Build Your Own Library with Custom Bookshelves

7 ideas to house your collection of books—whether 20 or 200

If you live with a book lover, you know that one book can quickly multiply into ten. It’s the kind of proliferation that seems to grow overnight, filling shelves, tabletops, and chairs until every surface is covered in books. But you don’t have to get rid of your treasure trove to reclaim your space (thank goodness!). Instead, think storage from custom bookshelves—from built-ins and open shelving to unique designs. For everyone who’s ever tripped over an errant book that found its way onto the rug, these custom bookshelf ideas from Sweeten homeowners will come as a welcome relief.

Statement shelves

bookshelvesBuilding custom bookcases around their fireplace was a must-have for Cat and Jordan. Their generous collection of books needed a home. Looking to design a clean, modern home, built-ins and skim coating for smooth walls did the trick. The varied spines of the books bring an added bonus of color and vibrancy to their space.

Custom dining room shelves

Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, dining room, renovationMost New Yorkers would choose to add more closets to their apartment, rather than remove them. But for Sheilaja and Sergio, a renovation goal of having a larger, open dining room was impeded by two closets in the entryway. They removed the closets and nearly doubled the size of their available space for the dining room. They added custom bookshelf storage in the dining room to showcase a mix of photographs, paintings, and drawings.

Hallway shelving

book shelvesCooking and entertaining enthusiasts Jessica and Jesse bought their Clinton Hill co-op knowing the apartment needed renovation help, especially for their favorite room—the kitchen. During construction, their contractor reserved square footage from the kitchen to widen their hallway. This added space allowed them to add in a long, built-in custom bookshelf. A functional, expanded kitchen and more space in the foyer? That’s a renovation win-win.

Foyer built-in

entrywayA classic apartment problem: how to make the best use out of a small or oddly-shaped entryway. Luckily, Hudson Yards homeowners Jeremy and Chris found a Sweeten contractor skilled in custom millwork to maximize their entryway. They solved their storage issue with a full-height bookcase with 8” deep shelves. A happy surprise: the 8″ shelves hold much more than they expected!

Wall-to-wall bookshelves

living spaceWe’ve said it before: the right general contractor really can make your design dreams come true especially for a unique home feature. In Mimi’s case, her partnership with her contractor resulted in a custom, floor-to-ceiling, 18-foot bookshelf for her Gramercy apartment.

Space-saving bookshelves

bookshelvesFloor space can be scarce in a studio or one bedroom, a fact of life that Casey and Kumar had accepted. Rather than building their custom bookshelves from the ground up, the couple placed them over the living room sofa. This allowed them to use the full length of the wall to fit as many shelves as possible. The storage keeps their collection organized and within reach, making it easy to grab a book for a good read.

Natural room divider

Making an open plan kitchen space feel harmonious can be challenging, especially when the adjoining space is a living room. Melissa and Russ didn’t want to feel like they were always in their kitchen. To provide separation, they added a partial wall, which housed a customized, built-in bookshelf in their living room. To be complementary, their contractor built a frame for the bookshelf with a lacquer panel that matched the kitchen’s framing.

Our cost guide on custom built-ins will bring you one step closer to the library of your dreams.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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How 9 Closet Organization Ideas Make a Calm Home

From organizing shoes to arranging the kids’ toys, here are ways to stay tidy

Closet organization for clothes is an accomplishment that gets any day off to a great start. Smaller closets can be combined to make one large one or another look at a floor plan may reveal extra square footage that becomes built-in storage. In entryways, kids’ rooms, or master bedrooms, clutter can be tamed and customized to the way you live.

Check out these homeowners who came to Sweeten, a renovation platform which connected them to vetted general contractors, and plotted out their visions for organization. (One couple even took advantage of a structural column.) Get ready, you might get bit by the “tidy” bug too.

bedroom closetWith a handful of design courses under his belt, Toby put his passion for design to good use during his home renovation. He had given away the square footage of his bedroom closet to his bathroom located in the next room. To make up for this, he designed and built a new full-length closet for clothes and shoes with sliding doors. The built-in also hid a dresser and tv.

Kensington, renovation, closetStorage was a big factor in Barbra and Sean’s apartment renovation. Closets went into one of the kids’ rooms, the entryway, and the master bedroom (pictured above), where their contractor suggested combining two smaller units into a single large one with a custom organization system. “There’s a lot more functional space now,” Barbra said. “I even have some half-way empty dresser drawers. I wish I had done all the closets. Someday!”

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, renovation, nursery closetThis Brooklyn homeowner chose a neutral palette for her son’s room; the better choice as a backdrop for all of his colorful toys. Even toy closets can offer a visual respite and functional organization. “Building out the closets was essential to allowing us to settle in properly, and I’m glad we didn’t wait to do this (which was the original plan),” said the homeowner.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

The standard closet build doesn’t give a lot of thought to shoe storage, so if you’re really into footwear, you’ll be faced with the problem of where to store them all. With 87 pairs of shoes in need of storage, Matthew had a custom closet designed with pull-out drawers sporting a pop of orange. The drawers were each sized to his size 9 shoes and hidden behind a sleek panel door.

shoe closetAfter Zoe and Arvid broke through the wall between the two apartments they were combining, an immovable column was discovered. Making the best of the situation, the couple built a hidden shoe closet that blended in with the structural element. Their contractor added baseboards, painted it a design-forward hue, and fitted it out with push-open door hinges.

closet organizationWith two active little boys in an 800-square-foot junior one-bedroom co-op, Courtney and Jim’s main goal was to create more storage in their sons’ room. To keep their toys, sports items, and musical instruments from spilling into the common living areas, a thoughtful organizational system was designed in the existing closet. Their contractor, however, was able to find space for a second closet in their room without sacrificing floor space.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

A layout change that resulted in opening the kitchen to the living room gave Marissa and Cody the opportunity to demolish the three narrow closets in the main living area and build two larger ones. By taking down the walls between the closets, the couple was able to increase their storage by making use of what was previously dead space between the walls.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

Michael and Chenta decided to overhaul the existing closet in their bedroom. They had a large closet built with simple, oak doors and added a floating wall in front of it. The wall separated their closet from the rest of the bedroom, giving it the feeling of a walk-in closet while still allowing the space between the wall and the closet to be used as a walkway.

home renovation, closet renovation, built-in closets, organization

It’s hard to believe Maggie and Adam’s bedroom closets aren’t custom. For a made-to-order look, they had their contractor frame IKEA modules and installed LED lighting with motion sensors so the lights would turn on when the doors opened. The brass hardware gave a final refined touch, plus ties in with the hardware elsewhere in the home.

Looking to add more storage to your home? In the kitchen, a pantry will keep things under control, while a vanity in the bath is great for corraling toiletries and other necessities.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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