Modern Farmhouse Built-in Bookshelves

DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

The smallest bedroom in the house belongs to our little princess, Quinn. She outgrew her toddler bunkbed and Ikea kids table so it was time to design a space that would work for her within the small space. When I approach any space, I sort out how the room needs to function. Quinn needed a place to sleep, do artwork and crafts, and have some storage for her toys, books, and knick knacks. And with her bedroom at the end of the hallway, I had to consider how I arranged the room so that she wouldn’t be distracted at night with everyone else being awake. So, one side of the bedroom has her bed and built-in bookshelves, and the other side is for her desk. There are some things to consider and details to notice, but these DIY modern farmhouse custom built-in bookshelves couldn’t have been easier to design and create!


DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

When designing the built-ins bookshelves, I considered that they would be attached to the wall studs. I considered various wall treatments or just a treatment inside the bookshelves, and ultimately decided on horizontal modern farmhouse shiplap. You can learn how to install shiplap by checking out my boho farmhouse shiplap tutorial. Before installing the shiplap, I found the wall studs and noted them since my stud finder won’t detect the studs through the shiplap boards. This little step made it easy to locate the wall studs and attach the custom built-in bookshelves later on. I also made sure the shelves weren’t too tall, but that they were a fairly standard size in case I want to move them elsewhere someday. I also wanted to install a wall sconce light in between the bookshelves, so I had to find the stud that I would install the sconce to before finalizing the built-in bookshelves’ locations.

Quinn has a twin sized bed which fits in between the built-in bookshelves. I also made sure that I had the option to arrange her desk between the bookshelves as well. Taking some time to consider how else the room can be arranged, will allow you to install built-ins in their correct location, one time. I love having the flexibility to swap her bed and desk, and I think the summer months are a great time for this change since getting a great night’s rest isn’t as crucial. Another consideration when designing built-ins is to note any outlets and light switch locations. There are two outlets on the wall, so I was able to place a surge protector extension cord under the bottom shiplap board and now it’s accessible to use under her bed. We currently plug in her wall sconce and white noise machine into that surge protector.


DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

Although the bedroom is small, it also has a small walk-in closet with a full-sized door. When I decided on the bookshelf depth, I had to make sure the door could fully open. These DIY modern farmhouse custom built-in bookshelves have two cubby spaces along the bottom. These cubbies were sized to fit some felt bins that I already had on hand. The bins are full of stuffed animals and some art supplies, and the best part is that she can easily slide the bins in and out without damaging the wood. The rest of the bookshelf has adjustable shelves. I don’t know what types of items she’ll have on them down the road, so adjustable shelves made the most sense. I gathered all her stuff and sorted it out on her shelves with the purpose being storage, not just decorative. However, storage functionality doesn’t mean that the items can’t be arranged in an organized and decorative way too. I spaced out her books, used bins on both shelves for a balanced look, and kept as much negative space as I could to reduce a cluttered feel.


DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves


If you like styled shelves, but struggle with how to start, be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you’ll get one email a week sharing my latest project as well as my free shelf styling ebook. I think you’ll love my approach and easy to follow recipe for beautifully styled shelves. My recipe wasn’t followed for these DIY modern farmhouse custom built-in bookshelves because their primary function is storage, not decorative, but I think her storage looks pretty cute too.

With bookshelves on each side of her bed, I installed a wall sconce instead of placing a lamp on one of the shelves. The wall sconce is so cute, and the dimmer switch is really nice when tucking her in at night. The wall sconce will also work well when her desk is located between the bookshelves. To save money and to not have a permanent feature, I used a plug-in wall sconce and then covered the cord with a paintable cord cover. I love how it blends in and provides a finished look.


DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves – How to

The steps to design and build DIY modern farmhouse custom built-in bookshelves is easy. After you note the studs, any outlets etc., and determine all possible furniture layouts, you’re ready to design.

  1. Measure the width of your wall.
  2. Measure the width of any furniture that will be paired with the built-ins, if any and make sure it will all fit.
  3. Use the Shelf Help Now configurator to try out your measurements and have a visual of the built-in you want.
  4. You can also order the wood for your design directly from Shelf Help Now – they have standard depths to choose from (consider how deep your built-in will be at this point).
  5. Once designed, you can either order your wood from them or you can use the design to create your own cut list.
  6. Download a copy of your design, this will show you how to assemble the pieces for the best stability. I used pocket hole construction to build the bookshelves.
  7. Once assembled, paint or stain the built-ins. This post shows how to achieve the stain color I have on these built-ins.
  8. Once finished, position the built-ins where you want them attached to the wall. Double check measurements and try to attach the piece into at least two studs if possible.
  9. Once in position, predrill the holes to attach to the wall studs and then use three-inch screws to secure the built-ins to the wall.

DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves – Video tutorial


DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

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DIY Modern Farmhouse Custom Built-in Bookshelves

Thank you for checking out this post. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below~ Adding storage cubbies and shelves has been a great way to save space in Quinn’s small bedroom. The room looks and feels bigger now, the built-ins with her bed fit the space so nicely. The other side of her room functions as her craft and study center with a space for her cherished items. Quinn loves displaying items and she adores birds and butterflies, so I found a fun way to give her a space to show off her treasures. Coming soon…

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2 Comments
  • Katherine Wadsworth

    February 24, 2022 at 6:50 pm Reply

    You are amazing! It looks beautiful and you make it look so easy! 👍

    • Amy

      February 25, 2022 at 5:30 pm Reply

      Awe, thank you so much! I’m so happy with how the space turned out (and so is Quinn~). Love ya!

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