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Our Ikea Hack :: DIY Built-In Bookcase

December 21, 2015

This post is oh so overdue! About a month or so after we moved in to our house my brother-in-law came over to help us put together a DIY built-in bookcase.  I really wasn’t sure if it was going to work…so I sketched out the measurements, pieces of wood, trim, etc. hoping that it would all work itself out. Well, to my surprise it turned out even better than I thought! Thanks to all of those Ikea Hack on pinterest ;)




Since this was done about 5 months ago I cannot quite remember the exact sizes and seem to have lost my original sketch, but the following will break down the supplies a bit with you. So, if you plan to do this yourself you’ll just have to do all of the measuring and math ;)


Since we knew this bookcase would be semi-permanent we had to think hard on exactly how to set it up to be able to still access the wires and cable jack near the bottom of the wall.  So, we actually pull the 2 smaller shelves out about 6″ to leave us enough room to both run the wires up to the tv, as well as have enough space to access the outlets and surge protector. The back of that bottom left shelf (with the baskets) is actually completely cut-off, but has a piece of foam core board (cut to size) to act as a temporary back. It was perfect (and not noticeable), so we can simply remove that piece and access the outlets with ease.


With that, we also knew we needed to be able to easily reach behind the bookcase, so the top shelf you see can actually be pulled or slid right off. To be honest, when you put a few heads together you can think of some awesome options for this, and it really worked out perfectly! The total cost to do (since we already had the Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo paint) was about $450! Which is way cheaper than what I’ve heard custom built-ins could cost. I do however plan to fill in all of the holes with filler and add some lights on the top shelf for ambiance and a more custom look.

Also, shout-out to my sister who is amazing when it comes to interior design, she not only provided me with a ton of the shelf decor, but also told me how to properly style a shelf..and how important spacing and consistency is!

IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-4 IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-6IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-11 IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-9
IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-15 IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-16

IkeaBuiltInBookcase-SaffronAvenue-12(see above, that’s the ‘false’ back that we can remove and reach behind) 

And here is a peek of the before and after! I couldn’t get a great full shot…our big ‘ol christmas tree was in the way!


So, let me know if you have any questions, I’ll definitely try to answer them the best I can. My biggest tip is to get someone who is handy with this type of project. My brother in law loves this stuff and is very detailed when it comes to these projects, so I think I got pretty lucky!






  • wow impressing and beautiful! :)

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  • Megan Friedl

    What is the name of your paint color? Love it!

    • It’s Classic Grey by Benjamin Moore!

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  • Tonantzin

    Hi. Looks beautiful. I have the supplies needed to do this, but my question is how do you like the height of the TV on the short Billys, 41.5″ tall?? My husband thinks it’s too high. Doing research says ideal height should be at eye level when sitting down. Which then means these are too high, but know lots of people put above fireplace and that’s even taller. Would love your thoughts on it.
    Also thanks so much for sharing how get access to cords in back, was concerned how going to do that.

    • Hi there,
      Definitely! It is higher than a typical TV stand..but to be honest we used to use those white Kallax shelves (on it’s side) and actually built a little stand to add height. So this is almost perfect for us..and we personally never even thought about the height. Then again I think we prefer looking up more when laying on the couch! Hope this helps!

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  • Melanie Amparo


    Did you actually attach the big bookshelves to the wall? If so, what did you use? Can you show us a picture of the bottom left where you cut the back piece?

    • Um, I think we actually just added the brackets to the top of the shelf, and these bookshelves have a cutout for trim on the back so it’s very flush either way! And ours has the 2 smaller ones pushed out more because we needed to access the plugs in the back. Let me know if you have more questions (feel free to email me hello@saffronavenue.com)

  • Samantha R.

    Hi! Gorgeous space! Curious, where is the coffee table from?

    • Hi there, It’s from Overstock!

    • It’s from overstock!

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