Billy bookcases

Published on January 14th, 2012 | by Jules Yap


Billy Bookcases to Built-Ins

built in Billy bookcase

Materials: Billy Bookcases

Description: I got this great idea from a post on Centsational Girl and I had to have it for myself! We made our Billy Bookcases into built-ins by following these simple steps:

built in Billy bookcase

1. Measure your space. (Ours was 210 inches long)

2. Buy your bookcases – We got 4 Billys with extended depth and height, 2 shorter (in width) bookcases and a TV stand and overhead storage. These items totaled approximately 205 inches.

3. Build up the space on the flooring with wood boards so that when you place your Billys on them the bottom shelf will be flush with the height of your baseboard.

4. Assemble bookcases and place against wall on boards in the order that you want them built in. The outer bookcases should be pushed completely against the outside walls and the remaining bookcases should be evenly spaced apart (if your bookcases don’t fill the entire space)

5. Measure and apply Baseboard & crown molding.

6. Apply smaller molding (we used 2 1/4 inch) where each bookcase meets to cover the gap.

Decorate and enjoy!

* Because the smaller (in width) bookcases were not as deep we had to pull them away from the wall to keep the front of the shelves flush. This required us to anchor the shelf to the others and to the wall to prevent any shifting.

See more of the built in Billy.

~ Shana, Roseville

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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".

45 Responses to Billy Bookcases to Built-Ins

  1. Pete Rooney says:

    Looks great, but would it be possible to post the photos in lower resolution?

    JK, I can hardly see them, can you post bigger photos so I can see the details?


  2. sara lee says:

    whoa , loved the picture , I hoover the dust from mine ! …or you can give them a few coats of gloss paint ( not so static ) …or use a pom pom on a stick , good to get some other other info on this site

  3. ProlixRedux says:

    These look great. For a good video demonstration, watch the first episode of season 11 of Ask This Old House. Tom Silva does a good job of going through the steps, including how to scribe the side moldings to an uneven wall.,,20636522,00.html

  4. I’ve recently discovered Centsational Girl and her DIY blog is pure genius!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic idea, we are looking to do this in our new apartment. which tv unit and overhead did you use? thank you

  6. Dennis Kordie says:

    Great stuff my love and I will definitely try this.

    Thank you
    Dennis & Lilian

  7. Momof4girls says:

    Great job ! How did you attach the crown molding and the molding in between the seems of the Billy’s…? Thanks…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fab job. Ikea is the way to go. Most cost effective and gorgeous if installed properly like you’ve done. All our bedroom built-in closets are ikea pax system with fillers/mouldings installed by my contractor. No one knows they are ikea. What did we do before ikea???

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks great and easy to do. My ten Billy bookcases are full of books and need to be turned into a built-in feature with the addition of a piece of wooden worktop shelving for a tv. On my “To do” list.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A great finished project, we have a similar one without all of the fancy mouldings because it actually fits perfectly in the space we have. We never got around to doing the mouldings (though we did consider it). It still looks brilliant (15 years old), and is full to the rim with books. If you are worried about dust, get a good vacuum, one with a dusting brush. Dyson seems to have the best dusting brush, not nec. the best vacuum.

  10. Anonymous says:

    At the person asking about the dust…one word~ SWIFFER! The idea is fabulous and it looks great!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can we get some close up shots of the joins and the crowning please. Like to get a better idea of how you did it :)

    • Anonymous says:

      i would like to see this too, i wanted to know about the gaps between the units. did you just cover them up or were they filled in beforehand?

  12. Great Job! This looks so nice!! And I LOVE the pops of yellow! Very cheerful.

  13. Kathy says:

    I think this looks great. So bright and cheerful. I hate to dust but I think I would be happy while dusting this!

    • Kelly says:

      Did you build it on top of carpet? I can’t quite tell from the picture. Trying to decide how to do this in my house. I have carpet now but want hardwood in the future.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Really love it! I plan on giving it a try soon, but I have one question: the Ikea website only lists the overhead storage shelf with a depth of 11″, not 15″. How did you get the shelf to sit flush with the 15″ bookcases? Is it connected to the wall in anyway? Thanks!

  15. Anissa says:

    I’m new to Ikea Hacking, so I’m a little confused by this step

    “3. Build up the space on the flooring with wood boards so that when you place your Billys on them the bottom shelf will be flush with the height of your baseboard. “

    Can someone elaborate?

  16. Ingrid says:

    Simple, but very effective. Great job!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Very nice use of the Billy units — but two questions. First, where did you get the TV stand, is it an IKEA piece? I haven’t found it in the Ikea catalogue or website. Second, what do you mean by “extended depth” of the Billy units? Tks.


    • Hélène Cantin says:

      I have the same questions Bob has. I find you did a great job. Wish you couyld come do it here!!!
      So Is the TV stand a billy IKEA item? And what do you mean by «extended depth»? Thanks for letting me know!

  18. Anonymous says:

    i like! where did you get the Baseboard & crown molding?

  19. Girl_Industries says:

    Very nice work. I am now eyeing up the long wall in my kitchen diner and wondering if we could squeeze a set like this in to streamline the room a little.

  20. Jules says:

    I love the yellows!

  21. That is amazing! It looks like a high-end bookshelf.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well, it looks nice – but I’m not so sure it’s gonna look nice in five years from now. I’ve never seen a Billy that didn’t look worn and used after a few years. (They’re cheap for a reason). I’d recommend something a bit more sturdy than the Billys for a project like this.

  23. Anonymous says:

    beautiful. do you probably a list of parts used? and how much did it cost to make it?

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s beautiful, it’s so cheerful and pretty. I’m jealous of your wonderful imagination to visualise and implement such a project!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful job! I am re-doing a closet, pantry, and living room– I just may have to fit this idea in somewhere.

  26. Inheritedhornet says:

    Love it! The Billy is becoming one of my favorite IKEA pieces!

  27. Shanna says:

    This looks fantastic! I am planning to do the same project, and I was wondering how it would look with the narrower Billys mixed in given how the depths are different. Bookmarking this hack!

  28. Snappy says:

    Amazing! Looks like it was always there/meant to be there. And I love the consistent pops of yellow. Great job!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Oh….My…..G-d………unbelieveably gorgeous, functional, and looks like it just came out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Can you com visit my house and see what kind of magic you can do?

  30. Anonymous says:

    How do you clean the dusts?! Everything looks soooooo crowded :( It must kill to clean all the dusts…

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? What about a compliment? Think maybe you can through one in there? As meticulous as the project is, I am sure they are meticulous with keeping a clean house.

    • Anonymous says:

      This isn’t mean or negative.

      1. How do you clean the dusts?! – Question
      2. Everything looks soooooo crowded – Opinion
      3. It must kill to clean all the dusts… Conjecture

      This is a comment box, not a cheerleading box. People, please learn the difference. Unless the person is being a horribly offensive troll, lighten up. If we all answered “well done” it would be robotic and reading these posts would be pointless.

      @ The poster
      - I also wonder how you keep everything dust free. It does look crowded, specifically the horizontal books. I really want to know if you have some tips because I like the horizontal look but it would be tedious to keep dust free.

      @ Anyonymous – If you never post that it looks crowded, the poster never knows that you think it looks crowded. There is no potential for a dialog between posters, and the posts would become boring.

      -Peter in Bavaria

    • Joanna NL says:

      It does not look crowded, you haven’t seen crowded yet :-)
      I like minimalistic interiors and for me it meats the criteria – it is neat and tidy and looks well presented and organized. As for the dust – it takes probably less than you think…

    • Kerrie says:

      The dust question is valid. My place collects a lot of dust because I have no control over the filters used in my apartment that I rent. Plus, since the addition of a second pet I’ll never buy open bookcases again- doors all the way for less tedious cleaning. And I understand the “crowded” statement as well…for those that prefer more sparseness to the walls, a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookcase will look cramped no matter how well organized it is. It’s a matter of personal preference.

    • Anonymous says:

      They probably just remove everything and wipe down all the shelves.

  31. happidae says:

    Like a boss. Well done.

  32. Anonymous says:


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