IKEA Hack in Progress: Billy Bookcase Library

A little embarrassed that I haven’t posted in months, but I’ll have a cutie update about my new business soon!! In the mean time, I am also going to start primarily posting about my interiors / decorating / client projects / DIY / art finds. SUCH AS…

At the beginning of March, my boyfriend Hedge and I moved in together (since I owned my place, it made the most sense for Hedge to move in with me). Luckily, Hedge didn’t come with much stuff, but he did have one request for our shared space: to add bookshelves for his growing book collection (all my books could fit on 1 little CB2 shelf unit). Eager to oblige and make this place more of “Our Home”, I took to the interwebs for built-in ideas that would work with my new-entrepreneur budget. Inspired by a bunch of IKEA Billy Bookcase Hacks that DIY bloggers have posted, I convinced Hedge that the bedroom library should be our first-ever DIY project together:

  • STATUS: 75% completed
  • COST (so far): $220 for the 4 Billy bookcases on Craigslist, ~$40 for wood, hardware, and a miter box + saw from Home Depot
  • TIME (so far): 4-5 hours
  • HOW: (I’ll share a process/step-by-step on how we did our shelves in another post)

BEFORE: My Our master bedroom has always been the last room I think about designing, so it was high time to reconsider the layout. I’d had the bed pushed to 1 wall, with a big gaping space in front of it with just a chair. Previously there was a big Baughman sofa occupying the gape.

Before bookshelves - gape

AFTER: We upgraded to a King bed, and I decided to float the bed in the middle of the room, anchoring it with the chest of drawers that was previously on the opposite side of the gape. This layout opened up the bedroom, made the sleeping area feel more private, and also created a little “library” between the bookshelves and the drawer chest:

Billy Bookcase - View from entranceBilly Bookcase - Progress Billy Bookcase - Progress w Viv from bed DSC_0034 (Viv regularly gets all up in my interiors shots)

NEXT UP: I love that we have bookshelves in the master bedroom – it feels really rewarding that Hedge and I DIY’d the “library” together and that this room now feels the most reflective of both our tastes. BUT a few more tasks remain: those little baseboards running along the bookcases are just standing on end; I’d like to add molding to conceal where the bookcases join; I might want to add shelves up to the ceiling; and also I have a lot more *tjuzing* to do to the books/decor. A runner is also on its way to make the little library aisle feel warmer (it’s still in the bedroom, after all).

But for now, there you have it! What do you think?

17 thoughts on “IKEA Hack in Progress: Billy Bookcase Library

  1. Hi. Love what u did with the billy book shelves in.ur masterbedroom.they really gave the room a dynamic look! Was wondering if u would offer me some dyi advice on way to make a floating bookshelf w all open shelving and w/o any kinda separation between books.?just w wood and brackets a large one in livingroom space and a smaller one in master bedroom space.Thank u.

    • Thank you so much! Hmm, for a fully floating shelf system, you’ll want to consult with a carpenter to understand weight loads. I’m not an expert on shelving construction by any means (thusly why I went with used IKEA bookcases for now!), but I stayed away from floating shelves because they can’t bear much weight compared to shelves with frames – and we have a lot of books! Best of luck!!

  2. The base on BILLY is usually about 4″. How did you raise it so that you have the larger baseboard running through?

    • Ahh never got around to posting the “hidden construction” stuff — I propped all the bookcases up on 4x4s and then drilled everything together and into the walls!!

    • Thank you so much! Actually back in the day, IKEA made Billy bookcases that had wood look – I bought these 4 years ago second-hand, so it’s possible it was at least 6-7 years ago if not longer that these were manufactured!

  3. I absolutely love this! I would love to see an update or construction post.
    I love Billy bookcases they are so versatile. Did you paint the backing or remove the backing? I’m about to move into a new home and am thinking about doing something every similar…

    • Thanks!! The walls are painted navy so I just removed the backs (which also looked cheap / like fake wood) and mounted the units into the wall, since without the backs Billy bookcases are kind of unstable.

      • Thanks for the reply! I think that’s what I am going to do with mine.

  4. Are those short doors an old Billy item or did you take the larger stock doors and rip down the upper Section then flip them to hide the cut edges? Would like open tops and closed bottoms on some we are building into a library but that not available as a stock option and I’m wondering if cutting the existing doors would be quicker than making all new doors from scratch.

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