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Whether you’re gutting a house or simply giving your family room a much-needed refresh, one of the biggest budget busters is your finishes—items like hardware, lighting, and millwork. If you’re not careful, even seemingly affordable products can add up, sending your bottom line skyrocketing. 

But there are some really clever solutions that can help you achieve a high-end aesthetic without spending beyond your means. Take IKEA cabinets with Semihandmade fronts, for example. This match made in heaven makes it possible to get custom builtins in nearly any room of the house, from the living room to the bedroom, for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional millworker. Here’s proof: 


Living Room Unit

White living room with floor to ceiling built in storage


Photography by Alison Bernier, design by Samantha Gluck

When you have a tall, angled ceiling, this living room unit designed by Sam Gluck proves you don’t need to take your media unit all the way up. Thanks to a fresh white that blends in and Semihandmade Supermatte White Shaker Fronts, this storage piece looks like a built-in rather than a standalone unit. 


Tiny Cabin Inset


Photograph by Lauren Miller Photography, design by Keri MacLellan

Make great use of a little extra space with a small storage cabinet under a set of floating shelves. Here, designer Keri MacLellan, finished the cupboard, which is ripe for anything from media to glassware, with attractive SSS Desert Grey Beaded fronts and brass hardware for the perfect contrast to the creamy walls in the Ontario home


Modern Full Wall Unit

Full wall of cabinets in a basement media center


Photography and design by Kelsey Johnston

Kelsey Johnston maintains a clean, cozy aesthetic with a set of DIY built-ins that meets all four corners of the wall. The Supermatte White Slab doors keep things looking sleek, while the contrasting Impression Tahoe fronts bring a touch of texture to add visual interest. 


Side Cabinets

Living room cabinet on the side of a fireplace


Photography and design by Brooke Bundy Designs

Designer Brooke Bundy Designs uses small media cabinets to flank a stone fireplace, making the room feel more finished and adding much-needed storage space for books, media, and other extras. The SSS Desert Grey Beaded fronts have a contemporary vibe that pairs expertly with the streamlined shelves. 


Built-in Media Center

Living room white built-in credenza under television

Photography by Sara Tramp; design by Velinda Hellen

This built-in media center, designed by Velinda Hellen Design, comes together with the help of IKEA Besta Units and Semihandmade DIY Slab Fronts. A combination of a creamy Dunn Edwards color called White Picket Fence, natural wood, and brass sconces perfectly play into the Scandinavian minimalism-meets farmhouse aesthetic


Set Back Cabinets

Living room with cool tones and patterns


Photography and design by Heidi Parrish

Designer Heidi Parrish filled the empty space on either side of a tall stone fireplace with base cabinets finished with Semihandmade DIY Shaker fronts and natural wood floating shelves. We love how the gray-green hue pairs with the cool tones and mixed patterns in the room. 

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What’s the best paint color for my kitchen cabinets? How do I personalize my rental without renovating? Which interior design trends will stick around beyond 2021? How did marble become so popular in kitchen design (and should I splurge on my dream countertops)? Our interior design journeys are filled with questions which we at SemiStories attempt to answer every week through expert interviews, inspiring home tours, and trend reports. “Do As a Designer Does,” our monthly advice column, takes us behind the scenes of kitchen and bathroom design (and beyond) by spotlighting the best brains in the business. Here, we turn the microphone over to you to ask all your burning interior design, trend, and renovation questions to your favorite experts, from Sarah Sherman Samuel to Bobby Berk. Have a question? Shoot us a message on Instagram, or email us at for a chance to be featured! Have you ever wondered why certain details exist in your home? Maybe you’ve questioned who came up with the idea for forks, or perhaps you’ve contemplated how pantries have evolved over centuries—after all, both can be intriguing in their own right. The truth is, most of what we surround ourselves with at home has an interesting story to tell. In our monthly series “Design History” with (actual) design historian Amy Azzarito, we’ll explore the backstories of your favorite things. Home tours are intriguing for a reason: they give us a rare glimpse into the way other people live and inspire us to improve our own spaces. Maybe it’ll motivate you to paint your laundry room a bright sunshine yellow, persuade you a stacked teal backsplash is the way to go, or convince you the entryway is the perfect place for a gumball machine (hey, why not?). Whatever you take away, we have no doubt you’ll get tons of kitchen and bathroom design ideas to bring home. Are farmhouse islands here to stay? What will be the biggest interior design and hardware trends in 2021? Will the pandemic affect what homes of the future look like? Our weekly trend stories will keep your finger on the pulse of interior design, renovating, and more.