Published on August 25th, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Custom wall of shelving…cheap!

Materials: Hyllis shelves, plywood, four band-aids

Description: Hyllis shelves are about $15 bucks a pop at Ikea but are rather flimsy and pretty short.

For my bedroom, I knew that I needed to house about 1200 books on a 20 foot long wall and I also wanted to house two flat screen TVs (long story why I needed two) that were at the correct height to view from the bed.

The Hyllis shelves will go together rather easily if you want to stack them. For my hack, I used the shelves and ‘overlapped’ the shelving units a bit in height. It is easy to overlap the legs (vertical supports) of Hyllis and and one to four shelves in height to it. You just have to put a screw through both vertical sections and into the shelf…the screw will connect everything together. I purchased slightly longer screws than the shelves come with to make the shelf connections at the front and the back sides, and used 1″ long drywall screws to hold the shelves together side by side. I also sunk one screw per shelf unit into the rear wall of my bedroom to add some stability.

To house the TV brackets, I had two pieces of plywood cut down to size at the hardware store. I made them the same size as one shelf ‘opening’ and inserted them where the shelf should have been, using the same holes drilled in the vertical supports that the shelves use. The plywood goes from the bottom of one shelf to the top of where the shelf below it should be. Easy as can be; this gave me a solid base to install the mounts for the screens.

The vertical supports have one end drilled with two holes in it (Ikea anticipates you to attach the shelves to the wall using these holes, I think). I added an extra row of shelves purely for decoration along the top of the unit using the extra holes. I Turned these upside down so you see the smooth surface of a shelf ‘top’ in lieu of the crimped shelf bottom.

I was left with one section of shelves that was a little bit too big to fit into the wall. Hyllis shelves are thin enough you can actually cut them easily with tin snips if you need to modify the width. When you cut them across you loose a little bit of stability because the shelves are folded on all four edges and the fold makes them rigid and gives the shelf its thickness. I had to insert small pieces of 1″ tall scrap wood cut the same depth as the shelf to stiffen the shelf front to back. I installed the wood using the existing holes on the vertical supports. Note: the cut shelves are sharp…hence bandages should be on hand! The cut shelves are shown in the picture with the urinal on the floor; you can barely see that they are modified.

~ Dave Hopkins, Chicago

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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".

27 Responses to Custom wall of shelving…cheap!

  1. orachel says:

    Anonymous, thanks so much for posting link to show us more of Dave’s gorgeous space at strangeclosets!

    Dave, your space is seriously intriguing, and I’m fascinated by some of your pieces. The broken doll parts under domed glass…right up my alley. I’ve got a collection of ‘doll head’ soaps, myself. And the rhino is outstanding. But by far my fave is the series of mounted busts…can’t tell who they are from photo, but I adore them! If you happened to get them somewhere accessible, I’d love to know where. Guessing they were a one of a kind find, but wow…snazziest find ever! Thanks so much for sharing your ikea wall. I just had a buddy measure for mine. I’m doing the same, exactly, only the shelf on either end will be short (orig height of the 55′ shelf) so that I can display items on top. Guessing that will make a rather interesting shape on wall, and will mirror the weird shape I have on fireplace wall. Wondering if you got the TV brackets somewhere inexpensive, or if they were from Ikea, or what? I’m on a hunt for a reasonably priced one. Again..thanks so much for the inspiration! Lovely to see someone doing such unique and eclectic things with bits I can actually afford, for a change. ;) thanks! Rachel

  2. Done same thing, except I was too lazy too buy extra long screws and used just what I had. It worked beautifully. we just made e couple extra holes in the profiles in order to crew the whole thing on the wal for safety, and used the leftover shelves to make smaller shelves by drulling ourselves extra holes in between shelves.

  3. Nope. No. No sir, not one bit. Not one point or piece. Not one thought or inkling toward any of it. Thank you, no.

  4. Anonymous says:

    very nice, i’m just wondering why there aren’t 2 urinals.

  5. FOUNDWORKS says:

    its an homage to DUCHAMP….fools

  6. MyFuZZyButtZ says:

    As much as I love books, I don’t want that many in my bedroom. It’s so busy! Somehow though, I could handle having 2 TV’s and have had in the past.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I really dislike the way the TVs block the shelves behind them. Even with nothing directly behind the TV space (as described), they still overlap the shelf space being used for books. That would drive me crazy!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I totally recognized that urinal and just spent half and hour online digging around to find it again. I think that the urinal is interesting as a candle dish, but the apartment that this is from is really lovely. The owner just seems to have several odd things that take away from a really pretty place.

    The original story is here


  9. DJinny says:

    Somebody is trying reverse psychology! of course we all wanna know if it means something or if it’s just an acquired piece you guys just cant get rid of!!!
    Anyz, don’t live this tv/video games/computer life!!!! but I still love the look of that room, urinal and double tv and all!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I do NOT want any storys about urinals at all!

  11. Anonymous says:

    My wife and I also have a dual HDTV setup in our living room, for much the same reason that Angel mentioned: the PS3 goes to one, DVR goes to the other, and the computer outputs to both.

    Oh, and I’d also like to know the story behind the urinal.

  12. Angel says:

    We have two TVs in the same room as well, one is for cable and the other is for our computer screen/xbox/wii. So we can watch and play video games or be on the computer at the same time. We’re also huge tech geeks.. so..

  13. Anonymous says:

    nice ode to Du Champ

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hack, schmack, whatever. I’m completely distracted by the two tvs and the urinal.

    Long story – hey I’ve got time. Throw me some fish.


  15. Anonymous says:

    curiosity killed the cat….whats the pisser for???

  16. Ange says:

    Love the look! My husband and I have been trying to figure out a way to put out all our books, and I think I just found it!

    Love the urinal. Now I don’t feel so bad for having had a condom machine in my bedroom!

  17. Sarah says:

    Interesting idea…I too am interested in knowing about the two tvs and the urinal (and especially the candles in the urinal).

  18. Laurie says:

    I love the parenthetical “long story” avoiding TV explanation coupled with no attempt at elaborating on the decorative urinal.

    Anyway it looks really well done, but repeated mentions of flimsy and seeming disregard for attaching things to the wall makes me worried for you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    LOL @Ange

  20. jo says:

    me too, but i’m also curious about what will you do with 1200 books in your room, when you have two tv set? there’s a slight incompatibility between them….
    and, most of all, why are you looking for sth cheap when you have these tv set? buy sth smaller next time, or just buy one?
    ;-) only curious

  21. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, the shelves look great but there’s no way to make the urinal not scream, “urinal!” :)

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    yea, me too. whats up with that urinal?

  24. Anonymous says:

    awesome.. so curious about the urinal though

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