Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack for Bedroom Built-Ins

While I design cabinetry you can’t always afford the time and wait for custom built-ins!    There are LOTS of Ikea Billy Bookcase Hacks online. They are a great staple and if you create a bottom or surround for them they really can turn into ‘fake’ built-ins on a budget!

The Billy Bookcase is a bookcase sold by the Swedish furniture corporation IKEA. It was first invented and designed by Swedish innovator Gillis Lundgren in the year 1979. To date, IKEA has traded more than sixty million units of bookcases across the globe.  It’s appeal comes from not only it’s price but how simple in design it is.  It can be used in many rooms and never seems to really go out of style. It is estimated that every five seconds, one BILLY bookcase is sold somewhere in the world!

The Problem

Our current bedroom is tiny.  Phase 1 of our renovation really tackled the entire first floor of our home and brought it to the current century.  But we did not change our square footage.  Phase 2 will hopefully be the addition of one more bedroom – our Master!    That said, our current bedroom would become the guest room.    I have struggling with making it feel cozy and luxurious while we do live in it, and careful that the upgrades I do to it will be transferable as a guest room and work in there, too.  We are PACKED into this space now, so more furniture was not the answer.   I thought built-ins would give us more storage and elevate the room a bit.   It needed some major help!



The Ikea Billy Bookcase is TALL and for our needs it was perfect, almost to the ceiling. I have also seen people add cabinets below.  If you get the taller one like we did there is one fixed shelf and four four adjustable shelves included.  While I didn’t opt for it, you can add doors to it.  And they always recommend fastening it to the wall which we did. The shelf parts are made of plastic-coated or veneered particleboard. The edges are covered with plastic strips. This is not the high-end stuff but we know that.  That’s why one shelf is the price of pair of great jeans!

Width:  31 1/2 ”
Depth: 11 ”
Height: 79 1/2 ”
Max load/shelf: 66 lb

How It Went

We built the bookcases when they arrived, aside from the very top shelf.  We moved them into place before that.  I could tell even at this stage they would really going to enhance the room!  Almost like a snug hotel room.

I did have to cut back my baseboards so that they would really have a snug fit against the bottom of the wall.  After that we added really simple trip to the top and sides, which I did have to paint.   Then lots of caulk.


Open shelving always requires styling and the only thing I will say is that finding baskets to use for real storage has been a bit tricky.  These shelves are about 11inch deep which is somewhat shallow.  But other than that, for the look and price I’m really happy with how it turned out.   As they arrive in white there is WAY less painting to do then starting with raw wood.   Overall, it was the way to for a room that will someday serve as a guest room!