Faux Built In: Billy Bookcase Ikea Hack

Remember how I bought 4 billy bookcase from Ikea? I wanted to create a focal point on our living room wall with the fireplace, wall mounted TV and some built in bookshelves. Actually building the shelves wasn’t a great option for us so we turned to IKEA for an inexpensive solution. I browsed a lot of Ikea hacks and it seemed like the best option. It was time consuming but not too bad for our first big project!

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Here is how we made our faux built in using two full billy bookcases and two half sized bookcases.

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The first step was to assemble all four bookshelves. It looked like a Swedish furniture bomb went off in my living room!

After the  guys assembled the shelves, we realized that the measurements were a little bit off on each side of the fireplace and the shelves didn’t quite fit. My brother used his Reciprocal Saw to cut off a little bit of our mantle on either side. Yes. Our beautiful mantle. I had to hide upstairs until he was done, but I did snag a quick picture. Also, it turned out that our fireplace isn’t exactly in the center of the wall, so we had to cheat our shelves a little bit to create the illusion of symmetry.

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It was already looking great with the shelves as is. We chose not to add the flimsy backer on the shelves. We needed to be able to access the electrical outlets and the switch for the fireplace.

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However, we wanted to mimic the look of real built ins. To accomplish this I knew I wanted to add crown molding to the top and baseboard to the bottom. Our shelves sat a little under 4 inches so none of the baseboards would fit, so we pulled everything off of the wall

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and set a piece of plywood under the shelves.

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Then we screwed the shelves into the wall for added stability. We attached a piece of particle board in between the bookshelves to create a smooth surface for our crown molding. This also created a built in picture frame for where our TV would eventually go.  We used 1/2 strips of pine to connect the gap between our large and small bookcases and create a seamless look. Then it was time to nail in the crown molding. After some trial and error, we ended up going with a pretty simple piece of crown and borrowed a nailer from a friend. We painted the fireplace surround and the trim pieces “Ikea white” to match the bookcase. We just took one of the shelves into Home Depot and they did a color match for us right in the store.   Let’s take a look at our progress before adding the baseboards:

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I’m not going to lie, the most challenging part about this project was our serious lack of tools. . The items that we ended up purchasing/borrowing to complete this project were  a brad nailer, compound miter saw, air compressor,  reciprocal saw and a cordless drill.  Because we were borrowing most of these tools, this project took a couple of weeks but the actual “work time” really wouldn’t be that bad if you had the hardware already.

And just as a reminder, this is our living room during our walk through

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Check it out now with some beautiful Ikea faux built ins.

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What a huge difference! I’m still not sure about the gray wall showing around everything. We have been talking about painting it white or even doing a fun accent color for inside the shelves. There are so many options! Also, we still want to do something with that awkward track lighting and I still have a lot of shelves to fill so this project isn’t officially finished. I’m excited to add a few interesting/pretty books and some more fun pieces. I’m sure the items on the shelves will continue to change and evolve as the mood strikes.

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No joke, I find myself just sitting and starring at these pretty built ins. I think these bookcases add an interesting architectural feature in our living room. I love how they turned out!

I will be back on Monday to explain how we mounted our TV above our fireplace and hid our cords in the wall!

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12 thoughts on “Faux Built In: Billy Bookcase Ikea Hack

    • Thank you! I’m still not in love with the styling and i still have lots of shelves to fill but I’m hoping to add so e fun pieces over time and end up with something really special! 🙂

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  2. Gorgeous! What a brilliant idea – and I have enough Billy’s to make this happen!!!! Thank you for the step by step pictures – it really helps!

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  6. Where are the components (if any?) Cable box, DVD, Surround Sound? We want to do this, and incorporate a shelf deep enough to house those items. Any advice?

    • I have an Apple TV and blue ray player hooked up currently.

      Here is how I hid the cords: The blue ray sits nicely on the second shelf from the bottom on the right hand side. The cords run behind the wall and up to the crown molding. Sitting the top of the shelf is the Apple TV and a power strip. Those cords run along the top of the shelf until they are right above the tv and then we dropped them behind the wall again. The crown molding hides the cords sitting on top of the shelves very nicely! I hope this helps!

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