Utilize your square footage by adding storage and style with built-ins.
Writer: Jennifer Bonds and Susan Mahon
1 of 25Photo: Annie Schlechter
Utilizing the space below a window seat by installing drawers, rather than bins that open from the top, makes stored items easy to access without removing cushions and pillows. Craftsman details give the piece the feel of free-standing furniture.
2 of 25Photo: Annie Schlechter
The space beneath a round, porthole-inspired window is closed in to create an office nook. Shelves in the niche around the window are a hiding spot for books, and desk’s wood top further enhances the subtle nautical theme.
3 of 25Photo: Annie Schlechter
Fill in the space on either side of a fireplace with both open shelves and closed cabinets, and use the shelves to show off a favorite collection. These shelves are kept bare except for items that reinforce the home's seaside color palette. Stacked with books, they would give a room a warm, collected feel.
4 of 25Photo: John Ellis
What could have been a wasted corner between the tub and vanity is made useful with built-in shelves that open to both sides. Backed with a fun patterned paper (which is actually drawer liner), they add function and style.
5 of 25Photo: Rick Lew
Cozy and Colorful
Designer T. Keller Donovan called attention to this built-in dresser by painted each drawers shades of coral, pink, and charteuse, which he pulled from the fabrics in the room. Drawers tucked beneath the window seat and the lowest bunk add additional storage
6 of 25Photo: Lisa Romerein
A cabinet tucked into a living room offers an extra spot to display favorite items when room for furniture might be limited. Cabinet doors are the same style as the adjacent kitchen, and when cleared, the counter top can function as a miniature bar area, perfect for entertaining.
7 of 25Photo: Annie Schlechter
Tucked into the wall along a staircase, this clever shelf space makes use of an often under-used area. The square shelf units mimic the stairs, and the backs are painted a seaglass hue, in keeping with the home's palette of turquoise, green, navy, and white.
8 of 25Photo: Annie Schlechter
Tall, locker-style cabinets and wide drawers beneath a cozy bench provide versatile storage in this family's entry. Vertical cabinets can easily stow coats, backpacks, and sporting equipment, while the shallow drawers conceal shoes for the whole family.
9 of 25Photo: Jeremy Samuelson; Stylist: Dara Samuelson
The cozy breakfast nook in this Sea Ranch, California, home features sleek wood construction and a light-filled view that takes center stage. Above the bench seating, another built-in space with recessed lighting is perfect for showing off a green thumb or a collection of beach finds or cookbooks. Adding cushions to the space would increase its cozy factor even more.
10 of 25Photo: Tria Giovan; Styling: Matthew Gleason
Room for Reading
This Nantucket bedroom gets an extra “ahh” factor thanks to the restful window seat, complete with beautiful beach view. Under-seat storage makes for the perfect place to stow extra blankets and pillows for cooler days.
Custom pieces, like the built-in desk and wardrobe in this Southampton, New York, home, are an ideal way to hide clutter and ensure that things stay minimal and streamlined, a necessity in a contemporary-style home.
12 of 25Photo: Rick Lew
Room for Everyone
Borrowing cues from life aboard a ship, the designers of this Galveston Bay, Texas, home maximized sleeping space in the boys' bedroom by working with builder Neil Potter to design and construct custom bunk beds. "We tore out an old closet and fit them right in," says Potter. "We even installed boat fans at the end of the beds. It was a really clever, fun project." Drawers below make room for books, toys, and more.
Get the look: The sconces are from Circa Lighting. The throws are by Sferra.
Built-in cubbies are a great way to maximize storage and keep things organized in a mudroom. Depending on your needs, consider installing a mix of shelves and hooks at appropriate heights. Lining the interior with V-groove paneling will protect the walls and add cottage charm. Finish off the space with a bench for pulling off sandy shoes on the way in.
14 of 25Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styling: Elizabeth Beeler
Room With a View
Built-in benches with comfy white cushions and red and blue throw pillows give this Santa Barbara, California, beach house a cozy vibe. The mostly white furnishings allow the beautiful view to take center stage.
15 of 25Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Styling: Erin Swift
In the children’s bedroom of this Maine cottage, two rows of beds put a whimsically nautical spin on the traditional bunk. Built-in drawers and bookshelves in the place of headboards provide clever storage solutions and make the most of the long, narrow space.
18 of 25Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styling: Heather Chadduck
Dreamy Day Bed
The guest room of this Newport Beach, California, surf shack is ready for visitors, thanks to its built-in day bed, complete with storage underneath. The foot and head of the bed feature more space-saving solutions in the form of handy shelving. Guests can place necessary objects, like reading material, glasses, and more here when they stop over for a snooze.
19 of 25Photo: Mark Lohman; Styling: Françoise O'Neill
Golfer Greg Norman’s Florida mudroom is the perfect spot to stash beach-day necessities, from suits to sandals and more. The home’s nautical theme is evident here, with classic blue stripes, white-washed floors, and a life preserver that hearkens back to Norman’s Australian roots.
20 of 25Photo: Tria Giovan; Styling: Matthew Gleason
Bedroom Built for Two
Side-by-side built-in double beds with a thick privacy wall in between allow each daughter in this Nantucket family to lounge comfortably without disturbing the other. Drawers beneath the beds and carved out shelving provide plenty of storage space for books and favorite objects.
21 of 25Photo: Tria Giovan
The kids’ guest bedroom of this Long Island retreat sleeps more than meets the eye, thanks to the trundles under each built-in twin bed. The low shelving is the perfect height for kiddos too, and a great place to store extra linens, games, and more.
22 of 25Photo: Mark Lohman; Styling: Françoise O'Neill
Pop of Color
The tiny breakfast nook of this Casey Key, Florida, cottage is one of the most well-used spaces of the home and where the family shares daily meals. To maximize space, the homeowner commissioned the custom built-in and painted the backs of the shelves a pretty sky blue to make her white dinnerware pop. The window seat provides a lovely view of the water and additional storage underneath.
23 of 25Photo: Jean Allsopp; Styling: Elizabeth Beeler
Designer Blair Gordon revived this Sag Harbor, New York, retreat and says, "Small rooms feel cluttered when crammed full of lots of furniture." She suggests built-in storage when possible. In the master bedroom, a built-in banquette and recessed dresser provide storage without overwhelming the tight space.
This Newport Beach, California, home is all about fun, and the built-in breakfast nook echoes that sentiment perfectly. Ikat-inspired Trina Turk fabric adorns the banquette, and smart storage underneath is marked with ring pulls, the shape of which are echoed in the lattice-style light fixture and wall art.