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Architectural Built-Ins for the Bedroom: 15 Favorites from the Archives

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Architectural Built-Ins for the Bedroom: 15 Favorites from the Archives

August 14, 2023

We believe the bedroom should be a sanctuary (see 10 Secrets for a Better Night’s Sleep). Thankfully, architects have long known that creating calm—read: killing clutter—in your sleep space is simple and efficient with built-in storage. Here are 15 favorite examples of architectural built-ins in the bedroom, from shelves to cabinets to drawers:

in a brownstone in bedford stuyvesant, brooklyn, a birch ply wall divides the r 17
Above: In a brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a birch ply wall divides the room, creating a closet space behind the bed, and serves as a headboard with storage niche. See In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a Renovated Brownstone with Inspired Solutions for more.
built ins add ample storage space in english translation: a compact victorian g 18
Above: Built-ins add ample storage space in English Translation: A Compact Victorian Gets an Eclectic but Cohesive Makeover.
low, built in shelves line the paris bedroom of french style maker lucile demor 19
Above: Low, built-in shelves line the Paris bedroom of French style-maker Lucile Demory. Photograph by Claire Cottrell for Remodelista. See Modern Thrift: Lucile Demory’s Architect-Designed Rental in Paris for a look at the full apartment.
custom built ins surround a window in the all white pasadena bedroom of designe 20
Above: Custom built-ins surround a window in the all-white Pasadena bedroom of designer Michaela Scherrer, creating plenty of concealed storage, plus a ledge for artful displays. See World’s Tiniest Spa Bath: A Grecian-Inspired Guest Suite in LA for more; photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.
architect jerome buttrick carved out vertical shelving, complete with acce 21
Above: Architect Jerome Buttrick carved out vertical shelving, complete with accessible light switches and outlets on either side of Remodelista editor Julie Carlson’s bed. Photograph by Maria del Rio, from Refinery 29‘s feature on Julie’s Mill Valley, California, house.
in my own bedroom, my husband and i maximized space by building our bed into an 22
Above: In my own bedroom, my husband and I maximized space by building our bed into an awkward niche and creating built-in storage above and pullout drawers below. More of our space-saving solutions can be seen in Living Small in London.
architect otto henkell kitted out the bedroom in a tiny cottage in melbourne wi 23
Above: Architect Otto Henkell kitted out the bedroom in a tiny cottage in Melbourne with plenty of storage, courtesy of white cubbies of various sizes and shapes. See Before/After: 11 Ideas to Steal from a Tiny Melbourne Worker’s Cottage for more.
in another extra tiny brooklyn apartment, built in cabinets and shelves make th 24
Above: In another extra-tiny Brooklyn apartment, built-in cabinets and shelves make the most of the space around a pull-down Murphy bed. See Living Large in 675 Square Feet, Brooklyn Edition for more; photograph by Matthew Williams.
a platform bed by studio oink doubles as storage. see happiness at home with a  25
Above: A platform bed by Studio Oink doubles as storage. See Happiness at Home with a German Design Duo for more tips from the designers.
san francisco architects turnbull griffin haesloop incorporate bedside tables a 26
Above: San Francisco architects Turnbull Griffin Haesloop incorporate bedside tables and a dresser into the headboard of a bed, which also acts as a room partition. Photograph by David Wakely, courtesy of Turnbull Griffin Haesloop.
a loft like bedroom in a brooklyn apartment is built out with white oak plywood 27
Above: A loft-like bedroom in a Brooklyn apartment is built out with white oak plywood shelving and cabinets and a custom-built bed, to maximize space. See An Eclectic Apartment Inspired by Japanese Storage Chests in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn for more ingenious storage ideas.
in a compact apartment by new york based workstead, custom oak millwork creates 28
Above: In a compact apartment by New York-based Workstead, custom oak millwork creates a desk/vanity, clothes storage, and countertop, all in one. Also included: built-in nightstands with drawers. See The Artful Shoebox Apartment, Workstead Edition for more.
a bureau that takes up no real estate: in a tiny brooklyn heights bedroom, the  29
Above: A bureau that takes up no real estate: In a tiny Brooklyn Heights bedroom, the owners needed clothes storage but didn’t have the floor space for a dresser, so firm General Assembly built a full-depth bureau recessed into the wall. Photograph by Joe Fletcher. See Before & After: In Brooklyn Heights, a Petite Flat Transformed for more.
in a project in a former hayloft in the north sea, the architects took inspirat 30
Above: In a project in a former hayloft in the North Sea, the architects took inspiration from “bed boxes,” small, dark bedrooms with lots of built-in storage, like the under-bed cabinets and shelves shown here. See Frisian Style: An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea for more bed box storage ideas.
a built out wall of cabinets creates a nook for a bed—and hidden shelves 31
Above: A built-out wall of cabinets creates a nook for a bed—and hidden shelves within reach. See A Darkly Romantic House in Sweden by Skälsö Architects for more.

More storage and organization in the bedroom:

N.B.: This post is an update. The original ran in October 2014 as part of our Genius Storage Solutions issue.

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Frequently asked questions

What are some architectural built-ins for the bedroom?

Some popular architectural built-ins for the bedroom include window seats, built-in bookshelves, alcove beds, built-in wardrobes, built-in desks, built-in nightstands, window nooks, built-in vanities, platform beds, built-in storage benches, built-in daybeds, and built-in seating areas.

What is a window seat?

A window seat is a built-in bench or seating area that is typically installed below a window. It provides a cozy spot for sitting, reading, or enjoying the view.

What are built-in bookshelves?

Built-in bookshelves are shelves that are custom-designed and built to fit a specific space in the bedroom. They are integrated into the wall or surrounding cabinetry, providing a seamless and space-saving storage solution for books and other items.

What is an alcove bed?

An alcove bed is a bed that is recessed into an alcove or niche in the wall. It creates a cozy and intimate sleeping space, and can be further enhanced with built-in storage or shelving around it.

What are built-in wardrobes?

Built-in wardrobes are custom-designed closets that are integrated into the bedroom walls. They offer ample storage space for clothing, shoes, and accessories, and can be tailored to fit the specific needs and style of the room.

What is a built-in desk?

A built-in desk is a desk that is custom-built and installed into a specific area of the bedroom. It provides a dedicated workspace and can be designed to include storage compartments or shelves for organizing office supplies.

What are built-in nightstands?

Built-in nightstands are bedside tables that are designed to be a part of the bedroom's overall architecture. They are usually attached to the wall or built into a bed frame, eliminating the need for freestanding tables and optimizing space.

What is a window nook?

A window nook is a small, cozy seating area created by a window or bay window. It often includes a built-in bench or cushioned seating, allowing for a comfortable space to relax, read, or enjoy the natural light.

What is a built-in vanity?

A built-in vanity is a custom-designed makeup or dressing station that is built into the bedroom. It typically includes a mirror, storage drawers, and a countertop, providing a dedicated space for getting ready.

What is a platform bed?

A platform bed is a low-profile bed frame that eliminates the need for a box spring. It often includes built-in storage drawers or shelves underneath, maximizing bedroom space and providing a sleek and modern look.

What is a built-in storage bench?

A built-in storage bench is a combination of seating and storage, usually installed against a wall or in an alcove. It offers a convenient place to sit while also providing hidden storage compartments for items like extra bedding or seasonal clothing.

What is a built-in daybed?

A built-in daybed is a seating and sleeping area that is integrated into the bedroom architecture. It offers a versatile space for lounging, reading, and can also double as an extra bed for guests.

What are built-in seating areas?

Built-in seating areas are custom-built benches or seating nooks that are integrated into the bedroom. They can be placed near windows, in alcoves, or against walls to provide additional seating options and storage.

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