Make Your Own Built-In Bookshelves with This Easy IKEA Hack

Now you don't have to be a pro carpenter to get gorgeous shelves!

When it comes to hand-crafted home features, few are as impactful as built-in bookshelves. Grand, sweeping shelves give any space an extra dose of elegance. However, they are notoriously difficult to build, requiring many precise measurements and a huge time investment. Fortunately, DIY influencer Rachel Martino poses the perfect solution in a viral video receiving over TK views. Her built-in bookshelf IKEA hack shows viewers how to use just a few basic pieces of IKEA furniture, to completely transform a living space. Read on to discover how she did it, as well as what you should consider before trying the IKEA hack for yourself.

What Is the IKEA Built-In Bookshelf Hack?

Basically, the IKEA built-in bookshelf hack is a process by which Martino creates “built-in” floor-to-ceiling bookcases using IKEA furniture. Instead of constructing the full shelves from scratch, she utilizes IKEA furniture, plywood, trim and paint. This saves her a ton of time, and makes these “built-in” bookshelves doable for even the most amateur woodworker.

How Does Martino Use IKEA Furniture to Make Built-In Bookshelves?

Martino starts by mapping out and measuring her space, then determining how many pieces of IKEA furniture she’d need. For her space, she needed 6 Havsta cabinets, 6 Billy bookcases, and 6 Billy bookcase extensions. From there, she simply assembled the furniture, and stacked it on top of each other against the wall. She first placed the Havsta cabinets down, follows by the bookcase extensions and then the bookcases.

To make the arches, Martino used 1/2-inch sanded plywood affixed directly onto the bookshelves with a nail gun. To further dress up the arches, she added trim then painted the entire built-in bookshelf unit with Backdrop’s Saturday on Sunday paint.

Finally, Martino opted to add a shelf over the door next to the built-in bookshelves, and painted the shelf and doorframe with the same Backdrop paint to fmake the built-in bookshelves look even more cohesive. Check out the final result for yourself below!

@rachmartinoIkea Hack for built in arched bookshelves! I love that we decided to go with an L shaped design it really makes the room feel so special and cozy. We used 6 Havsta cabinets, 6 billy bookshelves 3 shelf version) and 6 billy extensions. What do you think of the final look?♬ Do You Believe in Magic – The Lovin’ Spoonful

What Should I Consider Before Trying the IKEA Built-In Bookshelf Hack?

As with most DIY projects, you need to consider both your space and budget before you dive into this IKEA hack. For space requirements, note that each tall “bookshelf” unit will be approximately 32 inches wide, 18 inches deep and 90 inches tall. Regarding budgets, know that one “bookshelf” will cost $328 in IKEA furniture, plus the plywood, paint, trim and nails. Revamp your old furniture? Learn how to paint IKEA furniture.

If these space and cost requirements feel too limiting, you can always try your hand at building a different style of built-in bookshelf. We love these 33 bookcase projects, as well as this gorgeous showcase built-in. Be sure to also check out these 25 beautiful bookcases for inspiration. With the right materials, instructions and considerations, the perfect reading nook is always within reach!