Published on March 20th, 2009 | by Jules Yap


Billy bookcases as room dividers

This is Lily’s very first Ikea hack and it’s a nice one. Clever use of Billy bookcases to section out a ‘sleeping area’ and create storage. Definitely a snuggle-worthy corner.

She says, “I’m renting this large one space studio but didn’t like the idea of having my bed in the living room as well as in the kitchen so I came up with the idea of a room divider. Since I also had a lack of storage for books etc I decided to purchase five Billy‘s (4 large and one small) to create a ‘sleeping corner’. The position of the bookcases also makes kind of a hallway. The first Billy closest to the entrance door is a small one that I use as a place for key/mail/umbrella. A few months later I found two green glass kitchen doors (Rubrik) at the as-is corner which were then fixed to the bottom shelves to serve as a shoe cabinet.

The next Billy is placed reversed so that I can use it as a night table at the head of my bed. At the back I screwed in a simple rack to hang coats when entering the studio. I made sure the screws pierced one of the shelves so that it would be strong enough to carry some weight.

The 3 bookcases facing the living room serve as all kinds of storage. I glued on some gift wrapping paper (at hema) to make it more playful and less white. Some of the shelves are left out so that I have, like, these small decoration cubes in which I sometimes place school works (sculptures, maquettes, etc)

For the sleeping corner on the other side, the backs of the Billy’s are simply covered with some leftover paint, with colors matching my favorite bed linen. I hung a Hoppy lamp (by Dark) at the top to create some special light effects.

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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".

26 Responses to Billy bookcases as room dividers

  1. Tina says:

    Nice use of the Billy Book Cases. It’s a great solution in a studio apartment or loft. I like the way you used every bit of space. Cute coat rack and storage area.

    I agree with some of the previous posters. With kids I might be nervous that the bookcase might come down.

    That’s why at Screenflex Room Dividers we make dividers with a wide base for stability.

    Have you had any problems with the bookcases tipping?

    I’d like to see how you separated your kitchen and living room.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait so make a large pantry using this idea.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi, like evryone here, I just want to add kudos.
    I consider myself extremely creative, and my mouth was open looking at your pics. When I think of all the one room places in my youth!I could have used a friend like you. Congrats.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great idea, but not in earthquake country (California, in my case).

  6. Kim says:

    so cute! Smart to turn one around to use as a nightstand/bedside shelf, and to use the back for your coat rack. Cozy, clean, and clever. Way to go!

  7. NK says:

    Gorgeous! I am in love with the pink color scheme in the bedroom area – how cute!

  8. buywowgold says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Anonymous says:

    excellent. I’m am going to implement something just like this as I move into my new space next month.

  10. anthony says:

    yes… i m wondering why the shelves fall down.. and tat’s it…

  11. tcarole says:

    Looks great but I live in “earthquake country” so I couldn’t even consider that without some serious structural securing. We don’t even hang pictures over our beds here – I hate to think what could happen if a book case came down on me in my sleep. I hope you can make it safe.

  12. massi says:

    cleaver use of IKEA’s!

  13. May be a space between the show case and the bed is needed for you to walk and make it spacious which psychologically affecting your quality sleep.
    I am worry about the stability of the slim bookcase, as you tosh and turn while sleeping might accidentally knock the shelf down.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What a great hack! All those fantastic shelves, and it manages to look built-in as well.

  15. UNKNOWN says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. waywardmedic says:

    Wow, fantastic work. I would love to “peek” at the rest of your studio.

  17. Marleen says:

    If you’re worried about the stability, screw the shelves together – the L shape will be enough to hold it with no need for drilling into the floor!

    I’ve done something similar in my bedroom, partitioning off a walk-in closet, a nook for the sewing desk, and a nook for the bed – but I used simple wood panels. Wish I’d thought of bookshelves instead!

  18. JooN says:

    Looks good indeed and a good use of space/storage. Might come to you for some help in my future room/house lay-out :)

  19. Lily says:

    Thx for al your great comments. At first I was worrying about the stability too but all bookcases are attached to eachother, using a Lprofile indeed. Also, I try to keep the heavy stuff at the bottom shelves. I had quite a few collisions with them but until now they’re still standing :)

  20. Amie S says:

    I’d extend it out one more bookcase so that the bed would have a walkway on either side AND there would be room to change in there.

    I’d also hang a curtain for a door and connect the bookcases together to stabilize them.

    Great hack though, I’ll keep it in mind for when I move.

    What would be neat is to combine this look with the floating shelves in a post earlier this week. It would make a nice hack for putting an office space into a larger room and still having privacy, floating shelves inside the arrangement, billy bookcases facing out, and a desk inside for the pc.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I think the look of this is great, but I agree with the previous comments about securing it better. However, I am not sure how to do this without drilling into the floor or ceiling, perhaps if you secure the bookshelves to each other it will be more stable?

  22. Alexa says:

    A hack which combines my two favorite stores, ikea and Hema! Looks great and makes a livable loft, to boot.

  23. Evan says:

    Looks neat, but would be a good idea to secure it better. I tend to toss and turn allot in my sleep and my bed gets knocked around, I’d be worried of toppling it over in my sleep.

    I’d atleast shift the bed to be next to the wall and have the walkway be between the bed and the bookshelf.

    Good job though, I may do something like this to setup a den when I move at the end of the month.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It looks really great but isn’t the Billy bookcase only about 10 inches wide? Isn’t there a great danger of it tipping over. Could be dangerous if there’s a lot on the shelves!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Love the loft, and love how you partitioned off a section for cosiness and privacy — looks great!

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