What Do Built-in Cabinets Cost?

Custom Built-in cabinets and bookshelves can add an elegant design touch to any home; not to mention they can be practical as storage solutions. Unlike purchasing a piece of furniture like an entertainment center, custom built-ins are created in your desired color and material and will perfectly fit your ideal space. Just like with custom kitchen cabinets, quality contractors or cabinet makers can design and install any cabinetry, shelving, storage, or other custom elements you desire.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable built-in cabinet contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about the costs of a built-in cabinetry project – here are some considerations, ideas, and tips to get you started.

Built-In Cabinet Options

Fireplace with cabinets built into wall

  • Bookshelves – perfect for a living room, family room, or even wide hallway, a built-in bookshelf helps reduce clutter and can house family photos, art, and other knick-knacks. 
  • TV Wall unit – Like an entertainment center, creating custom built-ins for your tv create a perfect space to hang a tv as well as lots of space for other entertainment/video components and hide other items inside the storage compartments. 
  • Mud-room storage – Creating the right cabinetry in your mud room helps keep this space tidy and organized. Typical built-ins here are a shoe rack, coat hanging rod or hooks, and open/closed shelves for various storage. 
  • Wine rack – Although there are many options to purchase a simple wine rack from a store, creating a large, custom built-in wine rack creates an elegant design statement, especially for those that like to collect a great number of wine bottles.
  • Shelves around a fireplace – In addition to a simple mantle above the fireplace, creating shelves or a full built-in bookcase on bother sides of the fireplace can create a beautiful and elegant wall in a living or family room.
  • Desk and workspace – Depending on the location, a custom built-in can include one or more desk spaces, ideal for kids doing homework or other projects/tasks. 
  • Built-in pantry – Inside a walk-in pantry or a butler’s pantry, using custom built-in cabinetry or shelving creates a functional space for storing and preparing food.
  • Closet or storage space – Closets can easily be transformed from an empty space with a clothes rod to a clean and elegant storage space with the use of closet built-ins; including shelves, rods, cabinets, drawers, etc.
  • Laundry room – Every laundry room deserves some built-in cabinets including a sink, a folding table, and some storage areas.
  • Hobby room storage- Whether you’re an artist, a craftsman, or a collector, your hobby room needs built-in cabinets to house all your gear, tools, and supplies. 
  • Custom bathroom built-ins- For larger bathrooms, a nice storage solution is a full-height built-in cabinet or linen cabinet.
  • Kitchen built-in seating or window seat- Building a low bench for seating in the kitchen nook or even in a family/living room under a window can be an elegant and practical use of built-ins.

How Much Does It Cost For Built-in Cabinets In Los Angeles And Southern California?

Built-in cabinet bench seating dining nook

The average cost of custom built-in cabinets is $500 to $1500 per lineal foot in most parts of California. This price includes the fabrication, material, prep, and installation. This is a wide range of pricing because it will largely depend on your selection of material, finish, style, and options. 

No two custom bookshelf projects are the same, so your cost will depend on your specific requirements. When we talk about a price per lineal foot, it assumes an 8-foot-tall cabinet. But if portions of your built-in are shorter (say a desk, a shoe rack, or a built-in bench), that section should have a lower per-lineal-foot price. 

Custom built-in cabinets are similar in many ways to custom kitchen cabinetry, except they often don’t need a countertop. The major difference is the design: built-ins have many more options for storage and display solutions…ie, a shoe rack or a tv area, etc.   

Related: 2023 Los Angeles Kitchen Remodel Cost & Tips

built-in shelving on walls

Do Built-Ins Add Value To My Home?

According to Realtor.com, built-ins and bookshelves usually increase the value of a home assuming they are stylish, in good condition and provide good function and storage. Many buyers value additional storage and display areas and are willing to pay more for a house with those features. Not to mention that modern, stylish built-in cabinetry exudes a high-end, custom look and feel. 

Built-In Options:

Stunning contemporary living room built in cabinetry

A basic built-in cabinet design might look like a bookshelf of an entertainment center, but there are many options available to create the exact design you want. When designing your built-in cabinetry you can consider including the following options and upgrades:

  • Open shelves
  • Desktops or counters
  • Open cubbies
  • Drawers
  • Soft-close hinges
  • Lighting

Built-In Cabinet Materials:

Built-in cabinetry in bedroom

  • Solid wood: The best quality and most expensive material is a solid wood material from a species like Oak or Maple. This material is generally heavy and solid and withstands warping over time.
  • Plywood: Although you probably envision the kind of raw plywood used to build homes, higher quality grades of plywood are commonly used for cabinetry and shelving and can even be prepared/finished to look and feel like solid wood. 
  • MDF: This acronym for medium-density fiberboard is comprised of wood fiber and resin that are pressed together under heat/pressure. This is the most cost-effective material and is generally used as the ‘inside’ of a veneer or laminated product. 
  • Often, A custom built-in project will be comprised of several of these materials. For example, the interior of the cabinets might be MDF, the open shelves might be plywood, and the cabinet doors could be solid wood.  

Cabinet Finish options:

  • Painted Built-in Cabinets: Current popular styles of built-in cabinetry such as a shaker design are likely to be painted. Popular cabinet colors include white, grey, black, and dark blue shades. Painted built-in bookcases make for a clean and consistent look.
  • Lacquer or Varnish: These sealers are used on solid wood and can come in shades from clear to ultra-dark stains, depending on the look you want. The finish can be glossy, semi-gloss, or matte. 
  • None: Some built-ins, like laminate or veneer products, don’t require a finish.

Living room bookshelf cabinets

How Do A Find A Good Cabinet Contractor Near Me?

It’s important to find a qualified and experienced contractor to create your custom built-ins. If you want the finished product to look good, it’s not a good idea to hire a handyman or someone with minimal experience. The cost of custom-built-ins isn’t cheap, so you want to ensure you are happy with the finished product.

Look for an experienced contractor that has an active C-6 (cabinet & millwork) or B (general contractor) license from the state of California CSLB. Only these licensed contractors are truly qualified and experienced to create custom cabinetry and built-ins for you.

Requesting recommendations for a built-in cabinet contractor from dependable acquaintances, neighbors, and coworkers is a solid starting point. You should only consider the opinions of “real-life” friends if seeking guidance on social media. 

Consider working with a company like GreatBuildz that performs thorough contractor screening and provides personalized introductions to respected Los Angeles and SoCal cabinet builders. It is not wise to randomly select a cabinet service from an advertisement in your junk mail or a door flier.

Related: How to Find The Best Remodeling Company In Los Angeles

Closet built-in cabinets

When it comes to finding the best built-in cabinetry contractor for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened contractors and provides project support from start to finish.


In Southern California, Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:www.greatbuildz.com

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

How can we help with your project?

Explore More Remodeling Topics

Remodeling Cost Guides

Cost Guides

design ideas

Design Ideas

Finding a Contractor

Finding a Contractor

Picking Materials

Selecting Materials

remodeling advice

Remodeling Advice