How much do built-in bookshelves cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much do built-in bookshelves cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much do built-in bookshelves cost?

$300 –$850average cost per linear foot
$2,000 – $7,500average total cost to build

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$300 –$850 average cost per linear foot

$2,000 – $7,500 average total cost to build


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
Edited by
Sarah Noel
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Tom Grupa

Built-in bookshelves cost

Built-in bookshelves cost $300 to $850 per linear foot installed or $2,000 to $7,500 total on average. The price of built-in bookshelves depends on the size, style, materials, whether they're custom built-ins or premade, and if they include cabinets, drawers, or lighting features.

Built-in bookshelves cost
Type Cost per linear foot installed Average total cost installed
Pre-made built-ins or bookshelves $100 – $300 $500 – $2,000
Custom built-ins or bookshelves $400 – $1,000+ $2,000 – $7,500

Custom bookshelves cost per linear foot

Custom bookshelves cost $150 to $400 per linear foot installed with the cheapest plywood materials. Custom glass bookshelves cost $750 to $1,200 per linear foot total and are the most expensive type.

Built-in bookshelves cost per linear foot by material - Chart
Built-in bookshelves cost per linear foot by material - Chart
Custom built-in bookshelves cost by material
Material Cost per linear foot installed Details
Plywood $150 – $600
  • Thin layers of wood glued together and faced with a hardwood veneer
  • Stronger than MDF but not as strong or durable as solid hardwood
Hardwood $500 – $1,200
  • Strong and sturdy
  • Includes oak, cherry, walnut, maple, and birch
MDF $150 – $400
  • Wood fibers and resin pressed into layers
  • Budget-friendly but may sag under the weight of heavy books
Metal $450 – $850
  • Popular in commercial offices and libraries
  • Adds an industrial vibe to the home
Glass $750 – $1,200
  • Tempered glass sheets supported by a metal or wood frame
  • More fragile than other options but allows more light into the shelving area

Cost of built-in shelves by location

The total prices of built-in shelves vary by the installation location, as shown in the chart below:

Cost of built-ins by location
Location Average cost installed
Entertainment center $1,500 – $9,000 
Home office or bedroom $1,000 – $8,000
Kitchen cabinets $3,200 – $8,500
Kitchen pantry $1,000 – $5,000
Around a window $2,000 – $8,000 
Around a fireplace $1,000 – $8,000 
Shower shelf $200 – $500+

Built-in cabinets cost

Custom built-in cabinets cost $500 to $1,200 per linear foot on average, while semi-custom built-in cabinets cost $200 to $550 per linear foot. Custom cabinet pricing depends on the style, material, and layout, with complex designs priced at the higher end of the range.

Built-in entertainment center cost

A built-in entertainment center costs $1,500 to $9,000 on average, depending on the size and features. A large, floor-to-ceiling custom built-in entertainment center can cost more than $12,000 with multiple drawers or cabinets, shelf lighting, and hidden electrical outlets.

Home office built-in bookshelves prices

Built-in bookshelves for a home office cost $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the size, materials, and features. Prices fall on the higher end for custom built-ins with a fold-down desk, cabinets, or glass bookcase doors.

Kitchen or pantry built-in shelving cost

Built-in pantry shelving costs $1,000 to $5,000 on average, depending on the features. Total costs fall at the higher end of the range when adding slide-out shelves, pan racks, and other custom options.

Stock or semi-custom kitchen cabinets cost $160 to $380 per linear foot or $3,200 to $8,500 total installed for an average-sized kitchen. Fully custom kitchen cabinets cost $500 to $1,200 per linear foot.

Built-in shelves around window cost

Built-in bookshelves around a window cost $2,000 to $8,000 on average. Placing a cushioned bench seat below the window is a popular design option for a reading nook. Extra storage shelves typically fit beneath the bench.

Cost of built-ins around fireplace

The cost of built-ins around a fireplace is $1,000 to $8,000 on average, depending on the style and project complexity. Costs increase when installing custom built-ins around a complex masonry fireplace. Floating shelves are a popular design choice to frame the mantle.

Fireplace installation costs $1,900 to $5,600, depending on the type, fuel source, and whether masonry work is necessary.

Custom built-in shelves and cabinets around a fireplace.
Custom built-in shelves and cabinets around a fireplace.

