4 Doable DIY Built-Ins That Only Look Expensive

Drool-worthy built-ins give untapped space a useful purpose.

Blogger Tara replaced a boring stair railing with a custom built-in to display books and stash toys. Image: “Just Call Me Homegirl”

1.  Dormer Area Finds New Life as Stylish Storage

Built-in shelves in a dormer window alcoveImage: “Uniquely Yours or Mine”

Dormer windows help carve out functional space in upper rooms. Unfortunately for Susan from “Uniquely Yours or Mine” that wasn’t the case. One of her dormers created a narrow, unusable 8-foot-by-4-foot hallway in her bedroom closet.

How did she and her hubby make the most of this odd little nook?

They moved the dormer walls back 4 feet and created a 2-foot-deep recess on each knee wall to add shelves and cubbies. The result: a lovely sun-drenched alcove for organizing shoes and handbags that accessory addicts would envy.

You can view the entire transformation here.

Related: Getting Organized Saves You Money

2.  A Spicy Ikea Hack for the Kitchen

Spice rack installed on side of kitchen cabinetImage: “Paper Daisy Design”

When you don’t have a pantry, every square inch of your kitchen is valuable real estate. That was the case for Leslie from “Paper Daisy Design,” who needed a super-accessible spot for a spice rack. Her plan: Install a DIY rack on the side of the counter.

The main ingredient for her project: three Bekvam spice racks from Ikea. They’re paintable, stainable, and only cost $3.99 each.

What makes this hack so ingenious is how she dressed up the racks after install — a little lumber and molding and they look like the work of a craftsman.

You’ll find all the fresh-baked details here.

Related: Create a Disappearing Pantry with Only 6 Inches of Space

3.  A Sanity-Saving Landing Strip

Built-in table in home's entrywayImage: “Lehman Lane”

We all know that nerve-wracking feeling of not being able to find your keys when you’re about to bolt out the door. Equally annoying for Tara from “Lehman Lane” was finding that perfect piece of entryway furniture to hold all her grab-and-go stuff — sunglasses, gloves, keys.

She finally ended her house-key drama by installing a built-in table or landing strip.

She and her hubby kicked off their project by adding board-and-batten trim to a wall next to the front door. Next, they built the table using custom-cut molding and lumber. Their finished project also carved out a spot for wet-weather footgear.

Check out the project here.

Related: 12 Ways to Make your Entryway More Functional

4.  A Split-Level Upgrade

Built-in bookcase replaces metal stair railingImage: “Just Call Me Homegirl”

Tara from “Just Call Me Homegirl” wasn’t a fan of the staircase railing leading up to the living room in her split level. Besides the aesthetics of the railing — or lack thereof — she didn’t like seeing dust bunnies in the living room as she climbed the stairs. Talk about uninviting.

So she replaced the railing with built-in bookshelves that are bolted to the floor. Now there’s beautiful storage where there had been dead space, and stair climbers see an attractive wall instead of cat hair and dust.

Find out more about the project.

Related: Finding the Hidden Storage Potential in Your Stairs