Secondary Storage

Published on December 2nd, 2008 | by Jules Yap


Floating billies

I love this one. The Billy bookcases take on a new lightness when hung on the wall. Also, furniture off the floor is the way to go for me. Makes cleaning so much easier, eh.

Karine Schenkeveld and Erik Roscam Abbing from Rotterdam, The Netherlands turns a $59.99 bookcase into a fancy designer object. They tell me, “All we did was cut off the bottom part of the vertical elements underneath the bottom shelf, mount nine steel L brackets per bookcase to the wall (three per fixed Billy shelf) and mount the Billies on to them.

Pretty simple, but everyone thinks we had them handmade for us. Some people are worried that they’ll come off the wall. But come on, there are 18 (!) 8cm (approx 3″) screws per bookcase, and the load is almost completely vertical: no problem.”

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

31 Responses to Floating billies

  1. Denise says:

    Inspiring and really beautiful!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I did something similar a few years ago. Sorry I don’t have pics, but it was built-in and I lost the house in divorce.
    I used 3 Billy units side by side bolted with L-brackets to studs. I used huge brackets and the largest bolts possible, because the shelves were suspended off of the floor, and I had two TV tables (I forget the model name) under the Billys so that it looked like the shelves rested on the tables. I covered the Billy front edges with moulding and used crown moulding around the top for a built in look.
    The TV went in front of the books on one side. Nowadays it would be an LCD TV or similar, but we just had a tube type flat screen, which necessitated the addition of a small shelf extension under the TV. Looked great!

  3. That’s really a fantastic post ! I added to my favorite blogs list.. THANKS

  4. mellisa says:

    great write up.thanks for all the information

  5. Anonymous says:

    The extra weight of the expedit bookshelf would be negligible compared to the weight of the books.

    In any case, structurally it just depends on:
    1. The number/strength of your brackets
    2. The strength and security of whatever you use to fasten the brackets to the wall, and to the bookcase. (you don’t want flimsy shallow screws)
    3. The holding capacity of the wall. If it’s any kind of solid masonry you’ll be fine.

    As long as you over engineer the brackets and the fastenings – and you’ve got a suitable wall – should be no problem.

  6. et stéphane says:

    Thanks for the great idea. We were thinking of doing the same with Expedit bookcases (the square one). Has anyone ever tried it? We are a bit worried because Expedit looks much heavier than Billy…

  7. petertam says:

    My wife and I recently moved into a new apartment and used this idea for our bookshelves and it is fantastic! (photo:

    When we first picked up the shelves at Ikea, we freaked out as the shelves were so heavy and the original posts did not specify the brackets used. We were starting to doubt whether it will work.

    Well, it worked and we’d like to share our experience. We used 7 pieces of 5″*3″ L-Brackets per shelf. 7 pieces: 2 on top, 2 in mid-tier and 3 to support the bottom. We wanted to put 9 brackets per shelf but our contractor assured us 7 was plenty!

    Look at the photos and you’ll see that the shelves are pretty well loaded and it has shown no sign of any strain.

    Thanks for the idea and we hope this testimony will encourage more people to use the idea!

  8. Retro Man says:

    These bookcases really do look great. reminds me of an acquaintance of mine though who was told professionally that if he took his bookcases down his house would become structurally unsound – then again he did have floor to ceiling bookcases in every room on every single floor of his house.

  9. Ralf Beuker says:

    … and I’m even privileged to sleep in that gorgeous environment/room from time to time when I’m their guest! Privileged me :-)

  10. Hi all, here’s a small note from the hackers themselves. Thanks for all your compliments, we’re honoured and proud!

    To answer some of your questions: we did not use the backing. You don’t need it for stiffness since the billy’s are fixed to the wall, and we liked the contrast between the books and the white wall behind them.

    The L brackets are used on the top, middle and bottom shelves, with the vertical part of the L facing upwards, the horizontal part underneath the shelves (fixed with small screws). You don’t see them because of the books in front. Since there are nine brackets (3 for each shelf) with two large screws each, the brick wall is strong enough. With a dryboard wall you’d have to use the metal or wooden studs, but I’m not sure we would have dared this.

    We used the extra top shelves to stress the height of the room by the way.

    we will send some close-ups of the brackets.

    Cheers, Erik and Karine

  11. waywardmedic says:

    Wow, amazing. I love this hack. I can see that the backing was not used in the bookcases. My question is, were the brackets specifically hung on studs or because so many brackets were used that studs were not needed?

  12. Briggtopp says:

    It´s indeed a nice Hack. Do you´ve more pics for us?


  13. Stalker says:

    Great idea!

  14. mrgoodbar says:

    The most beautiful hacks are often the simplest.

    This does so much for that room – they fit perfectly, make the room even more classy and allow the parquet floor to really show off.

    This is one of the best I’ve seen recently – possibly perfect!

    Great job!

  15. dramaqueen says:

    thanks for the idea.. i simply love it..

  16. Anonymous says:

    a bit monolithic for my taste but quite an achievement. congratulations.

  17. Anonymous says:

    It shouldn’t be a problem if the right size bracket were used. And they should be screwed securely into the wall studs.
    The spot lights are perfect for the space too!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I love it! Too bad my home is too small :( Anyway I’ll keep this on my mind for later…

  19. Marble Host says:

    This is one of the best.Good work.

  20. James says:

    With all that weight, your wall might have to be framed out in ibeams. How did you hang them?

  21. Mari says:

    Wow, they look amazing! And I like being able to vacuum underneath.

  22. h says:

    If you look closely at the larger version of the picture you can see that the bookcase backings were not used. Therefore there’s no need to cut holes for the brackets.

    As for hiding them, there’s no need as long as you put books on your shelves. :)

  23. Matthew says:

    ditto previous comment.
    wish there were pictures of the actual brackets and bracings that were used. I can’t see them at all in the picture, and I’m wondering where ALL 18 screws were placed.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This looks great! I’m not sure I understand how the L brackets were used. Can you post a close-up? Did you have to cut an opening in the back through which to slip the “L”? Is the “L” screwed to the bottom of each fixed shelf? If so, how do you disguise it so that it isn’t visible?


  25. Anonymous says:

    LOVE this!!!

  26. Ingenius.
    Since I’m still in the process of self-renovating my rooms, I’d probably have this idea in mind. Thanks.
    …inspiring wealth into your life!

  27. Kevin says:

    Nice, but what’s the deal with the stray lightbulb hanging out of the ceiling?

  28. Ruthie says:

    I LOVE this inspiring idea! I can’t tell if the bookcase backings were used. If they were, you’d have to create an opening for the L bracket part that supports the fixed shelf.

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