How Much Does It Cost To Build Built-In Shelving From Scratch?

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How Much Does It Cost to Build Built-in Shelving from Scratch?


Built-in shelving is a great way to maximize storage space and add a custom touch to your home. Whether you want to create a bookshelf, display cabinet, or storage unit, building it from scratch can be a cost-effective option. In this article, we will discuss the factors that influence the cost of building built-in shelving and provide some tips to help you estimate the expenses involved.

Factors Affecting the Cost

Several factors can influence the cost of building built-in shelving:

1. Size of the Shelving

The size of the shelving unit will have a significant impact on the cost. Larger units require more materials and labor, resulting in higher expenses. Consider the available space and the amount of storage you need to determine the appropriate size.

2. Material Selection

The choice of materials can greatly affect the cost. Options like solid wood, plywood, or MDF have different price points. Hardwood tends to be more expensive, while MDF offers a more budget-friendly solution. Consider your budget and the desired aesthetic when selecting materials.

3. Design Complexity

The complexity of the design will impact both the cost and the time required for construction. Intricate designs may require more skilled labor and specialized tools, leading to higher expenses. Keep the design simple if you’re on a tight budget.

4. Additional Features

Additional features, such as lighting, decorative trims, or hardware, can add to the cost of built-in shelving. Decide which features are essential and prioritize them within your budget.

Estimating the Cost

While the exact cost will vary depending on your location and specific project requirements, here is a general estimate:

1. Material Cost

On average, the material cost for building built-in shelving ranges from $500 to $2,000. This includes the cost of wood, hardware, finishing materials, and any additional features.

2. Labor Cost

The labor cost can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the hourly rate of the professionals you hire. Expect to spend around $500 to $1,500 for labor.

3. Total Cost

Considering both material and labor costs, the total cost for building built-in shelving from scratch typically ranges from $1,000 to $3,500.

Tips for Cost Saving

Here are some tips to help you save money while building built-in shelving:

1. DIY

Consider building the shelving unit yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools. This can significantly reduce labor costs.

2. Use Budget-Friendly Materials

Opt for more affordable materials like MDF instead of hardwood. You can still achieve a stylish look with proper finishing techniques.

3. Shop Around

Compare prices and quality from different suppliers to get the best deals on materials and hardware.


Building built-in shelving from scratch offers a cost-effective way to enhance your home’s storage and aesthetics. By considering factors like size, materials, design complexity, and additional features, you can estimate the expenses involved. Remember to explore cost-saving options like DIY and budget-friendly materials to stay within your budget. Happy building!