View Full Version : removing built-in bookshelves? Really need some advice

12-28-2010, 03:14 PM
Our home's living room has builder standard built-ins on each side of the fireplace. (Beazer home)

One bookshelf has a large tv nook, but the room's layout doesn't really allow us to use it. (not a huge room, 4 windows on another wall, etc.)

I visited some new friends' home the other day, and they had a similar problem. They didn't want the fireplace and built-ins because of their new, large entertainment system. The builder would not build the house without it (it was standard in this home), so they ended up having a contractor come in and put sheet rock over them.

When we take the tree down this week, we are going to move the furniture around and make sure the couch can't be placed in front of the fp/bkshelves. If not, I was thinking about suggesting putting sheet rock over the bookshelves (not over the fireplace). This would allow us to have more room for chairs, etc. (Currently, we are limited b/c when we put chairs, end tables, etc. near the bookshelves, the room looks way too crowded and small.

Any thoughts/ideas?

Also, are built-in bookshelves considered a nice upgrade? We have been slowly upgrading this home for us and to resell later. I don't want to do anything that would 'decrease' the value of it. :)

Thanks for your help

12-28-2010, 03:19 PM
can you add a picture? I would think built in bookshelves would be value add to the home. I know I would love them in my home. Plus if you sheetrock right over them, aren't you essentially losing a foot in the room too?

12-28-2010, 03:30 PM
I'll see if I can take a pic and post it. While we would technically be loosing room footage, it doesn't add any floor space to the room -- with or without the bookshelves.

Thanks for taking time to reply. :)

12-28-2010, 03:30 PM
It sounds like it looks too busy with the shelves and the chairs? What about a solid colored curtain in front of them? Or using just a few books and decorative items, carefully chosen for color and arrangement, to look good?

I would think twice about the sheetrock. Esp for the money. And yes, a picture would really help to see what you mean - I love books and have a hard time with the idea that it makes things crowded - we've had bookcases in every house we've lived in....

And yes, bookshelves are a big plus on a house - new or old, any house that lists "built-ins" gets more attention - the old houses here that have had the built-ins taken out are reduced in charm, appeal, and selling price.

12-28-2010, 03:36 PM
We had a standard built-in next to our fireplace. I painted the shelves white and installed wallpaper behind them to make them more modern/decorative. We use them more for picture frames and decorative items, so they don't look too busy or cluttered.

12-28-2010, 03:38 PM
I have always liked the bkshelves, but we really need some additional seating. (We would love to use our love seat, but it is impossible.)

It's obvious that the tv nook was made for the couch to be placed in front of the fp/bksh., but then when you open the front door you see the end of the couch -- it looks kinda weird.

Also, it makes the room even smaller and makes the walkway to the kitchen nook small.

If we could just make the room a little larger, it would be perfect. I bet lots of us wish we could wiggle our noses and add size to a room. :)

12-28-2010, 03:38 PM
Just to add another opinion to the mix, if I were looking to buy a house and noticed the built-ins didn't allow for a good lay out of the room, I would hold it against the house and consider that in my decision.
It may depend on where you live, but here there are so many homes for sale I would consider that a draw back. Especially if you said there is a spot for the tv... what if I have a larger tv or didn't want to be forced to put my tv in that spot.
I do understand that built ins can be great, but I've seen some that just don't seem to work in the rooms they were put in.

12-29-2010, 03:58 PM
Can you possibly add doors or panels to the bottom shelves to allow for furniture placement in those sections? Could become hidden storage and still have the upper portion for display.

12-29-2010, 04:53 PM
Can you possibly add doors or panels to the bottom shelves to allow for furniture placement in those sections? Could become hidden storage and still have the upper portion for display.

That's what I was thinking.

12-29-2010, 05:25 PM
Is the furniture you currently have too big for the spot? Would a different configuration of furniture help?