Form Follows Function: Built-In Solutions That are Doing Something Right

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Image: Archinect

There’s nothing like custom built-ins to make your home your very own and break away from the rest of the neighborhood. When it comes to bespoke solutions, there are tons of options. As with all good design, built-ins are best when form follows function—as these examples show.

Extend and Unify

We’re all used to having cabinetry in our kitchens, but the fact is our storage needs don’t stop where the kitchen ends. The above built-ins take the playful peek-a-boo sliding door cabinets and pull them out into the rest of the living space—providing additional hideaway space for essential stuff while adding tons of style and visual texture to the room.

Doing Double Duty

Custom Divider Built In - The Interior Collective

Image: Apartment Therapy

The favorite built-in I have in my home is my closet organizing and shelving system, so when I saw this very creative DIY solution that provides both room division and clothes storage I couldn’t help but share it with you.

Reading Nook

Library Nook Built In - on The Interior CollectiveImage: Freshome

Modern homes can make room for some of the more traditional household spaces, as is shown here with a smart small library comprised of built-in shelving. My personal favorite touch here: leaving room around the window.

Raise the Bar

Stair Nook Built In - The Interior Collective

Image: Misha Gravenor for Dwell

Under stair storage can be tricky; using built-ins is almost always a great solution. And if you want to do something really different, consider a rolling bar cart as part of the set up. The depth of the stair area even allows for extra drawers in this example. Imagination and the “form follows function” rule of thumb changed this area from an empty space to something completely utilitarian.

What kinds of built-ins are your favorites?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.