Expert Advice

10 Built-In Shelves That Are Anything But Dated

They’re not your mother’s built-ins.

By Chanel Dror
kate zimmerman's sunday house living room

When floating shelves hit the scene nearly 10 years ago, built-in shelving lost cool points almost instantly. Imagine the typical American living room of 2010 — a fireplace and mantle, flanked by built-in bookshelves on either side, with crown molding top and bottom, and some decorative objects and family photos on display. It’s not a bad look, per se, but it isn’t currently en vogue in the design world.

Instead, what we’re seeing is the first whispers of a move away from floating shelves and free-standing armoires, in the direction of a new kind of built-in — one that’s modern, minimal, and not necessarily symmetrical.

Utilizing natural materials and organic edges, today’s designers are creating storage solutions that are totally chic, and unmistakably 2019. Need to see it to believe it? Take a look at these ten spaces.

modern built in shelves

Natural wood gives this built-in bookshelf the contrast needed to really make it pop.

built in shelf DIY

Can you believe the wall of storage in this home library was an Ikea hack by A Beautiful Mess?

very cool built in shelves

Think outside the box! These free-form built-in bedside shelves by Moredesign are organic and unexpected.

kate zimmerman's sunday house living room

Kate Zimmerman used plaster built-ins throughout her renovation. It looks amazing, and just think of all the furniture she didn’t have to buy!

lauren cunningham's austin home

We’ll be revealing Lauren Cunningham‘s incredible home soon (designed by Claire Zinnecker and photographed by Molly Culver) but for now, a sneak peak at just one of her custom walls of built-ins!

modern built in shelves

We love the primitive details and warm neutrals found in this built-in bookshelf.

modern built in shelves

This custom wardrobe wall of birch plywood built-ins keeps clutter concealed.

built in shelving as nightstands

The built-in shelving in this bedroom adds functional simplicity to the space, and it looks super pretty too.

very cool custom built in wall

Another clever and artful storage solution, found in Lauren Cunningham‘s Austin home.

earthy but modern living room

We always come back to this California farmhouse for it’s modern-meets-earthy interiors. Thoughtful details like this living room built-in make it feel so homey.