inspirations! ;)

  13. Mary Alice Kenley says:

    Ann, these are beautiful! We are thinking of replacing the shelves on one wall in our study. We put them there almost out of desperation when my husband retired from his head master’s position and brought home a ton of books!

    My only question is this: What depth shelf did you use?

    1. The shelves are 10.5 in. deep. They are plenty deep enough for all our books and we have some big ones. I had to look a bit for baskets that fit but finally found them at Pottery Barn. Good luck if you decide to do something like this!

  14. Marcy Ray says:

    Excellent idea, looks fabulous. A wall of his own. You are one very thoughtful & creative lady! Hope you know who doesn’t see this idea, he will want one too……..

  15. Isn’t it amazing how one image on Pinterest can get the ball rolling, for what turned out to be an absolutely perfect project for your wall. It looks great Ann and so nice that hubby has a place of his own to display his treasures. Poor suffering souls… they often get overlooked in a bloggers home – lol.

    1. Oh I know! He actually only has that one room that is sort of “his.” I have taken over the rest of the house!

  16. It looks wonderful Ann and how nice that your husband has a place that reflects “him” in your home. The project is simply stunning and the craftsmanship and detail in the trim are lovely!! Lucky you :)

  17. Ann – you have such a wonderful, natural style! The bookcases look great, I am always inspired by your ideas.

  18. Oh Ann, your built-ins are just fabulous! I Know your husband loves having a place for his things! I saw his book about Lou Holtz. Tell him that we used to have a bobble head of him when he was the coach at the University of SC!

  19. Love your new bookshelves! They fill in that wall perfectly!! I ,also, love the rug under your table. Do you remember where you got it? Love the color!

  20. What a beautiful job. Would love to see the backs of the bookshelves painted a color of blue that is in your rug.

  21. Mary Price says:

    Ann, I love your new bookshelves. I think that built in ones are the best. After many years in many houses, some with and some without, I was finally able to have ones of my own design. Nothing fancy, but just where I wanted them to be. I must admit that even though mine are not yet two years old, I am a little jealous of yours! Love reading your posts.

    1. Thank you Mary! I know what you mean about finally getting something you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy your shelves!

  22. Kristin Mich'l says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I know exactly where to do this in my house.

  23. I LOVE THESE BOOKSHELVES! I have a pretty keen eye, and I had to do a double take on the centering! Your handy man did an awesome job:) I have a similar area in our great room, but I bought a bench. I’m really hoping that works because now I have bookshelf envy:D

  24. karen on bainbridge island says:

    You will never regret this decision. We had this odd recessed space in our bedroom that was supposed to be one side of a two sided fireplace in our bathroom and bedroom. We opted not to build the fireplace and were left with this space we didn’t know what to do with. So, ultimately we had bookshelves build. Love them! I rearrange things and books at least twice a year and it’s fun to freshen it up once in awhile.

    1. You are right…I don’t think I will ever regret this! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  25. Wow! I want to do the same thing to our office but the hubby has been reluctant. I think after showing him this, he will have a different opinion.

    Are the shelves adjustable? The pictures look as if you can adjust the height.

    1. Yes the shelves are adjustable on the sides of the door but not on top. At first I didn’t think it was necessary but now I’m so glad we did them that way. I am able to fit everything in. Thanks for your comment!

  26. They do take the focus away from the off centered doors. I love the look of a door surrounded by book shelves. I’ve pinned many for inspiration. Without the drapes covering the two side doors, the room is brighter. Can the table be centered on the doors? Without seeing the whole room it hard to tell.

    1. If I center the table on the doors it is really wonky. It looks better, in my opinion, to center the table between the walls. That off center door is a pain!

  27. Marlene Stephenson says:

    They are wonderful,really good idea.You will enjoy them Ann a lot.

  28. Ann, I love the bookcases, the way it has transformed your room and that it is a reflection of your hubby! Your blog has become one of my favorites…you can just read the “real” in all that you do…and I appreciate that transparency. You have encouraged me to do more with what I already have instead of constantly making purchases!

