Cost of a built in bookshelf

How Much Does Built-in Bookshelves Cost?

Built-in bookshelves is a practical addition to your home. They add character to your interior but they don’t take up much space, making them a perfect storage solution for your piles of books.

Built-in bookshelves are effective space-savers because, as their name implies, they are built directly into the structure of your room. Usually, you’ll need a carpenter to perform the job. Nevertheless, a know-how in construction will be a big help if you want to do the shelving yourself.

That said, how much does built-in bookshelves cost, from the materials to installation?

Average Cost Of Built-in Bookcases

Built-in bookcases are widely available for order and shipping. Online, you will find a vast array of sizes, designs, and colors of the said furniture. Some companies will provide you with a price after you request a quote. Others, on the other hand, post the costs on their websites.

One supplier that does the latter is Custom Made, which sells built-in wall units priced at $1,000 to $10,000 and up. While they do not strictly offer shelves for books, their products are perfect for holding them while serving other purposes (such as an entertainment unit).

Also, their products are custom-made (it’s quite obvious with their company name). This type of construction is the most expensive option, hence the higher prices. 

You can also look for pre-made built-in bookshelves in online shops such as Costco. An initial search on their website will show you a few wall units to choose from, with the price range starting from $900 and up.

Installation Costs

Because of the wide-range pricing, it’s hard to come up with an average cost of built-in bookcases. That is if we’re talking about the price of the furniture alone. Nevertheless, construction-related web sites can give us an idea of how much it costs to install the shelves.

For instance, Home Advisor says that you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 for the installation of built-in bookshelves. Fixr.com has a similar price range ($1,540 to $5,000) and sets a national average of $2,050 for a straightforward shelf-only design.

Cost Factors

As much as we want to give you an exact price, no built-in bookcase installations are exactly alike. The easiest way to get specific figures is to request a quote from a contractor.

That said, you have to know the factors that affect how much does built-in bookshelves cost. This way, you can understand how a contractor comes up with their price quote.

  • Material of the bookshelf
  • Which wood type do you prefer for your bookcase? Most homeowners opt for a veneer plywood ($700-$1,200 including lumber, hardware, and finish). This material fits mid-budget projects and is sturdier than other materials as it won’t sag over time.
  • Materials are priced by how elastic they are. Elasticity means the ability of a material to withstand the weight of objects without sagging or cracking. Generally, those with high elasticity cost more.
  • Here’s a guide regarding elasticity of common built-in bookcase materials by Home Advisor:
    • Birch: 2.01 (elasticity)
    • Douglas Fir: 1.95
    • Hard Maple (Sugar): 1.83
    • White Oak: 1.78
    • White Ash: 1.77
    • Shortleaf Pine: 1.76
    • Black Walnut: 1.68
    • Poplar: 1.58
    • Cherry: 1.49
    • Red Oak: 1.49
    • White Fir: 1.38
    • Ponderosa Pine: 1.26
    • White Pine: 1.24
    • Western Red Cedar: 1.12
  • Construction
  • Built-in bookshelves can be pre-made, semi-custom, and custom.
  • Pre-made (or stock) and semi-custom bookcases are more affordable. However, you’ll have to make do with the designs and specifications available. Once a bookshelf is made with the said construction types, you’ll have a hard time altering its appearance.
  • Custom built-in bookshelves, on the other hand, are more expensive as each construction is specific to a homeowner’s preference.
  • Labor fees
  • The labor cost will also vary depending on how many shelves you want to build.
  • Labor fees will also depend on your location. A safe estimate is an additional $100 to $200 to the total cost of installation.
  • Bookshelf design
  • The height and features of your furniture all affect the total cost of built-in bookcases
  • It’s common for homeowners to install a bookshelf 8-10 feet high. In fact, the said height is the basis for the average costs we mentioned earlier. Consequently, shelves higher than that will cost more as it will take longer to install them.
  • The Fixr.com average cost is based on a straightforward shelf-only design. That said, the price will increase if you prefer having glass doors, drawers, lights, etc. for your bookcase.
  • Here is a list of estimated prices for some of the said features:
    • Drawers: $200 each
    • Doors: $100 to $200 each
    • Glass doors: $200 to $400 each
    • Lighting: $30 to $100 per light
    • Electric fireplace: $600 to $1,000+
  • Fitting in
  • Not all spaces are ready for fitting in. Some necessary repairs, such as removing molding or fixing the flooring, will add to the labor costs.
  • Geographical location
  • How much do built-in bookshelves cost? Where you are in the US has something to do with the price.
  • One example is shown in an article by Renovation 101. According to the write-up, the average rate of installing a built-in bookshelf in New York City is $800 to $1,000 per linear foot.
  • According to Home Advisor, the average installation cost in Denver, Colorado is about $1,385 to $3,800.
  • Where you specifically live will also affect the price. For instance, installing a built-in bookcase in some apartments will mean a limited work time (as some buildings have strict work hours for contractors). Due to this, a one-day installation is almost improbable, adding to the labor costs.

DIY Costs

You will be able to save a considerable amount of money by installing the built-in units yourself. According to Home Advisor, you will pay about $200 to $500 for a DIY installation. Each shelving will cost anywhere from $25 to $150. Of course, the size, material, design, and features will all add up to the cost.

No matter how you want to install your built-in bookcase, know that it’s a practical and aesthetic addition to your home. Do invest in it if you have enough space. You’ll surely love the results!