Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Gallery Of Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Making anything and everything...except dinner.

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

In case you missed the reveal, you can see that and .

Laura’s home already had wonderful, historic bones, but the living space could use a bit more character. Laura wanted bookshelves, and while we had talked about something clean and modern, I really encouraged her to stick with the period of the house and create something that looked original. Custom built-ins aren’t cheap, and we knew this would need to be on a budget. Hacking the Ikea Billy has been done before ) but with this being an older home, we had several obstacles to overcome.

One, we didn’t want to have to rip out any of the existing woodwork. Usually you cut away the base trim when you want something flush against a wall, but Laura wanted to keep the over-100-year-old trim in tact, in case the built-in was ever removed. And two, nothing is level. A lot of settling has certainly happened over the decades, and while it’s not really noticeable to the average looker, it’s a problem when you’re trying to get things level. To get a truly built-in look, this was going to take someone who knew what they were doing.

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Laura and Craig brought in a good friend to make our ideas reality. , and while he specializes in more he has all of the knowledge to tackle something like this. I figured instead of me telling you about the process, I would let him. Take it away Axel.

We began by assembling the three Ikea bookshelves and ). To make them taller than standard we added the extension cabinets and ).

We positioned them in the spot where they would go to determine the final placement. We wanted to maximize and “beef up” the over-all size of the bookcase so the cabinets were actually spaced with about a 5.25” gap in between. After they were secured to the wall, 5.25″ wide trim pieces were added to bridge the gaps and also added a decorative element.

To mount the bookcases to the wall I located the wall studs and secured four 2x4s to the wall horizontally. Because we were working with a wall that are over 100 years old- it was necessary to use shims to bring the 2×4’s to level on the wall. Once level, the bookcases were secured to the 2x4s using small L brackets. Since the bookcases would have a space in between each, and both ends would end up covered, I was able to place them on the sides of each bookcase directly.

Laura wanted the bookcase to look like it had always been there and have that “built-in” appearance so we had the challenge of matching the existing base board and crown molding. The crown molding wasn’t too hard to find a replica. As for the baseboard, in order to replicate it we ended up layering a few different types of trim. Once painted, it flowed seamlessly around the wall.

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

As a side note: none of the original molding or trim was removed from the walls. The new trim was cut to fit around the existing trim so that if the homeowner wanted to remove the bookcase it could be converted back to its original condition.

I used a single 1”x12”x12’ floor to ceiling to box-in the left exposed side while the right side was hidden in the corner behind trim.

Knowing we would be mounting a 10’ sliding library ladder to the top of the bookcase, I reinforced the top structure by making a rectangular box “crown” that was fastened to all available wall studs in order to give the ladder a solid foundation. This was later covered by a 1”x10” cabinet header and then trimmed out. I marked the placement of the ladder rail during this stage so I could make sure and mount the rail cleats into the hidden infrastructure later on.

After all the cabinetry was securely in place I added the trim, attaching it with an 18 gage brad nailer. Using painters calk I filled all cracks, holes and gaps. All that was left to do was paint and hang the ladder!

To continue that custom look Laura filled in all of the unused shelf holes and took a shelf to get color-matched at the paint store, ensuring the best match. The beautiful library ladder has a twin and I can’t wait to do a similar version of these built-ins in our house for her to glide on someday.

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

You can follow Axel Co. on their or , and be sure to . From decor to custom work, Axel does an incredible job!

In case you missed the tour and floor plan you can find those and .

I am a huge fan IKEA myself!Love the idea of assembling the three IKEA bookshelves!!!

Have a great weekend and a lovely V-day!

Everytime I see this living room I just adore it. The bookcases turned out so lovely and they look like they belong and weren't added later. Gorgeous! Thanks for the shout out too. Happy Weekend! xoxo

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

I just love, love, LOVE this room, Gwen! It has all of my faves packed into one space. Would it be appropriate to ask where the rug is from?

Of course! But sadly, it was a craigslist find. Isn't it pretty?! And crazy soft.

Sad for sure. But thanks for sharing anyway. ???? It is fabulous. And so is YOURS. Love!

Hi there — Where did you get the ladder? Was it a kit or did you purchase it as is?

Hi Ellen, it was actually a craigslist find. But I've heard good things about the kit ones. Check out Making It Lovely, she has a great one!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

this is TOO GOOD for words!! great job!

Also – where are your gorgeous linen drapes from? Are those pottery barn?

This room is amazing…the chandelier is perfection, where is it from?

Thanks, Piper! It's from an antique store. Sorry I couldn't be more help!

