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Built-in Shelving Cost

Built-in Shelving Cost

National average
(straightforward shelf-only design with premium grade veneer plywood)
Low: $1,540

(straightforward shelf-only design with basic grade veneer plywood)

High: $5,000

(custom design with two oak drawers and four doors)

Cost to install built-in shelving varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from Carpenters in your city.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Built-in Shelving?

Maximize your space with built-in shelving. Built-ins are terrific bookcases and provide ample storage. Each built-in will blend into the room and add a classy undertone to your room. The average built-in shelving unit runs along the length of a wall and stretches to the ceiling. For this cost guide we will be looking at 10 linear feet of shelving.

Cost Breakdown

  • Building: building labor costs should include cutting the sides, back and base of the built-in 1 shelving frame, building the face frame, cutting and setting shelves, sanding 2, preparing for paint or stain, painting or staining and adding trim on the face of the unit. Also included in building labor is the typical planning, equipment and material purchasing, standard area preparation and protection, as well as setup and basic cleanup. The average carpenter charges $70 per hour.
    • Building 1 full 10 linear feet of shelving would take 8-10 hours and cost $560-$700.
    • Building 2 cases of 5 linear feet of shelving (to flank a fireplace, for example) would take 9-11 hours and cost $630-$770.
  • Installation: installation labor is typically done by a carpenter and costs should include installation planning, standard area preparation and protection, as well as setup and basic cleanup, removal of molding and trim, installation of the unit, and installation of molding and trim. This process should take between 4-7 hours and cost between $280-$490.
  • Material:
    • Veneer 3 plywood 4 is often used because it's stronger than softwoods like pine and won’t sag overtime. This will cost between $700-$1,200 in materials including lumber, hardware and finish.
    • Oak or other high-quality lumber costs about $1,800 in materials, including lumber, hardware and finish.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

  • Add drawers for an additional $200 each.
  • Add doors for an additional $100–$200 each. Glass doors can be added for between $200-$400 each.
  • Glass shelving can be added but can be expected to double the material costs.
  • Install lighting into the built-ins 1 for between $30-$100 per light.
  • Incorporate an electric fireplace into the shelving can increase overall costs by $600-$1,000 or possibly more depending on the current heating system.
  • Turn your built-in 1 shelving into an entertainment center for around $8,000-$12,000.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Custom units to fit existing room architecture, in hard to reach areas of the home, with specialty wood or finish or other custom features can raise the cost up to $7,000+.
  • The standard height for a built-in 1 is 8’ tall. Built-ins 1 that are taller will increase the cost by 35%-50% or more as they are non-standard.
  • Soft wood should be avoided as to prevent sagging over the years.
  • Weightload will need to be calculated to ensure that the shelving holds up over the years.
  • Discounts may be available if more work is done at the same time.
  • It is recommended to get more than one estimate to ensure that a competitive price is obtained.
  • In high rise buildings, prices can be slightly inflated due to restricted access and strict work hours.
  • Paint can typically be mixed to match trim or wall color for no additional cost.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Built-in 1 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
glossary term picture Sanding 2 Sanding: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
3 Veneer: A thin layer of decorative finishing applied to a coarser construction material
glossary term picture Plywood 4 Plywood: An engineered construction material manufactured from thin slices of wood glued together in alternating grain patterns for strength

Cost to install built-in shelving varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Anchorage, AK
Apex, NC
Ashland, NH
Athens, GA
Atlanta, GA
Austell, GA
Baltimore, MD
Baton Rouge, LA
Bear, DE
Brandon, FL
Buffalo, NY
Campbell, CA
Chesapeake, VA
Chicago, IL
Chula Vista, CA
Cincinnati, OH
Coldwater, MI
Cumming, GA
Dallas, TX
Detroit, MI
Dover, MA
Evans, GA
Germantown, TN
Glendale, AZ
Greensboro, NC
Greer, SC
Hartford, CT
Helena, AL
Henderson, NV
Hollywood, FL
Huntsville, AL
Inglewood, CA
Kennesaw, GA
Lakeville, MN
Las Vegas, NV
Laurel, MT
Littleton, CO
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Maricopa, AZ
Miami, FL
Middletown, NY
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Nashville, TN
New York, NY
Newport News, VA
Norfolk, VA
Orlando, FL
Pearland, TX
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources