Maximizing Square Footage With Built-ins

Built-in-under-stairs webready Terri-Parsons

One technique employed by designers to maximize floor space is adding custom built-ins. And built-ins are great solutions for turning unused spaces into usable storage areas. Here are some possibilities.

Under the television: Install shelving with doors under the television to store media components and DVDs and hide unsightly wires.

Under the stairs: With drawer space at the bottom and open shelving at the top, the empty area under staircases becomes functional storage space and a good-looking spot for books and display items. Or turn the area into an office space with a desk, as in the photo above.

Under a window: Add a hinged window seat in the living room that can be opened to a storage box underneath. Near a dining room, the empty space under a window could accommodate cupboards for china storage. In an upstairs hallway, cabinets under a window by a bedroom can house linens and extra pillows.

Above doorways and windows: Include shelves up high for showcasing your treasures or for storing books that you have read.

Along walls: Built-in shelving and cabinets give walls new purpose. A wall in the kitchen can become a handy space for coffee service, cookbooks or bill paying. A wall next to a back door can become a spot for sports equipment, jackets, keys and pet leashes. Even the wall by the stairs can become a display area for more than artwork.

Flanking fireplaces: Where a fireplace extends into a room, install shelves on the sides. Add doors to lower shelves to hide the fire logs and matches.

In corners: Corner spaces are ripe for built-ins to display photographs and collectibles.

In hallways: Wide passageways can be ideal for built-in desks, shelves and cabinets.

In niches and nooks: Transform an empty niche or nook into a functional space with built-in shelves for books and CDs.


Terri Anne Parsons, Allied ASID, NKBA
Owner and Principal Designer
Anne Parsons Interiors

Categories: Home Design