Our Ikea Hack :: DIY Built-In Bookcase - Saffron Avenue

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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 […]

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Our Ikea Hack :: DIY Built-In Bookcase

Tutorials & Freebies

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 ;)

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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 ;)

BuiltIn-SupplyList

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.

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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 in White Dove) 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.

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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!

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Check out my Pinterest board “For the Home” for a ton of interior design inspo and a few other home DIY projects.

– Follow my Pinterest board for more inspo! –


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(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!

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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!

Easy DIY console table
https://saffronavenue.com/blog/tutorials-freebies/diy-wood-console-table/

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  1. wow impressing and beautiful! :)

  2. Megan Friedl says:

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

  3. […] See the full tutorial and before and after photos of how this unit can transform a room at Saffron Avenue. […]

  4. Tonantzin says:

    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.

    • Angela S says:

      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!

  5. Melanie Amparo says:

    Hi,

    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?

    • Angela S says:

      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)

  6. Samantha R. says:

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

  7. […] DIY Built-in Bookcase from saffronavenue.com […]

  8. […] don’t have to possess crazy woodworking skills to feature built in bookshelves in your home. Use IKEA bookcases that are easily pieced together and finish with a bit of trim around the top for that built in […]

  9. Debbie Albert says:

    Do you remember where you purchased the white shelf (laminated) board? Looking at Home Depot and Lowes and the largest depth is 12″. Thanks!

  10. dfordice says:

    Did you have to paint the shelves to match the trim? Or what paint colour did you use on the trim that matched the shelves? It looks amazing by the way!

  11. Maria says:

    I love this and would love to do something similar in our house! Curious if you wattaxhed the big shelves to the wall so they won’t fall or wabble. Also how did you attach the brown molding to the top?? Thanks in advance!

  12. Maria says:

    I love this and would love to do something similar in our house! Curious if you attached the big shelves to the wall so they won’t fall or wabble. Also how did you attach the brown molding to the top?? Thanks in advance!

  13. Whitney says:

    Where did you buy the laminated board for the top?

  14. Elissa says:

    You may have already answered this, I apologize if it’s redundant. Did you paint the entire unit or did the white trim and top match the ikea white? If you painted what color did you use and what parts or process (sanding…primer…???) if you painted ithe entire unit? Thanks so much for sharing this hack!

    • Angela says:

      No worries! We did not paint the ikea white bookcases, but we did paint the trim, 3 middle boards, and the crown molding! We actually used our left over satin impervo dove white from benjamin moore and it matched perfectly!

  15. Megan says:

    I am hoping to build something very similar to this. I’m trying to figure out how you attached the 1/2″x6″s between the bookshelves. It looks like they are flush with the front of the bookcases, are they nailed from the side? You can’t even see the line where the 1/2×6 meets the bookcase, did you fill it with caulk, or just paint? Thanks so much!

    • Angela says:

      Of course, we did nail it with a finishing nailer (so tiny nails) on the sides of the bookcase. Because they are so tiny you can fill those holes in. And we did get pretty straight 6″ boards so we were able to get it pretty flush with the bookcase and then sanded it a bit, added some wood filler and then paint!

  16. Annie N. says:

    Looks great! Out of curiousity, what are your wall demensions?

    • Angela says:

      That is a good question…I’d have to re-measure, but as you can tell we only had about 6-8″ on each side of the bookcase (so it didn’t take up the full space)

  17. Jessica says:

    Hi there,
    Where are your wicker baskets from?

  18. Kimmy says:

    I just bought the bookcases after looking at hacks for over a year I decided to draw inspiration from yours
    Now just if that sister would come over….. next step, measure how big I want my spaces and buy trim/mounding and paint/lights. Thank you!!!

  19. Christina says:

    I am looking to do something like this, but we have create something over our vents. In the before picture it looks like there are vents on the wall, what did you do for that?

    • Angela says:

      Hi there,
      Yes, we four on the wall, the 2 air supply vents on the bottom and then the air returns on the top (I believe that’s the right terms ;). We closed the bottom ones simply because we have 3 more in the living room and didn’t think it was necessary. Also, the middle vent on the bottom probably could be open a bit since the 2 middle (short) bookcases are pushed out away from the wall about 8-10″ or so!

  20. Liza says:

    What did you use to / how did you attach the new ” Face” pieces to the bookcases (ie. the boards separating the units, the baseboard, and top mantle)?

  21. Megan says:

    What is the color of your accent wall?

  22. Leticia says:

    There are two “tall” billy shelves did you use the ones that were 79.5 inches or 93.25 inches?

  23. Damien says:

    Where does the lamenant white board go on this project? I am currently trying to put this together like yours.

    • Angela says:

      I used that as the top of the 2 lower shelves! We don’t have it ‘secured’ per say because we can pull it out to access the cords behind :)

  24. Katie says:

    I’m curious if you remember how much the whole project cost you when it was all said-and-done? I’m trying to price it out and see if your Ikea has is comparable to building from scratch or if it saves a good chunk of money.

    Thanks! I can’t wait to start this project (:

  25. Bree says:

    Love it ! Where did you get you white chair from ?

  26. […] Give it an adoring look with IKEA Billy bookcase built-in hack. Get details in the tutorial. saffronavenue […]

  27. Rachel says:

    I know I’m super late to the party but what type of nail gun did you use and what length nails? Also, what did you end up using to fill in the shelf holes and nail holes?

    Thanks!

  28. Jessica says:

    These just look like freestanding pieces of furniture, nothing like a built-in at all. They aren’t even connected (which looks utterly ridiculous)!!! Do you even know what a built-in is?

    • Angela says:

      Hi, thank you for your input ;) I understand they are not custom built-ins, but rather a hack (on a budget, considering we didn’t have the luxury of hiring a contractor at the time). Although I wish I could have custom built-ins, I felt these were as close as I could get to achieve the look I wanted by using Ikea. I actually loved them during the 5 years we lived in our first home :) But thank you for your opinion and I do hope our we are able to do custom ones in our new home!

  29. Sydnie says:

    Looks great! How did you get the top shelf to sit flush on the two front bookcases? I’m working on finishing my unit, and can’t figure that part out, since there is a raised bump in the middle where the two smaller bookcases meet. I’d like to also put a top shelf on to clean up the look.

    • Angela says:

      Are you referencing the removable shelf on the top not sitting flush? We miight have actually made those 2 spacer boards the same exact height as the top of the 2 shelves. That way it would sit level on it all.