DIY Built-In Bookshelves: IKEA Billy Hack

by Kelsey Norwood

in For the Home,Tutorials

Starred Photos46


This room had a giant bare wall that was screaming for built-ins and we figured we could come up with some DIY something-or-other and we were right. We scoured the internet for built-in tutorials and found some pretty good ones that helped us, especially this one but we couldn’t find a tutorial that had doors.

These kinds of projects are kind of learn-as-you-go even with a tutorial so check out the one linked to above and this one and any others you can find and you should be able to figure it out just like we did.

Here’s how we did it:





1. Removing the baseboard: Take off the baseboard by measuring the depth of the bookshelf plus the baseboard depth

Because of the height of our baseboards, we had to raise up the bookshelf with some plywood to get the level of the top of the bottom shelf to match the height of the baseboard on the wall. We also installed one of the doors at this point to make sure the whole unit was raised high enough so the door could open and close without scraping on the baseboard when it had been reinstalled.




PART 2: 


{This picture shows the molding already attached but we’re not there yet! This is the only picture we had to show the spacing between the shelves. So IGNORE the top molding for now, you’ll do that later.}

2. Spacing the book shelfs: The vertical trim piece that covers the space between each shelf was 2.25″. The thickness of each wall is 11/16″ so the gap needed to be 2.25″ minus 22/16″ or 1 and 6/16″ = 7/8″.  We measured the distance from wall to wall and subtracted the sum of the widths of the 4 units. This gave us a total of 8 and 5/8″. The 3 middle spaces total 2 and 5/8″ which left us with 3″ on either end.  We were able to find two vertical trim pieces that were 3″ wide to cover the end gaps.



3. Anchoring the shelfs: We screwed each shelf to the wall directly to studs. You want this to be solidly attached. (don’t worry about the anchors not looking evenly separated–no one will see them in the end.


 PART 4:


4. Re-installing the baseboard: When holding the baseboard in place there was a significant gap because the bottom shelf is set back a tiny bit from the front edge of the side walls and also because the baseboard is slightly lower than the bottom of the shelf.


Because this was going to be a caulking nightmare and more importantly, because we wanted something solid to nail the baseboard into, we decided to fill the space with spare wood that we had in the garage from previous projects.

We cut the top piece to be flush with the front edge of the side walls so that it would be flush with the baseboard.


With the baseboard back in place, there was no more gap, which was wonderful, so we nailed it on with the nail gun.





5. Installing the molding: We then cut two pieces of the 1 x 2 to equal the width of the room. We measured them so that they both met right between two of the shelves so that they both had something to rest on.  We put screws from top down into each of the sides of all the shelfs making sure it was flush with the front edge of the side walls.

A lot of caulking was needed at the bottom of the molding to cover the 1 x 2.




6. Installing the vertical trim pieces: Measure from the bottom of the molding to the top of the baseboard and cut to that height. We purchased 8′ tall vertical trim pieces even though it was more expensive than buying two 4′ pieces because we wanted a clean look from top to bottom and didn’t want to caulk as much. We painted the trim pieces before we nailed them on using the nail gun. We used Valspar’s ‘Dove White’ which was a very close match to the IKEA white.





7. Caulking: We caulked the heck out of it and painted all the caulked areas.



8. Installing the doors: We followed IKEA’s instructions for installing the doors.

 PART 9:


9. Adding decorations: This was the fun part and probably took the longest amount of time:) We used extra books to help raise up the decorations up on top to be able to see them better.

And that’s it! This project took a few months but it didn’t have to. We made some mistakes and had to problem solve, but that’s how DIY projects go. That’s part of the fun, right?!?

If you’re thinking about it, head to IKEA and get started. If we can figure it out, so can you!

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