How did we create that built-in in the family room?

If you’ve ever felt like decorating your home is just too damn hard, I’m about to take you on a little walk down memory lane today in hopes that you will realize that creating the home of your dreams takes time, even for those of us who are literally obsessed with it (this girl right here.)

I’m also answering one of the most common questions I get which is how did you create the built in in your family room?

I’ll admit it has taken me forever to get around to answering, but I had to really dig through old photos for this one. (As in dig out old computers that are currently sitting in the old computer cemetery in the garage kind of digging.)

Worth the wait, I promise. Not to mention super fun to see where we started, and how far we’ve come!

We got the keys to our home when our first born was just  a few weeks old. In fact the hubs did the walk through the day after she was born, while I was soaking up baby snuggles in the hospital . It was a short sale which took twice as long as planned to close and we had absolutely no control over the timing, but were so excited to have our patience finally pay off.

Our family room didn’t always have a personality. Or storage. Or color.

This is what it looked like when we got the keys (minus the baby seat, the paint samples, and the mayo and mustard?- no clue why those are there.)

It was builder white, on builder white, on off white, on cream, on more off white with off white berber carpet. Not cool, but a clean slate!

IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves (2)

Before we moved in we painted all of the main living spaces a perfect shade of greige, and called on the help of our family and friends to put in new baseboards, and install some beautiful, dark wide plank laminate flooring.IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

Then we moved our furniture in and slowly started accumulating more kids stuff than we could ever imagine and used what we had.

It made perfect sense to make this long wall the media area in our family room so we used the modular shelves that we had in our previous home to hold our TV and all the components until we could figure out a more permanent solution.

We knew we wanted to make this wall a focal point and have a built in, but when we heard how much custom built-ins cost we knew we had to come up with our own solution. (We had just transitioned from a 2 income household of 2, to a one income household of 3 with a mortgage!)

Not to mention, I wasn’t a fan of sweeping up dog hair from behind this make-shift media center, nor was I a fan of no where to put the toys (and I knew there would be more to come.)IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

So I guess building our own built-in was the answer! Or at least piecing one together was!

We wanted closed cabinets below to hold the TV components, and have storage for blankets, toys, and movies.

Up top, I wanted there to be open shelves to display decor and do some tricky hidden storage for things too. Plus, since we don’t have a fireplace, I wanted this space to act as my sorta “mantel” that I can change out with the seasons. (See how it looks in fall or winter!)

We found that IKEA kitchen base cabinets were perfect for the lower cabinets and installed them all the way across with a white laminate kitchen counter top (also from IKEA) on top.

IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

Then we painted the back wall a deep blue and secured LACK open shelves on each side. (These are no longer available, but there are similar ones at IKEA that would work the same.)

We cut off the bottom shelf on each unit so that the counter top was the bottom shelf, plus it made it so that they fit height wise.

Finally we installed a long LACK floating shelf across the middle to frame the TV and give me my mantle.IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

Having all of this open shelving space has really allowed me to let my color palette and my decor in general evolve over time. (We recently refreshed this room, you can see what it looked like before right here.)IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

And I love to play around with the styling on my shelves and switch the art out for a fresh look.IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

Absolutely crazy that what once looked like this…

family room built in before 2

Now looks like this! Say whaaaaat!

I hadn’t looked at those photos in so long and can’t believe how much we’ve been able to transform our home into a space that is a perfect backdrop for our lives.

This is the room we hang out in the most and it absolutely nails it when it comes to how we want our home to feel!
IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves

Thanks for coming along this journey with me today! Since discovering the file with all of the original photos of our home, I’m excited to share more then and now stories with you!

IKEA hack- how to create a built in out of IKEA cabinets and shelves (10)

Thanks for stopping by!

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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home (formerly TinySidkeick,) where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

14 thoughts on “How did we create that built-in in the family room?

  1. Jodie says:

    where is that little chair from so cute?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I love that chair, too, Jodie! It was originally my grandmother’s and covered with white faux fur hahahaha! I had it reupholstered. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Elyse says:

    How did you secure the lack shelving to the countertop?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Elyse, great question! We used L brackets secured to the wall in inconspicuous spots.

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing! What a great hack! You did a great job! Just wondering where you purchased your rug as I especially love it!

    1. Hey Heather! The rug is from Rugs USA. You can find all of the sources for this room in this post.

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