Ikea Hack Built-Ins

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About: Just a girl on a mission to learn how to make stuff.

I wanted to create custom looking built-ins around the french doors in my house. I started with Ikea Billy Bookcases and customized them to make a to make a unique, built-from-scratch look. By adding trim moulding and paint, I was able to add an update to our home on a DIY budget!

Step 1: Assemble and Paint the Bookcases

I started by buying 3 Billy bookcases from Ikea. One is the smaller model and the other two are the extended shelf versions.

I found it easiest to paint the back of the bookcases before assembly. The color I chose was Mocha Accent by Behr for the back of the bookcases. To make sure the finish lasts longer, be sure to use primer.

The bookcase going across the top needed to be evenly spaced, so I cut off the bottom using this saw. So I just traced a line that marked the excess, and trimmed it off.

Step 2: Install and Secure the Bookcases

To install the upper bookcase, I bought 5 of these L brackets and two corner braces.

In order to add dimension, I added 2x4's behind the upper bookcase so it would sit further out than the surrounding bookcases. These were drilled into the studs. We then added the L brackets to the 2x4's so the bookcase can sit on those.

For some added security, we used two corner brackets to secure the top of the overhang to the wall.

Using my Kreg Jig I built a small base for the bookcases to sit on. This will make them flush with the upper bookcase. By doing this, the tops are level and ready to be trimmed out!

Don't forget to use the wall attachment pieces that come with the Ikea set to secure the bookcases to the wall. Just for added security.

Step 3: Trim, Caulk, and Paint

In order to cover up the L brackets under the upper bookcase, we added 1x4's, the cut a board that is about an 1/8th of a inch thick to the underside. I used this brad nailer to attach it. I can't recommend this nail gun enough - I have used it in so many projects.

For the top, I added baseboard in order to add more height and detail. After that, I installed crown molding. I also added trim to the front of the shelves. I used the coping method around the baseboard. This was especially useful so I didn't have to rip out existing baseboards.

Then, begin to caulk all the gaps. Once that dries, you can paint everything. I found the Parchment White by Glidden is a really close match to the Ikea white.

Step 4: Step Back and Enjoy

That's it! By using Ikea as a starting point, you can create beautiful built ins.

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    18 Discussions

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    marvelmx

    21 days ago

    I'd wish Ikea existed in my country. It would make things easier.

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    seamster

    4 weeks ago

    Great project, and great instructions too. Very nicely done all around!

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    Kink Jarfoldseamster

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    By bumping out that top section you made this really unique. That is the sign oif a true artist. Great job. and having a lot of books is NOT hording. KJ

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    jeanneambro

    4 weeks ago

    IKEA stuff is so great to hack! You did a beautiful job. A few years ago I got five of their single 72"H Billy units and put backs on them to make bookcases to use up against a wall. What was really cool is I had a 5-panel shoji screen I took apart to give the units doors and they fit perfectly! Wish I could use your setup somewhere in my house.

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    hallcp

    4 weeks ago

    Wow, looks beautiful in the photos. But did you just luck-out with the bookcase widths? There was no mention of cutting the width of of the vertical bookcases to fit.

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    smolkster

    4 weeks ago

    This looks great. I just did a whole wall of Billy . 7 of them. No door so it was a lot simpler. The L bracket is is nice solution. I would have tried to "soup up" the back and screw it in directly or something ridiculous. Your solution is simple and safe.
    I don't understand what you use the Kreg jig for. I did not see the pocket holes. product placement purpose I assume? I did not check the contest rules. I do like the Brad nailer. That looks quire handy . My dog freaks when i break out my compressor.

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    TheAccentPiecesmolkster

    Reply 26 days ago

    Wow, 7 is a lot - I’m sure it turned out great. I used my kreg to make every layer of the base to attach together to add stability. I guess I don’t have a picture of that process.
    And yes, I love the brad nailer - I use it ALL the time

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    OutofPatience

    4 weeks ago

    Looking to do something similar in my small cabin...nice job and useful "instuctable"...thanks!

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    CrystalG3

    Question 4 weeks ago

    For anyonw who has used the Billy cases from IKEA: The shelves look thin. Do they hold up under the weight of books or do they start to sag? I've bought small white cases from Amazon, WalMart, etc and invariably they begin to sag if less than 3/4" thick.

    1 more answer
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    TheAccentPieceCrystalG3

    Answer 26 days ago

    I personally haven’t had this problem, but I will say that I have decorated these with books in addition to trinkets/decorative items (that would weight less than straight books).

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    JohnK596

    Tip 27 days ago

    The archway entry looks nice, an idea for some applications was to cut out the plasterboard and use as backing for shelves into the depth of the wall between studs.