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much…I am so glad you are following along and what a nice thing to say. Enjoy the rest of your weekend…Ann

  29. What a great idea. Love the look and use of space.

  30. What a great idea Ann. I bet your husband is thrilled as well. Love the look and use of space.

  31. Ann what beautiful shelves~ and what a sweet thing to do to make your hubby feel happy!

  32. I love built-ins. One of the things I loved about the two houses we were deciding between. Alas, we didn’t choose that one. I know the perfect spot for built-ins. I just wouldn’t know where to start, or who even to call!! Where did you find the lovely baskets with lids?

    1. Hi Jodi!
      The baskets with the lids are so old…I’ve had them for years. I honestly don’t remember where they came from. Probably a discount store like Walmart or Meijer?? Wish I could be of more help!

  33. Dawn Beaver says:

    They look fabulous! I love how you incorporated your husband’s prized possessions.

  34. Absolutely love this, Ann! What a huge difference. And your styling is both refined and edgy. Love the books stacked and centered–so much more interesting than the vertical w/bookends that I’m using. I’m now looking for at ways to incorporate this wall of bookshelves into my own home. Thanks for sharing this gem!

    1. Victoria. Allum-Mellor says:

      Looks fantastic Ann.
      I have done similar things in the past using IKEA bookcases and having them trimmed top and bottom with nice moulding
      This idea also works well in a small bathroom as long as you have wall space on either side of the door or above the door which utilizes dead space

  35. Diane Brown says:

    Hi Ann, I really enjoy your website, blog, etc. I was wondering what type of paint you used on the shelves. They look so nice and clean. Thanks for your help. Have a great weekend.

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Diane! We used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic in a satin finish. It’s their enamel finish for trim and doors. It’s a custom color that I’ve used for years but there are lovely off-whites to choose from. Thank you!

  36. The shelves are just beautiful, and you have organized and displayed your husband’s treasures beautifully, I’m sure he is pleased. That is very similar to what I want to do on each side of my fire place, it really is wasted space, so all I have to do now is get busy. Thanks for the inspiration and the little boost.

  37. Nancy McIntosh says:

    A beautiful transformation! Don’t you just love it when things come together like you hoped they would! Now I’m wishing I had a wall with a door:)

  38. You must do the happy dance every time you look at your beautiful shelves!

  39. Love the book shelves!!

  40. Perfect. Beautiful and functional. Looks like the builder had vision vs. an add on. You did good . Your house is so put together. Be proud of yourself.

  41. Good morning…how positively beautiful it looks! I only wish I had a place in my home to do the same, you’re such an inspiration, thank you…

  42. Bridgette says:

    Beautiful, classic! Love everything you do!

  43. Beautiful! Oh to have your home improvement guy!!!

    1. Oh I know Nancy! He has been a jewel. He helped us with new soffits and gutters a few summers ago. Last year he replaced our ancient garage doors. This was the first time I had him do anything inside and I was thrilled. He’s a keeper.

  44. Ann (without an e) love your name by the way! I too have white built ins surrounding our fireplace wall. My husband is a Custom Home Renovater and you have inspired me to have him build “more” built ins! Only thing, and it really is true ~ “I’m the wife of a builder so I’m last on the list” Love your built ins!

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment…I hope you get on your husband’s to do list!

  45. What an amazing transformation of formerly dead space! Will your husband be able to keep it looking so beautifully styled and balanced? If he’s like most guys, probably not (blank space must be filled!) but I suspect you will continue to maintain the feng shui of it all :)

  46. I need something like that for all my hubster’s “stuff” from all the local theater musicals he’s been in! Right now it’s all crammed into a desk hutch. I am disgusted with it every time I walk by it! LOL

  47. I can see why you are so pleased. It’s just awesome isn’t it? I love it.

  48. Morning Ann,
    Wow, what a great transformation, I love how it looks…………
    and your handy man did a fabulous job and it does make the door situation more balanced.
    and how thoughtful that you put all your hubbies things there. Cute story about the wood
    and hatchet, I was wondering about that too, but thought maybe it had something to do
    with George Washington and the cherry tree!! lol

    Thanks for sharing this great idea and your lovely accessorizing of it.
    Blessings, Nellie

  49. Jeanette Duke says:

    Love, love, love it!!! It all came together beautifully and the way you stylized your shelving is very nice. I know you are thrilled with getting it done!

