How To: Built-In Bookcases The Easy Way With Ikea Billy Bookshelves

When we bought this house the living room was one of my favorite rooms because I knew it was going to be really pretty and functional when I was finished with it. There was wall in particular that I wanted to get my hands on but didn’t because I thought it was going to be a pricey project that would take more time than I had. So I shoved the media dresser and TV against it and called it a day.

Except that the sun hits this room and the TV in particular by mid afternoon and in the summer months doesn’t give up until about 10pm. It was probably THE worst place for a TV but the only other option was putting it in front of the windows and that didn’t seem like a better option.

So we lived with a sunny, glarey tv until now!

The thing about doing a full house reno (when you really enjoy renovating, that is) is that once you’re finished and have some free time,  you tend to get bored. You start actually living in your small house then walk around looking for things to do.  Walls that could be working harder and making life a little easier and prettier.  Walls that could store nice things and lots of baskets full of markers, crayons, dvds, etc.

And that’s when I decided to try and move our TV with the sun glare from hell across the living room. All 100lbs of it by myself. Okay maybe it’s only 50lbs? Whatever the case it IS fifty inches across and I’m only sixty inches tall! I’m not great at math but this tells me that my arms probably aren’t long enough or strong enough to move it.

They weren’t and I nearly dropped the thing on myself while my 5 year old looked on in horror, but at least I was able to drop it every so gently (ha!) on the coffee table halfway to its final destination.

Yay for not smashing the tv.

SO once that was moved out of the way, I had this to work with. A freed up wall that was begging to be useful.

One thing I need for this living room is storage and to up the cozy factor. A big, white wall feels clean and minimalistic but it also feels tall and empty.  As I originally thought when we bought this house, this wall would be perfect for a massive built-in bookcase. I thought about asking my husband to re-frame the walls so we could build like, actual built-in bookcases but the days of smashing down and re-framing walls at this old house are over. And Ikea’s already done most of the work for us by selling beautiful, easy to assemble, nice white Billy Bookcases that just need to be trimmed up to look custom.

So naturally Billy bookcases and frozen yogurt for dinner at Ikea.

The plan was to sit them on top of a base so there would be a big fat piece of trim along the front of them to disguise them as built-ins.  Here’s the base we built – I use the term “we” loosely here…I’m afraid of nail guns.

Last night we added the crown molding to the top but in order to attach it we added a strip of wood along the edge so the nails could grab into the wood.

Blog photos at nighttime are never a good idea but you get the point.

To secure the bookcases to the wall behind them we nailed a piece of 2×4 into to every stud. Then we used the L brackets that come with the Billy’s to secure them to the 2×4.

The crown is up annnnd DONE! All in all this was a 3 hour project to build including the assembly time of the four Billy’s. Now I have a few hours of caulking and trim painting left to do so that all those holes and cracks disappear and it will look like one big built-in.


Once I’m finished I’ll share more photos of how they look styled in our living room and full before & after photos before renovation to where we are today!

About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since 2009, Amanda Robinson has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their homes without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about design, wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. In addition to Natural Mommie, Amanda is also the owner and designer behind Top Knot Style - a beautiful collection of handmade oversized luxury knitwear.

7 thoughts on “How To: Built-In Bookcases The Easy Way With Ikea Billy Bookshelves

  1. Looking good :) we built floor to ceiling bookshelves at my brothers place using MDF… Cheap- but definitely way more time consuming with cutting, assembly and paint

  2. Looks great so far! I’m a rearranger too. I get bored with the same old and have to switch things up. Much to the dismay of my husband who hates change.

  3. I love Billy bookcases! Did you know IKEA sells the little white plugs to fill in all those holes. Saves a lot of caulking time.

    1. I like the look of caulk better but my patience is running out so I might just go pick up a pack!!! :)

  4. I loved this idea when I stumbled across your blog the other day. We went out and bought some Billy Bookcases and they are up on the 2×4 with all the holes filled waiting for the fancy pants bits! Quick question – once you added the trim and top moulding did you then have to paint the whole thing to look the same?
    Thanks for the inspection! x

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