The last thing that you want to do after purchasing your new home and getting unpacked is leaving the place cluttered.

Built-in bookshelves can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your new living space by providing nooks for all kinds of things beyond books. You might decide to use built-in bookshelves for a media center or a place to showcase antiques and heirlooms that you've received over the years.

Pro: Use Otherwise Unused Space

Built-in bookshelves can, of course, be used for books and for turning an otherwise unused wall into a spot to put literally hundreds of books and DVDs. You'll finally be able to keep your closets clear for, imagine this, clothes. Then again, maybe you'll want to fold clothes and stow them on a built-in bookshelf so that you can simply grab what you'd like to wear for the day and go without scrounging around in the closet. Whichever items you choose to store on a built-in bookshelf, you'll save yourself space in the garage and attic for other items and, overall, shore up living space.

Con: Fixed Location

One downside of built-in bookshelves is that they're immovable and can't be rearranged to fit a new layout you're shooting for. Since you probably purchased the home with the built-in bookshelves in mind, this likely won't be a deal breaker. That said, if you decide to rent or sell your home at any point, the fact that built-in bookshelves are a take-it-or-leave-it proposition could create an issue. Also, keep in mind that built-in bookshelves typically can't be reoriented, though some built-in bookshelves can have a few of their shelves removed to open up more options for storing larger items.

Pro: Doubles as Media Center

A built-in media wall will lend a sense of permanence and originality to your indoor decor. By framing books and DVDs on either side of your television and using your built-in bookshelves as a media center, you'll also be adding a splash of color to any room. In general, books will add color and variety to a room. The choice for what you put around your television, though, is up to you since built-in bookshelves can host knick-knacks, books, and all kinds of electronics (e.g., controllers, DVD player, and a Kindle e-reader). Turning a built-in bookshelf into a media center will create an anchor and focal point in the room.

Con: Depth Could be a Problem

Turning your built-in bookshelves into a media center could create a new problem - you might discover that you don't have enough depth to some of the shelves. Electronics like televisions and DVD players will need proper ventilation to function properly, which underscores the importance of having adequate depth to your built-in bookshelves. The home design experts recommend shooting for 36 inches for a base and a depth of approximately twenty inches. If you have that, you're already golden!

Overall, built-in bookshelves really seem to have more pros than cons. The apparent cons might not even burden you.

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