In my own bedroom I have a mixture of both custom and pre-made shelving. One of my biggest tips in home decorating: LET THE ARCHITECTURE DICTATE THE SOLUTION. In other words, if you have some defining architectural detail, don't fight it, use it!
I live in a contemporary loft so exposed concrete posts are a defining characteristic of my home decor (and I absolutely LOVE them, by the way). Instead of ignoring the post in my bedroom, I used it to my advantage. Perfect solution: built-in shelf for some books and other decorative items.
The only labor I did in this project was putting 2 coats of paint on the shelf and mounting the brackets to the wall and shelf. The project took me about half a day and I spent less than $50. The result is a great looking shelf that is completely custom to the space.