Gwen , lovely hack , I'm amazed at your creativity !! I have a few questions and I hope you can help .. What is the width of the crown moulding between the book cases ? What was the paint you used to paint the molding to match the book cases ? Any help would be appreciated ..

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

I would guess that the moulding is 5 1/4" but I'm not sure. I would recommend cutting a sample or two at the hardware store and bringing it home to see how you feel about the trim in the space. We used a latex based paint that we had color-matched to one of the shelves. Hope this helps!

Thank you so much , we just bought the book cases and hoping to install them following your tutorial . Keeping fingers crossed ????

So great to hear! Please send me a picture or two when you're finished! themakeristagmailcom

Lovely! We are attempting this at home and we are wondering where you purchased your trim and molding pieces? Thanks! We will send before and after pics….

Hi Jennifer! I believe they were bought at Lowe's or Home Depot. They're all readily available. I'd love to see pics!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Hi! This looks amazing. Juat wondering how much you spent in total to complete the project?

Hi! This looks amazing. Juat wondering how much you spent in total to complete the project?

Oh, good question. I think around $800 perhaps? I believe all the shelving was around 500 and I think we paid $300 for everything else. Hope that helps!

Hi Gwen- Love it – where did you come across the library ladder for such short money? Having trouble finding one under 1k . . .Thank you!

I love the way it came out! It's exactly what I'm envisioning for our family room. The only issue is the links for the shelving are no longer working. Would you mind updating them I don't know why they're not working. Thanks so much!!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

How exactly did you fasten the many support brackets to the bookshelves – since the ikea material is particleboard.. Did you pre-drill? Use special particleboard screws?

Well, a built-in Billy with enough details that I think I’d actually tackle doing it.

How did you fill the holes? DId you paint them once filled?

We just used a wood filler and then sanded and touched up with the paint.

Can you share the wall and trim paint colors? Thanks!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

I’m not sure of the trim color, but the walls are SW Sedate Grey.

Hi there! I am currently in the process of re-creating this hack! It’s AMAZING! Thank you for the inspiration! Could you please tell me what shelf supports you used? . Also, I know you painted the trim and moldings but did you paint the actual bookcases as well? Please get back to me when time allows. Thank you in advance!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!

No, we just painted the moldings to match the bookcases and we did use the supports that came with the shelves. They weren’t really noticeable once you got the books in. Hope this helps and good luck!

Thank you so much for this post! My husband is finishing ours and it turned out awesome! I’m am struggling with the paint color though. Should I match the crown and base molding with the bookcase? I typically use BM Dove white for trim but now it looks yellow against the shelves. I would love to hear your advice! Thank you!

Hm…I would probably stick with keeping the built in the color of the shelves and painting the trim and crown the dove white. If that doesn’t work, I would try painting just the trim and crown around the bookshelves the new color…worst case you may need to paint all the trim that color just in that room. Good luck!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Beautiful. I’ve always wanted to do this but where do I get a resonablely priced rolling ladder?

Love the entire room and, especially, the faux built-in bookshelves. I am a bibliophile, a lover and collector of books. Those with hard covers and inside glued page bindings. Several of my Facebook friends have a similar love affair with books. We often share photos of rooms ala personal libraries. I think these folks will love this idea to simply and affordably expand their book shelf space. Thank you so very much for sharing. Hugs.

Glad you like and thanks for reading, Barbara!

I absolutely LOVE this. I live in LA and would love to do this for a tv/bookshelf display. Do you think that could work using this method? Also how would I go about finding a good carpenter who could do this type of detailed beautiful work using ikea hacks??!! PLEASE HELP. I’d love to make my new home beautiful with my limited budget!!

Hi Ebony! I would think that could work! I’m not sure how to go about finding the right person for the job in LA, but I would definitely recommend doing some research and asking around to find someone who does good work. Best of luck!

Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

I just have a question. Is the 2×4 behind the shelves necessary if you have newer construction? I need for the shelves to be as narrow as possible because the room is already narrow. It seems like just using the l-brackets directly onto the studs should be fine, is there any reason this wouldn’t work?

I’m not a construction expert, but I think they did that to build it out so they didn’t have to cut away the trim behind. As long as your screwing into studs you should be fine!

How did you handle the gap between the bottom bookshelf and the trim? Theres about a 1/4-1/2″ game where the bottom shelf sit in the vertical walls.

Hm…I don’t think we had a gap. The base is so tall that we had to raise the lower shelf actually. Maybe you could add another piece of small trim if it’s bothering you?

Did you match the bookshelf color to your baseboard color. The trim in our home is an off-white, but Ikea’s shelves are white. I like the look of this, but not sure how to blend it in with the trim we already have.

Tags About Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack