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How to Make a Built-In Bookcase with IKEA Shelves

Mysha Bolen, whose blog Remington Avenue covers topics for the home ranging from DIY projects to recipes used three Billy bookcases from IKEA to form a dramatic built-in bookcase

“My living room has a vaulted ceiling and no architectural interest or detail,” Mysha says. “We had no place to put our books and we needed a solution for our kids’ toys, too. I’d heard about people hacking IKEA’s Billy bookcases to make them look more custom. If we’d hired a finish carpenter to do this, it would have cost thousands!”

Step 1

Connect the Three Bookcases

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Mysha assembled three Billy bookcases and spaced them about 6 inches apart to create a piece with more presence. To add a ledge to nail into, she installed a frame of 1x2s along the top, on the front, and on the two sides, then face-nailed a 1⁄4-inch piece of plywood to it to draw the eye up even further.

Step 2

Bridge the Gaps

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She nailed 8-inch-wide lengths of plywood to the front of the bookshelves to bridge the two wide gaps between them.

Step 3

Create the Baseboard Surround

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Then, using an oscillating tool, she cut out her existing baseboard so she could push the assembly flush against the wall. She wrapped matching baseboard trim around the bottom of the unit.

Step 4

Add Trim and Crown Molding

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To cover seams where the extension pieces and the plywood above it were added near the top, Mysha installed thin pieces of trim. Crown molding elevated the finished look, and furniture anchors safely secured the unit to the wall. Find the full step-by-step at Remington Avenue.

This project was originally featured in DIY on a Dime in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of This Old House magazine. See all of our favorite blogger projects from this issue here.