Any old-house enthusiast will tell you that built-ins are what make older homes charming, functional, and difficult to replicate in new construction.
Free-standing and built-in furniture have always fought for first position. Even built-in closets have battled it out with wardrobes and armoires! The Golden Age of built-ins was the Arts & Crafts era (1880-1920) when folding dining tables, telephone tables, ironing board cupboards and even the Murphy bed were introduced.
Mid-century modern architects viewed built-in furniture as a way to reduce visual clutter and save considerable floor space. Today’s homeowners more often view it as taking up valuable real estate. Times and tastes change!
While nowhere near as standard as they once were, custom built-in storage for the kitchen and dining room are still appreciated and asked for.
Built-in Dining Room Storage Options
Whether you call it a buffet or a sideboard, it’s one of the most efficient and practical dining room built-ins you can choose. It can be recessed into the wall or built out into the room. And it works equally well in small and large spaces.
Another practical design? A transition piece reminiscent of a butler’s pantry that extends kitchen cabinetry into the dining room.
Other choices that make the most of unused space include:
- Wedge-shaped built-ins in smaller dining areas with open shelving above doored cabinets. They’re perfect for storing glasses, serving dishes, and other dining necessities (left photo below).
- A built-in wet bar that delineates the kitchen and dining areas of an open concept floor-plan. A great choice for people who love to entertain (right photo above).
- A built-in bench along one wall or under a window with a view (see the picture at the top of the post). A hinged top or drawers make storing large serving pieces, linens, and more a breeze.
The Pros and Cons of Built-ins
Built-ins are permanent by nature, so it pays to think long and hard about whether you want to make the investment. Of course, they can always be removed, but that can be an expensive risk to take. As with most challenging design decisions, a list of pros and cons can help.
On the plus side:
- Built-ins solve the problem of finding the piece of furniture that perfectly fits in the space you have in mind. And they can be far neater and finished looking that a store-bought buffet or hutch.
- It’s true they take up floor space, but properly proportioned built-ins can save space when compared to bigger free-standing furniture pieces.
- There’s no denying they can be an elegant asset to the room and home. Fully customizable, built-ins bring a certain character and personality to the space they’re in.
- Customizing your home to improve your family’s lifestyle is always a smart investment.
On the minus side:
- Built-ins can limit your options for furniture placement.
- Their permanence can be an issue if five or 10 years down the road they look dated. Careful design planning that allows for future restyling is a must.
- By and large, built-ins tend to cost more than stand alone furniture. You’ll want to decide where your priorities lie and then balance the cost of built-in dining room storage against your overall budget.
Designed and crafted to fit a specific space, built-ins add an architectural appeal not always available from ready made furniture. The extra storage and serving area away from hectic kitchen traffic can be a big plus, too.
And thanks to 3D technology, our designers can easily show you how a built-in will look in your dining area before you make the investment!
At J.T. McDermott, our mission is to fulfill the unique remodeling wishes of each client. For 25 years, we’ve brought masterful craftsmanship, the highest-quality materials, and timeless design to every home remodeling project we do.
To learn more about how we can help you build the new space you’ve always dreamed of, schedule a conversation with us today. We look forward to meeting with you!