Built-in bookshelves installation cost estimates

Built-in bookshelf installation costs
Factor Average cost
Materials $600 – $1,500
Installation labor $1,400 – $6,000
Total cost to install $2,000 – $7,500

The following factors impact the cost to install built-in bookshelves:

  • Labor and construction – Labor is 70% to 80% of the total project cost and includes planning, designing, and building the shelving. Labor costs depend on the type of professional and whether the bookshelves are premade, semi-custom, or custom.

    • A carpenter charges $40 to $100 per hour to build and install custom or semi-custom built-in bookshelves.

    • A handyman charges $50 to $80 per hour to install premade shelving.

  • Materials / wood type – MDF and plywood are the cheapest options, while high-end materials like glass, marble, and premium hardwoods cost the most.

  • Size & depth – Standard shelving is 10" to 12" deep and 8' tall or less. Costs increase by 20% to 50% for bookshelves more than 8' tall, deeper shelves, or floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

  • ColorPainting costs $1 to $3 per square foot of surface area.

  • Design – Custom accents, unique headers, decorative arches, or front surrounds increase the total cost.

  • Drawers & cabinets – Drawers add $100 to $250 each. Cabinet doors add $100 to $200 per set for wood doors or up to $400 per set for glass doors.

  • LightingElectricians charge $40 to $100 per hour to run new wiring for bookshelf lighting. The cost to install an electrical outlet is $150 to $350. Outlets on the back wall of built-in bookshelves allow for lighted displays without running visible cords along the shelf.

  • Crown molding – The cost to install crown molding is $7 to $16 per linear foot, including labor and materials. Crown molding adds a refined and classic look to built-in bookshelves.

  • Add-ons & accessories – Add-ons like a rolling library ladder and a fold-down or built-in desk increase the total cost.

  • Site conditions & prep – Costs increase if the floors or walls are uneven or need repairs first.

Custom built-in shelves and cabinets in a living room.
Custom built-in shelves and cabinets in a living room.

Built-in bookshelf styles

Custom built-in bookshelves can suit any size, style, layout, and storage needs. Common designs include:

  • Alcove – Equally sized bookshelves built into the alcoves on each side of a fireplace or wall-mounted TV

  • Shelf/storage combo – Built-ins with shelves at the top and cabinets or drawers on the bottom row

  • Shelf/desk combo – Built-in bookshelves positioned on each side of a matching built-in desk

  • Geometric – Built-ins featuring shelves of differing heights and widths, often forming a decorative geometric pattern

  • Floating – Built-in shelves with no visible mounting brackets

  • Open – Built-in shelving that is open and accessible from both the front and back, typically used to create separation between rooms while letting light in

  • Reading nook – Built-in bookshelves surrounding an armchair, sofa, or window seat to create a cozy reading space

  • Library / hallway style – Built-in bookshelves arranged to form a passageway or hallway

  • Under-stair – Bookshelves built into the unused space below a staircase, sometimes including a built-in bench for seating

Built-in bookshelves FAQ

Do built-in bookshelves increase home value?

Built-in bookshelves typically increase a home's value if they are well-designed, professionally made with hardwood or high-quality materials, and serve a functional purpose in that room.

What wood is best to use for built-in bookshelves?

Solid hardwoods are best for built-in bookshelves as they are dent- and scratch-resistant, hold more weight, and won't sag like MDF, particleboard, or softwoods like pine.

How deep should built-in bookshelves be?

Built-in bookshelves should be at least 10" to 12" deep. Shelves that will hold entertainment equipment should be 18" to 20" deep.

Who builds custom built-in bookshelves?

Carpenters, furniture builders, and cabinet makers build custom built-in bookshelves. A handyman can install premade bookshelves.

Getting estimates from custom built-ins & bookshelf builders

Before hiring a carpenter or furniture builders near you to make custom built-in bookshelves, be sure to:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.

  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Ask for references and browse their portfolio of similar completed projects.

  • Select licensed, bonded, and insured companies that have 5+ years of experience.

  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before work begins.

  • Avoid choosing the lowest quote as it often indicates poor quality workmanship.

  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been installing built-in bookshelves?

  • Can you provide references with contact information?

  • Do you have a portfolio of past projects?

  • Which shelving material do you recommend for my project?

  • What are my painting and finish options?

  • How much weight will each shelf support?

  • Will the shelf heights be adjustable?

  • How long will the project take?

  • Does the estimate include cleanup?

  • Can you install electrical outlets behind the shelves? If so, how much extra do you charge?

  • How much extra does it cost to add glass doors for the bookshelves?


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