Published on July 30th, 2009 | by Jules Yap


Billy bird

Handem tips me on this hack found on the Blog on the Bookshelf. Thanks Handem!

Dan Black and Martin Blum of design consultancy Black + Blum, do their thing on the ubiquitous Billy bookshelf. They say, “Our main priority was to give this piece a bit of character. In its basic form, it is very recognisable as the cheapest bit of shelving you can buy from Ikea, so we wanted to give it a new identity as well as a function by turning it into a self-contained home-office unit.”

I thought it was smart of them to add a work surface by joining two shelves with hinges, resulting in a neat, compact workspace. Better yet, it can be folded up to hide a laptop when not in use. What I am not so hot about are the magazine racks on the sides and top, which are supposed to give Billy the appearance of a “winged creature”. Huh? It would be like working in the belly of Big Bird.”

This Billy hack is part of an article by the Independent, “Pimp my Ikea: How to bling up your ‘Billy’ bookcase.”

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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".

5 Responses to Billy bird

  1. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous – I don’t think so, since all of the shelves on the billy except for the middle support shelf rest on pegs and thus rely on gravity to hold them in place.

    Perhaps the smallest half height half width bookcase would be okay on it’s side?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I love, love, love this website. I do have a (slightly) off topic question… Is it structurally sound to turn a billy bookcase on it’s side? Or is that only possible with the Expedit?

  3. Err, actually the FLARKE is the “cheapest bit of shelving you can buy from Ikea”, at $20 (the BILLY is $60).

    I’ve actually done something very similar with one of my bookcases except i bumped up the middle support shelf a bit and installed a desk-height shelf for my laptop, wih 2 table legs in the front to stabilize it. Covered the whole back in cheery green paper, too : )

  4. Speedwell says:

    Uh, huh. They left out a step. You know how the Billy comes with one of those little ribbon-like tethers that you screw into the wall and into the back of the bookcase so the full bookcase doesn’t fall into the room and crush you like a grape?

    Well, imagine putting your elbow on that laptop shelf so you can rest your chin in your hand. What happens next? Hmmm…

  5. Robj98168 says:

    I like this I need a small desk for my laptop and this would fit the bill to a tee. Don’t know about those magazine racks, but I think the whole thing is ingenious

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