Creating Built-in Wall Bookshelves

Reference Number: KB-01066
Last Modified: May 26, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


I would like to have a built in wall bookcase with shelves and doors on the bottom. How do I build this into my wall?

Physically based full camera view of a living room with built-in wall bookshelves


You can create a built in wall book shelf by creating a recess in the wall and then placing full length cabinets within the recess.  The cabinets can then be customized to meet the desired shelving arrangement.

To create a recess in the wall

  1.  Open the Home Designer plan in which you would like to add the built-in wall bookshelves; or, create a new plan by selecting File> New Plan  from the menu.

  2. If you are working with a new plan, you will need to draw your room wall first. From the menu, select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall  and click and drag in floor plan view in a clockwise manner to add your exterior walls to the plan.

  3. Now you will need to draw the interior walls to create the recess. From the menu, select Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall  and click and drag in floor plan view to create a recess for the book case as below. The depth of this recess should be approximately 3 inches larger than your desired bookshelf depth.

    Starting room for creating a recess in the wall

Now that you have created the recess you are ready to place some full length cabinets within them for the shelves.

To place cabinets in the recess

  1.  From the menu select Build> Cabinet> Full Height   and position your mouse in the wall recess. Move the mouse towards the back wall of the recess to correctly orient the cabinet then click to place.

    Placing a cabinet in the recess

  2. Click the Select Objects   tool and double-click on the cabinet to open the Full Height Cabinet Specification dialog for that cabinet.

  3. Change the Height of the cabinet to 107 5/8" which is the default Finished Ceiling Height when a room is created. Press the Tab key on your keyboard after you have changed the height to update the cabinet without closing the dialog.

    Changing the cabinet height in the specification dialog

  4. Select the Front panel. Click on the top door in the picture on the right, then change the Item Type from Door - Auto Right to Opening. You should now see open shelving sections at the top. Repeat this step for the bottom door.

    Modifying the cabinet front to have an opening

    Note: In Home Designer Pro, shelf properties can be adjusted further by selecting the Opening component and clicking on the Specify button next to the Shelves field. 

    Also, starting in Home Designer Pro 2023, the minimum shelf spacing can be set within the General Cabinet Defaults, preventing the need to adjust the shelf spacing for each individual cabinet.

  5. Click the Add New button, then select Door - Auto Left and set the Item Height to 18".

    Creating a new face item for the cabinet front

    Note: In Home Designer Professional 2023 and newer you can control the minimum shelf spacing by in the General Cabinet Defaults dialog to affect all your cabinets.

You now have a correctly configured cabinet placed in the recess and simply need to duplicate this cabinet to fill the recess.  If you wish to customize the materials used in the cabinet, it will save on later work to do this now before making the copies.


To fill the recess with the configured cabinet

  1. Select the cabinet that has already been placed, then from the menu select Edit> Copy  and then Edit> Paste> Paste  and click next to the cabinet to place another one. Select and drag it in till it snaps next to the existing cabinet and the back wall.

    Cabinets filling the recess

  2. Repeat this until the recess has been filled with cabinets.

  3. You may need to adjust the position of the interior side wall of the recess to perfectly fit the cabinets, or alternatively you can resize the cabinets to match the recess as required.

  4. You will want to change the bottom door on every second cabinet to Door - Auto Right. Click the Select Objects   tool and double-click on the cabinet to open the Full Height Cabinet Specification dialog for that cabinet.

  5. Select the door from the bottom of the picture on the right and change the Item Type from Door - Auto Left to Door - Auto Right. Repeat for any additional cabinets that need to be changed.

  6. To see the results, select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu and click and drag a camera arrow directed at the recess.