This is probably my favorite DIY to date at home. I love how gorgeous these shelves turned out, and it only cost me a few hundred dollars.
There are a bunch of guides on Pinterest covering how to do this, but I really wanted to share ours. These shelves have seriously brightened up the office. I work remotely from home, and am constantly in Video Conferences. Having this IKEA shelf idea as a backdrop for those meetings has been a constant point of discussion, as my coworkers love how clean it looks. Not to mention, it adds a bunch of character to the calls instead of a plain wall.
Our library is also the first room visitors see when they enter our home through the front door. It helps make a beautiful statement entry as their eyes are immediately drawn to the shelves and the various decor items sitting in each space.
We opted to go with a farmhouse look once the shelves were up. This required finding good deals at a variety of different stores - many of the items from places like At Home, Marshalls/Ross, and Hobby Lobby.
For the desk, we purchased this beautiful picnic table from World Market. It even has a hole for the umbrella which can be used to drop the computer wires down. However, I prefer a clean look (no wires), and I mainly use a laptop, so I instead thread the power cable between the gaps in the wood.
The globe light was also purchased from World Market. It truly helped round out the library.
So, back to the shelving. How did I build these?
Well, this is what the library looked like originally.
As you can see, the room was fairly bland before.
I started by removing the base boards and crown moldings that were against the back wall. I also removed them from each side, as they will need to be trimmed down later to give that built in look.
Once the trim was removed, also remove the outlet covers that will be in the way of the shelving. I had one power outlet on the back wall, and an ethernet outlet on the side which would be covered up by the shelves. (Note for later, when you put the shelves up over these locations, you will want to jigsaw cut holes so that you don’t lose access to these outlets.)
Next, you may need a base for the shelves to sit on. This step may be optional for you. I have really large 12” baseboards. The Billy Bookcases have a groove already cutout to go around baseboards, but that was a lot smaller than mine. Hence the need for me to have the shelves sit a little higher so that it could when the base boards are remounted in front, it wont cover up the actual shelves.
I built the base framing using 1x3 wood. I then wrapped the outside of the base with primed wood as this part will be exposed. I used some cheap plywood on the top of the base for the shelves to sit on. Make sure this is level otherwise you will have shelves that will want to rock, or will be slanted. Also, in retrospect, i wouldn’t have used such flimsy plywood here as I actually ended up with some minor dips in places that i had to shim later.
Once your base is in, build your Billy’s per IKEA’s instructions. As each shelf is built, lift it up and place it on your base. Don’t mount it to the wall yet, as you will likely need to adjust the spacing between each shelf to make them evenly spaced once all of them are up.
Once all of your IKEA Billy Bookcase shelves are up and equally distributed, use the IKEA mounts provided to secure them to the studs behind the wall. Also try to keep the distance between each shelf a standard width as it will be covered by trim (so something like 2.5” is good, but go with what is available and looks good to you).
At this point, you can also put the base molding back on against your shelf base.
If you have space between the top of your shelves and the ceiling, then you may need to put another mini shelf up there, or add some framing and cover it with a sheet of wood similar to what you did at the base. Make sure it is sturdy as you will be nailing the crown molding into this sheet also.
Once the shelves are ready, trim is in place, and moldings are back in, then its on to the finishing touches.
IKEA furniture tends to come with a coating which doesn’t play all that friendly with paint. You will need to sand every shelf, and every corner down to create a slightly rougher surface for the paint to grip to. Then use the BIN primer to prime each surface.
Caulking also goes a long way in giving these shelves a professional built in appearance. Caulk each shelf , the holes on the sides, and any gaps you see. You may also have a small gap between the side walls and the trim. If the gap is too big, Caulk will not hold. You can get rubber filler tubes from your local hardware store that you can squeeze into those gaps, and then caulk over that.
Once all the gaps have been caulked, surfaces primed, then use your favorite color (i went with a high gloss white trim paint) and paint everything.
Also, don’t forget to put the side trim back on. At this point, measure how much you need to cut it, and cut with a Mitre Saw so that you can reconnect it to the back molding you already put back in place. Again, if you accidentally cut a little too much, then either just fill that space with Caulk, or if you cut too much like I did, then cut another sliver from the extra molding cut, and glue it in place and caulk. Yes, Caulk is magic and will hide all of your mistakes.
Finally, once your new book shelf is dry, go decorate. Family pictures, books, ornaments. Anything you put here is going to look great. Make it personal. Show off what makes you, you!
Let me know in the comments what you think, and don’t forget to pin this to your Pinterest Boards.
I still have a couple of things I want to do to finish off this room.
First, the remaining walls need to be painted Repose Gray from Sherwin Williams. This will really make the shelves pop against the gray.
Second, the wood at the top needs something. I am thinking of building a farmhouse wooden sign, maybe stenciled with “Office”, or something along those lines.
Stay tuned, and I’ll update the blog when I get that done.
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