  50. FABULOUS! Your carpenter did a beautiful job!

  51. Ann! Your family room looks beautiful!! I love the built ins! I have those as well and love being able to change them with the seasons. Your husband must be thrilled to show off his “stuff”!
    I love reading everything you share with us!

  52. What a beautiful addition to your family room! Your husband has a nice collection of his hobbies/interests, and you did a beautiful job of displaying all. I would love to do something similar in my study. Thanks for sharing.

  53. We live in an older cape and I did a similar thing, The rooms are smallish but plentiful and we prefer to sleep upstairs. We removed the old doors from the closet and had TV/display case built. It is removable if we ever sell. It is just large enough for the room and makes so much sense since it uses no floor space. Your bookcases look fabulous. I think they are perfect for the space.

  54. Thanks for the inspiration – Great Idea!

  55. Pam Adams says:

    Love the bookcases! I noticed on your shelf a mini schnauzer plate, I have one just like it.
    I also have a black/silver mini that looks like yours. Just a hello and to let you know I love to follow your site. Lot’s of good ideas. Have a great day!

    1. Hi Pam! We got that plate when our little dog was just a puppy. It really does look just like her. Aren’t schnauzers wonderful?

  56. Hi Ann,

    Beautiful! When building our new home, I found I was constantly being asked to choose between seeking “balance” or symmetry on the exterior of the home vice symmetry within a particular room itself. Since we chose to build a home with a Georgian exterior (symmetric) style, we had a few rooms where the placement of doors and windows (within the room) was a compromise with the exterior placements. Perhaps something like that happened with your home’s builder.

    I think that you have given your room some gorgeous “bones” that will be enjoyed for years to come. What a great job your builder did! Your husband should be especially pleased with the outcome!

    1. Hi Suzanne…what you said makes perfect sense. I’m sure there was a logical reason why the door was put there but it has driven me nuts for years!

  57. That looks soooo good Ann! It was totally meant to be, eventually:)

  58. It looks really nice Ann. I’ve been wanting to re-do our family room for a few years now. It has ‘maple’ panelling on some of the walls and pine board shelves that are ugly. I’d love to do built ins around the TV end and full shelves and storage on the back wall end. Some day. I think you did a fabulous job on yours! Even the bobble heads look cute. :)

    1. Hi Pamela! Our room was maple paneling too and we painted it all including the fireplace. You can not believe what a difference it made. I wish we had done it when we moved in!

  59. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    WOW! I love it!! I have always wanted built in bookcases.

  60. DJ wright says:

    Love the new book shelves. If you don’t mind me asking is there a story for the round piece of wood and the hatchet?

    1. Hi DJ! Yes there’s a story. For several years, maybe 3 or 4, my husband served on the board of our local country club which includes a golf course. There are woods running through and around just about every hole. He was a great believer in removing trees that were dying, overgrown, hazards, etc. He got the reputation of being a hatchet guy so when he had fulfilled his board duties they presented him with that as a parting gift. We all thought it was extremely appropriate! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment…have a good day!

  61. Brilliant, they look fabulous and I agree the door not being centered would have bugged me too. My hubby has a man cave for all his things. Men seem to collect strange things in my opinion and they’re always hard to work into the decor, but you did a terrific job. Thumbs up to your handy man!

  62. Fabulous! Good for you for giving your husband a functional display place, too.

  63. Kathleen G says:

    It was worth the wait and price. Your handy man did a great job in building the bookcase. Perfect fit for the wall. I like how you place your husbands favorite things in the shelves. Doing the Happy Dance for you! Kathleen in Az

  64. Oh, so smart! Perfect plan, Ann. The bookshelves have entirety changed the atmosphere of your family room. I can’t wait to see this room and marvel.