Billy is my hero!

IKEA Hack – How I turned IKEA’s famous BILLY bargain bookcases into bespoke looking built-ins for under £350.

wall of built ins using IKEA Billy bookcases

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I’ve always dreamt of having a wall of built-in bookcases but didn’t have room in the budget for bespoke carpentry, so like many other home improvers before me I turned to IKEA for help!

If you are an IKEA hack fan, I've just added a new post with my 5 top tips for a successful IKEA hack... & if

you are always painting some thing dont miss my post where I share 5 DIY hacks for painting!

How I did it.

  • I built the flatpack (BILLY the hero) bookcases and stood in position before fixing them to the wall. (Be sure to use the appropriate fixings for your wall type)

  • Then I made a strip wood frame in the gap between the top of the bookcases and the ceiling and attached the mdf sheet to the front of it to fill the gap. (I have included more close up pics of the frame I made on a similar project recently in this article…IKEA HAVSTA hack)

  • I glued mdf strips over the joins between the bookcases and to the shelf fronts to give a thicker appearance and filled the gaps down the sides of the wall. (I use no more nails glue usually as it’s so quick to set)

  • I added a skirting board to the base of the unit to hide the individual bookcase bases.

  • I filled in all the pre-drilled shelf holes to get rid of that ‘flat-pack’ look and filled all the gaps and joins in the mdf panels with polyfiller.

  • Once dried, I sanded the mdf and filler to give a smooth finish and applied two coats with mdf primer.

  • The final step was to paint the whole thing ready for styling.

Styling on a tight budget

I’ve been picking up cheap or free vases and ornaments from Facebook marketplace for a while ready to fill the compartments without breaking the bank. I also painted some vases I already had to give them a new lease of life. I cut foliage and greenery from the garden to help fill the gaps and to give a more natural and rustic feel. I’ve picked up a few bits from some online shops recently too and paired with some antique books that have been passed down my husband’s family to create an interesting mix of old and new colour and texture. I created some concrete style canvas art for a few pounds by covering art canvases (bought cheaply from the high street) in polyfiller to give an interesting texture and then painted with left over emulsion.

Restyle alert

I then recently gave the shelves a restyle using a tester pot of green paint and trialled a monochromatic scheme (below) what do you think?

If you like this then be sure to pop over to my latest post IKEA hack gets a style overhaul where I show you how I completed the latest style overhaul (below)

How much did it all cost?

4 x 80cm wide BILLY bargain bookcases at £35 each

4 IKEA Oxberg doors at £20 each

Materials to ‘build in’ the shelves (MDF sheet, strip wood, strong adhesive, skirting and filler from B&Q) approx. £60

I reused some mdf strips that I had left over from a previous panelling project - approx. £20

MDF primer - £20

Colour match emulsion from my favourite Decorating Centre Online - £21.99

Total Cost £341.99 saving literally thousands compared to the cost of floor to ceiling bespoke joinery for a wall that size.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page).

I’ve just posted an article you might also like on top tips for bedroom styling

Don't forget to check out some of my other DIY blog posts (linked below)

IKEA hack gets a style overhaul

DIY Hacks - Plasterboard repair tips

DIY Hacks - Painting

IKEA Hack - Billy is my hero

5 tips for a successful IKEA hack

IKEA Hack - you HAVSTA try this one!

IKEA hack - BRUSALI cabinets to bespoke looking alcove built ins for under £150

Renter and budget friendly flooring - Floor Pops for the win!

5 perfect pink tiles you'll love

...and why not pop over and give me a follow on Instagram too.

Feel free to share this with anyone who enjoys a good IKEA hack or simple DIY project ideas, or just wants to transform their home without spending a fortune.

Thanks again.


Claire Douglas Styling