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How to turn IKEA Billy Bookcases into a Built In Home Library

Our built-in library made from IKEA billy bookcases may be one of my absolute favorite things we did in our fixer upper, and was such a budget-friendly option for getting the look (and feel) we were going for.

I really wanted to make all of my Disney Belle dreams come true with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a rolling ladder in the entire back wall our living room (below is what it looked like when we bought it), but we ended up needing to move the staircase to the back wall.

We were left with just enough room, though, for a smaller scale Belle Library of my dreams in the back corner of the living room after putting the staircase in. We decided to build them out of IKEA Billy Bookcases with extenders to stay in budget. Bonus: IKEA just reduced the price on them!

Here's how we did it:

First, we measured, and measured, and measured some more (before driving all the way across our state to the nearest IKEA to buy the shelves). I knew I wanted to have the shelves round the corner for a real built-in look, so here's (roughly) the configuration we decided on:

We have 8 foot ceilings, so the Billy Bookcases with the Billy Extenders on top were the perfect height. In the picture above, you can see the bookshelves normally, and the extenders we put on top in front of them on the floor.

It should be noted that before you install these permanently where you want them, consider whether you need or want an outlet behind them. We wired an outlet directly above the bookshelves that turns on and off with a light switch next to the bookcase. We also cut holes in the bookshelves for two outlets and our internet wireless router (strategically hidden, of course). I bought these library sconces and plugged them in to the outlet and installed them on the trim. You can see the ceiling outlet in the picture above and the two way light switch that works the can light as well.

After laying them out how we wanted them, my dad (contractor extraordinaire that remodeled our house) cut theses triangular guides to keep the corner piece in the exact right place while we set up and secured the bookcases to the wall.

Next up, deciding where I wanted to fix the shelves and then filling in ALL THE HOLES. So. Many.

I used spackle I like that goes on pink and dries white. Let it dry, then sanded all the excess.

Up went the trim: we did crown at the top, used the same trim at the bottom that we used throughout the house, and put trim between all of the bookshelves to get it a more seamless look.

After caulking the trim, we were ready to prime and paint!

Here's the exact library sconces I used. They are adjustable and the perfect amount of light:

We used a high quality trim paint from Sherwin Williams, and painted the bookcases the same color as the trim and doors in the rest of the house, which is "Worldly Grey" by Sherwin Williams.

Overall, we are so very happy with our little library. What do you think, would you ever use this IKEA hack?


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Donna Flanegan
Donna Flanegan
Jan 24, 2023

I did the same. But I went one step further and put glass doors on my corner shelf. I even used an antique glass knob I had from an an old bureau.I have a larger room because I have two large shelves on either side of the corner shelves. I even went with the extensions and same lighting. GREAT look!


This looks great. We recently installed a Billy bookcase in our living room corner. just wondering what kind of trim did you use for the corner pieces?


John Smith
John Smith
May 31, 2021

These look great! How did you connect the shelves to each other, and how did you attach them to the wall?


Thank you!! I’m excited to get started!


Karissa Barker
Karissa Barker
Jan 30, 2021

Leila- I didn’t sand in between coats of paint. I actually did a dark blue on an IKEA bookshelf in my office and it turned out great! I used a matte poly sealer on top for extra protection.


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