There's lots to love about the look of built-in bookcases–the type you're likely to see filling a nook, flanking a fireplace or keeping balance on either side of a sofa. But they're pricey, and permanent, and well, there are better alternatives available that don't involve a custom build.
These three solutions aren't dead ringers for the look–there's no replacement for beautiful built-ins–but each of these alternatives do capture the symmetrical and satisfying vibe of custom bookcases. You can even mix and match, just check out the photo above from the London home of interior photographer Veronica Rodriguez, which combines two of these clever alternatives:
Wall-Mounted Shelves & Cabinets
The trick to getting the look just right is keeping everything close to the same width as what's above or below it.
A Just-Right-Sized Piece of Furniture
A table, a desk, a dresser... they'll all give you the oddly satisfying feeling of built-ins when they're measured to fit just right. Keep a note in your phone of the dimensions of the nook you're looking to fill to make shopping easier.
A Twin Pair of Standing Bookcases
A simple switch that mimics the feel of built-ins while offering a ton more flexibility.