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Best Built-ins

Built-in entertainment center

Whether you are remodeling a small home, downsizing to a cozier nest, or simply want to put your space to better use, your options for built-in storage are limited only to the imagination. Built-ins can fill the bill when it comes to creating that little extra something that makes your home unique. We've assembled some useful ideas to help you make the most of the space you have.

Mudroom must-haves

If you're tired of tripping over piles of footwear, fallen clothing, and athletic equipment when you step in the door, a built-in mudroom bench with storage above and below can't be beat. Create a convenient place to park yourself while taking shoes on and off, while using the space beneath it to store things you don't need during the current season. Keep coats tidy by adding convenient hooks above the bench. You can even give everyone their own space by adding shallow dividers between the hooks.

Love your alcoves

Alcoves may be convenient, but it's easy for them to go unused or be used in less-than-efficient ways. Need extra guest "room"? A wide alcove can become the sleeping space you never knew you had. Take things to the top and double the sleeping room by adding cozy built-in bunks that both kids and adults will love. Another way to put an alcove to good use is to use it as a place to showcase a special piece of art, an antique chest, or an attractive bit of furniture. Turn a kitchen alcove into a practical breakfast nook to enjoy every morning.

Entertain yourself

Entertainment centers are one of the most common (and commonly-used) built-ins. Transform a wall by creating a home designed to fit your TV, stereo, or other devices. Tired of DVDs, CDs, Video game discs, and other "software" migrating wherever they see fit? Conceal them behind built-in cabinets. Framing the TV with shelving creates space for your library or household treasures. Want everything out of sight and out of mind when not in use? Hide everything behind cabinetry that blends in with the rest of the room.

Heads up

Rooms with high ceilings may have a lot of unused space once you get above door level. Built-in shelves and a sturdy ladder can turn once dead space into a classy home library. Not a big reader? Use your newfound shelves to show off your taste in pottery, china, or whatever else you feel compelled to show off.

Under the Stairs

For some reason, the space under a flight of stairs as well as the wall space alongside it is often neglected when it comes making the most of square footage. If you under-stair space consists of a closet like the one Happy Potter used to sleep in, why not transform it into office workspace by adding a desk and overhead shelves or cabinetry. Pull-out storage is another way to make good use of the space if fitted with drawers or cabinets designed to fit the bill. One of the easiest ways to utilize under-stair spaces is to build graduated shelving which follows the rise of the stairs.

Practice your division

Have an overly-large room that can sometimes feel less-than-inviting? Turn it into two more intimate spaces by adding a "tricked-out" room divider. Build to waist or chest height to keep an open feel while creating extra cabinets, shelves, drawers, or a practical workspace. The area atop the divider makes a nice place to display photos, plants, pottery, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Clean things up

No room for a laundry room? A nook designed just for the purpose can do the trick...and let you hide the washer and dryer away when not in use. A wide space will allow you to stow side-by-side units while leaving room above for shelves to keep laundry supplies close at hand. If you only have a few feet to spare, use a narrow space to house stackable units.

Raise the bar

Conceal a mini fridge, glasses, bottles, and other items behind cabinetry that mimics the appearance of the rest of a room and viola...you've got a wet bar that's the center of attention when you want it to be and neatly out of sight when you don't. Add transparent glass shelves and a mirrored surface behind them for a look that's both stylish and serviceable.

Under-window wonders

The space beneath a window is another one of those often-ignored spaces with unlimited potential. Turn it into cabinets and suddenly all of your spare bedding has a place to call home. Opt for glass doors or no doors at all, and you've got a place to display knickknacks, family photos, or other treasures. Or, create a fun and functional space by transforming the space into cabinet or chest storage topped by a cushioned window seat just perfect for catching up on your latest read.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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