“Built-out” Focal Point

Built-ins are lovely.

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Seems like most old houses have them, usually flanking an even lovelier fireplace. Our house does not have these. As a matter of fact, our little living room really has absolutely no focal point—nothing to gather furniture around or give the room that old-house charm. And so it was that I looked at pretty built-ins around the Web, thinking that at least a girl could dream.

But then I started seeing the hacks.

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(this next one’s my fave!)

(sources for all above images can be found on our Pinterest)

…ordinary people just like me with ordinary focal-less walls just like mine, hacking good old Ikea shelves. Some even making them look like built-ins! That above one from According to Braswell gave me goose bumps. So I started a project that I’m embarrassed to admit took months to complete.


Mom helped me assemble an Ikea Expedit unit. We propped up the unit with pieces of 2×4, construction glue and L-brackets. (Ignore the mom legs.)


Painted the wall that would become the back of the “built-out” Dusy Miller by Glidden…the color scheme in our living room is inspired by favorite, very worn J. Crew tote:


We cut the floor trim where the shelve would sit away from the wall and reinstalled it, along with a few extra pieces leftover from removing it in the kitchen, around the bottom (no pics, sorry).

Sat like that for months, the poor thing. Until this afternoon, when I got sick of looking at this unfinished project. Guess Centsational Girl lit a fire under my lazy arse when she posted her super awesome Ikea-hack built-in. So I added trim to the top. Here’s what it looked like when I started (way too contemporary for our old little house):


With trim (as you can see, we have use of an AWESOME chop saw, thanks mom & dad):


With caulk:


Trim painted to match the unit:


And there ya have it, folks! (Uh, please ignore the stuff that clearly does not work in here. And the empty shelves. Thanks, dears.)


Note the little hole I cut into it (above) to fit the power bar cord—no moving outlets in these original plaster walls! And no, I have absolutely no problem with an unhidden TV in the living room. It’s a TV. Everyone has one. I’m over it.

Living room focal point=COMPLETE!

<3 Teresa

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12 Responses to “Built-out” Focal Point

  1. Debbie says:

    Trimwork can fix an abundance of issues, can’t it?

  2. Mom says:

    “MOM LEGS”??? Really!

  3. Katrina says:

    you Ikea hack looks great!! We too need a focal wall / point in our heom. For some reason we don’t have a fireplace, and so of our neighbors do :( no fair. We’re planning on doing a built-in wall of bookshelves very soon!

  4. kylahfink says:

    Hey!! Where`s the part about me!!!! :) I helped too (sort of!! ok not really). lol Miss You an Chris!!!! See you soon i hope!

  5. Pingback: Thank You | Our Corner House

  6. Mary says:

    AWESOME and creative. If you were my kids I would be super proud of you!!!!!!!

  7. Mom says:

    Yes, GDT, you’ve got it all together! I especially like the basket drawers in the
    bottom–a nice break in the overall design. (GDT=grand daughter Teresa)
    gram mary

  8. Julia says:

    Teresa- We LOVE it! Did you buy the normal large expedit unit and leave the parts out where you installed the TV? And the shelves under the TV, did you have to cut some yourself?

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