9 Clever IKEA Billy Bookcase Hacks

Updated: Jan. 22, 2024

Here's how to use IKEA's versatile Billy bookcase to create high-end looks that transform your space on a budget.

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Mudroom Cabinets
Courtesy @henrikjunehome/Instagram

Mudroom Cabinets

To make this mudroom section of her garage more functional, @henrikjunehome gave her Billy bookcases a makeover. She installed doors to hide clutter and bumped out the units to create more depth. She also added open cubbies and built a matching bench and floating shelves to create an organized and beautiful space.

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Dark And Sophisticated
Courtesy @minimagkate/Instagram

Dark and Sophisticated

You can make Billy bookcases look more sophisticated by painting them a moody color, as seen here in this home office by @minimagkate. She secured these bookcases to the wall and screwed them together for stability.

Wood trim fills the gaps, and crown molding takes the bookcases all the way to the ceiling for a high-end custom look. But of course, that stunning paint color — Salamander by Benjamin Moore — pulls it all together.

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Toy Storage
Courtesy @tonisturner/Instagram

Toy Storage

Two Billy bookcases, placed on their sides by @tonisturner, offer wall-to-wall playroom toy storage. The clever solution makes the bookcases low to the ground, perfect for little ones to reach.

She added trim to fill gaps and create a built-in unit. The bare wood top provides more storage, a display area and a lovely warm contrast against all the white.

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Scallop Top Cabinets
Courtesy @lara.bezzina/Instagram

Scallop Top Cabinets

You would never guess this sculptural, modern piece is made from IKEA bookcases! With the help of her carpenter brother, @lara.bezzina made doors from medium density fiberboard (MDF) that extend above the height of the bookcases.

She created the perfect rounded tops by wrapping string around a pencil, then attaching the string to the top middle point of the doors. Holding the pencil tight at the other end of the string, she drew a semicircle by dragging the pencil from one side to the other. She cut the curves with a jigsaw, then painted everything Orange Aurora by Little Greene Paint Company.

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Library Built Ins
COURTESY @MAGICAL_MANOR/INSTAGRAM

Library Built-Ins

This fireplace wall by @magical_manor looks straight out of a designer portfolio, but it was made with yep, you guessed it, Billy bookcases!

Small details like the ornate trim on top and the brass latch hardware elevate the bookcases to a new level of elegance. The paint, Duxbury Gray by Benjamin Moore, does the same. For best results, prime the bookcases first and allow the paint to cure for a few days before continuing the project.

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Reading Nook
Courtesy @abigailamirahome/Instagram

Reading Nook

A couple of Billy bookcases were all @abigailamirahome needed to transform this uninspiring corner into a gorgeous reading nook. After adding wood trim to fill in gaps and create the floor-to-ceiling unit, she painted everything a rich, dark green (Secret Garden by Sherwin-Williams). Gold wireless picture lights on top add the perfect elegant finishing touch.

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Curved Corners
Courtesy @kensington_abode/Instagram

Curved Corners

The curved corners on this Billy bookcase from @kensington_abode give the shelves a modern flair no one would guess started as IKEA furniture. She made the curved trim with MDF, attached it to each bookcase, then filled the seams with caulk.

Notice the walls, shelves and ceiling are all painted the same peaceful beige color, creating a cozy cocoon feeling in the room.

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Tv Wall
Courtesy @ohsokel/Instagram

TV Wall

Glass door Billy bookcases are the base element of this elegant TV wall by @ohsokel. She turned the affordable bookcases into an entire wall unit by adding a built-in bench and extenders above each unit so they reach the ceiling.

And look closely at the Billy bookcases on the right side. They open to access an entire “Narnia” closet behind the wall unit! Genius!

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Wall Of Shelves
Courtesy @s.e.w.athome/Instagram

Wall of Shelves

Here’s another wall of shelves created with a Billy bookcase hack by @s.e.w.athome. But this one is a stunner, with — count ’em — seven bookcases!

Built-ins as large as this would normally cost you thousands of dollars, but using Billy bookcases makes it affordable. The shelves were sanded, primed, painted and installed with extenders, skirting and molding. The doors, made by IKEA to fit Billy bookcases, are called Oxberg doors.