NICHE IDEAS: inspiring built-ins for big empty spaces

Seldom will you come across a model home without seeing the “wow” factor of custom built-in cabinetry. Builders provide niches in their floor plans with the intent to sell built-ins to meet storage, display, and media needs.

KlauerbuiltinDuring purchase of the home you can “upgrade” to these cabinets through the design center. However, once buyers see the price tag and huge mark up they often opt out of the purchase figuring they can fill the space with a less expensive option like freestanding furniture or silk trees. The result is the room feels unfinished.

Allen Builtin

While it’s tempting to save where you can, customized cabinetry is not where you should scrimp on the budget. Customized cabinetry is an investment and is worth every penny, especially when it comes to these empty niches.


A properly designed built-in serves an important function for storage and display while also providing the visual balance these rooms need. It’s one of the things I look for when scanning through home sale listings. Check for yourself, the homes with finished niches stand out.


Teal builtin

But what if you acquired the previous homeowners built-in that is outdated or simply not your style? You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch – modification is possible. For example, you can paint the millwork, replace hardware, add or remove shelves, or replace speaker cloth with a decorative metal mesh. You can make dramatic changes by wallpapering or adding mirror to the back panels.


Allen - Version 2

You can also reconfigure the cabinet space by installing a beverage center or a base cabinet that previously held an outdated monster big screen television. You can really make a difference by simply upgrading your lighting or installing hanging pendants. And if the niche is empty, look at it as a positive that you weren’t stuck with “builder’s choice.” Now you can customize that space to your exact wants and needs!



So if you find yourself with an empty or outdated niche in your home, perhaps it’s time to address the elephant in the room (so to speak.) Take advantage of the opportunity to design and personalize your cabinetry to suit your needs.


written by Patricia Lockwood

Lockwood Interiors is an award-winning design firm in Palm Desert, California. Self-described as an Interior Designer with a twist; Patricia Lockwood passes along trade discounts and special pricing to her clients, making her services a true value. As a certified Design Psychology Coach, Patricia helps people create spaces where they feel connected to their surroundings. The team at Lockwood Interiors, with over 40 years of combined design experience, offers a concierge level of service for all of your design and remodeling needs.

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