Ikea Hack DIY Built In Wall Unit

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Ikea hack using the Billy bookcases.

I love the look of custom built in wall units. I started researching tips on how to make my own and realized that many of the tutorials I found used Ikea hacks. Mainly using the Billy bookcase. I went to Ikea and unfortunately they were sold out. I was looking for the tall, skinny ones. They were also sold out online. So I searched Facebook Marketplace. I found someone selling 2 (exactly what I was needing) and get this…they live 5 minutes from me. And the best part? They were already assembled. Score!! I didn’t even care that they were black since I was going to be painting them anyway. I lightly sanded them and then added a coat of primer. I used this primer https://amzn.to/3wUgSfA I wasn’t worried about the back inside because I planned on adding wainscoting there. We already had the faux fireplace that my hubby built. That tutorial for that is here https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18072214471191087/ Because I wanted the whole thing to look like one piece, I had to remove the moulding on the faux fireplace, as well as the top. I then had my husband cut the whole piece down about 5 inches.

Once I got it cut down I placed the bookcases where I wanted them, which was a bit off the ground so I built a couple of boxes for the bookcases to sit on. I used 1 x 6 pieces of pine board and basically just made a box and then added a piece of plywood on top that I cut to fit. The bookcases fit perfectly on top with a enough space to add 1 x 4 trim around the edges.

I then added 1 x 4 pieces of pine around the base of the bookcases and also added some new pieces of 1 x 3 trim to the fireplace. I also added decorative moulding around the boxes that the bookcases are sitting on. I just used what I had taken off the fireplace so that it all looked the same. The point was trying to make it look like one cohesive piece of furniture.

Once I got the top put back on and all the trim and moulding done I started painting the whole thing. I used Antique White from Glidden in a flat finish. I personally like using flat paint for furniture projects. It gives the piece more of a chalky finish. You can find this paint at Home Depot. It’s actually the paint and color I have used throughout my home. It’s the perfect creamy white.

I ended up adding some additional pieces of moulding around the top using 1 x 2 premium select pine from Home Depot. And also spliced in a couple pieces on the top. When we cut the top we didn’t account for overhang on the sides and so it didn’t look quite right (DIY fail.) I will be filling in nail holes and gaps with nail hole filler. My favorite nail hole filler is found here https://amzn.to/3gd2loC It’s seriously every DIYer’s best friend (or at least mine.)

I wanted something in the back that would look a little nicer than just the cardboard backing that was in the bookcases. I had some wainscot paneling on hand from a previous project so I just cut and pieced it in between the shelving. I also added 1 x 2 pieces on the sides. This did make the shelves more permanent so if you want adjustable shelving you won’t want to add these additional steps.

For the shelf above the TV I used a 1/2″ thick x 11 3/4″ deep piece of bullnose shelving from Home Depot. I fastened a piece of 1 x 2 on each bookcase for the shelf to sit on. I used the existing holes for the bookcase shelves to screw the pieces of 1 x 2 in.

I am so pleased with how this project turned out. It’s totally custom and fits the space we needed it in perfectly. And I did most of this by myself. I only had my hubby help me with a couple of cuts. And the total cost…$110!!

Here’s the cost breakdown and materials I used.

  • Ikea Billy bookcases – $50 (found on FB Marketplace)
  • 1 x 2 premium select pine (7 total) – $45
  • Bullnose shelving – $9
  • Caulking – $6

The rest of the items I already on hand.

  • Decorative moulding
  • Wainscot paneling
  • 1 x 6 pine board
  • 1 x 4 pine board
  • 1 x 3 pine board
  • Primer
  • Paint

*Disclaimer – The electric fireplace insert was gifted to me by Touchstone Home Products in exchange for promoting on social media. Any reviews by me are my own personal views. The insert can be found here https://www.touchstonehomeproducts.com/collections/electric-fireplaces/products/the-sideline-36-touchstones-36-inch-recessed-electric-fireplace-with-heat-in-black