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Use This IKEA Hack To DIY Gorgeous Built-In Bookshelves

House Digest logo: MainLogoHouse Digest 5/19/2022 Alexandria Taylor
Books in rainbow color scheme © MagicBones/Shutterstock Books in rainbow color scheme

Built-in shelves are sought after by many homeowners. They add an elegant feature to any room. Unfortunately, custom carpentry is out of budget for many homeowners. Home Advisor quotes built-in bookshelf installation between $1,283 and $4,396. But if you want floor-to-ceiling shelves, that comes at a much higher price tag. Expect to pay an average of $5,000 to $14,000.

As beautiful as these installations can be, the hefty price can keep them out of reach for many looking for this sleek storage option. But there is a way to get this customized look for less. IKEA has long since been the secret to making your home look custom-designed on a budget. Instead of having pricey furniture created for your home, you can buy IKEA pieces and transform them. All you'll need is the right IKEA piece, a quick trip to the hardware store and an afternoon and then you can have the look of luxury for less.

The BILLY Bookcase is the key to creating walls of custom storage. Here's how you can use this IKEA hack to give your home gorgeous, bespoke built-in shelves.

Gather Your Materials

Man building a bookshelf © Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock Man building a bookshelf

Of course, you're going to need to start with the BILLY Bookcase. These shelves are 31.5 inches wide and 79.5 inches tall. You'll want to take your space into consideration when deciding how many to buy. Measure the total area and divide by the width to calculate how many bookshelves your space can fit. Experts agree that using odd numbers is the most visually pleasing way to design your space, according to Apartment Therapy. So try to buy three, five, or seven shelves. This doesn't mean you can't buy an even number of bookcases if that's what would best fit your space.

MDF strips and MDF sheets will help create the built-in look. MDF stands for medium-density fiber and is made from recycled wood. Strip wood helps create the frame. You'll also need a strong wood adhesive and a wood filler. You'll want an MDF primer that's solvent-based, not water-based, since water-based paints and primers can warp the wood, says Bob Villa. With primed MDF, you can paint over with any color, so pick out your favorite paint. Optional materials include decor pieces that customize the shelves, such as lighting or wallpaper. But for many, a simple paint job will do.

Time To Execute The Hack

Built-in wood bookshelf © brizmaker/Shutterstock Built-in wood bookshelf

First, build the BILLY bookcase according to the included instructions. Once you have all the bookcases built, you'll want to place them against the wall, positioning them how you want them displayed. If your bookcases are going to have different shelf configurations or cabinet doors, ensure the layout design is how you want it before continuing.

Screw pieces of strip wood on the top of the bookcase, spanning the entire width. Do the same on the ceiling above the bookcase. This will be the frame for the MDF sheets to hide the space between the bookcase and ceiling. Use the wood adhesive to attach the MDF sheet to the front of the frame you created. To create a chic customized look, glue the MDF strips in between the space bookcases to make this look like one solid piece.

Use the wood filler to fill in the pre-drilled holes. This small change makes the built-in look more luxurious. Once the filler dries, sand it down until it's smooth. You'll also want to sand the MDF pieces to remove any fibers on the surface, says SFGate. Then prime the whole piece for painting. After a layer of primer, you're ready to paint. You could stop here, or you could customize your bookcases.

Customize Your Bookshelves

Woman reading on ladder © Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock Woman reading on ladder

Built-in bookshelves already look customized and luxurious in your space. But if you want to take a step further, you can customize it further with some unique details. The basic customization you can get right from IKEA is the OXBERG doors. Use these to create a cabinet in your bookcase and help hide away some clutter. Or add glass-front doors to show off a collection.

A common way to step up your bookcase is with lighting. Add strip lights underneath the shelves or sconces to add accent lighting. Use battery-powered lights to avoid installing and hiding wiring, says Frugal Family Times. Many battery-powered lights come with remotes so that you can turn them on from a distance.

If you're filling the shelves with books, why not add a sliding library ladder and fulfill every bibliophile's dreams. Add a pop of color or print by adding some wallpaper to the back of the shelves. Cane and jute sheets can add a textured accent.

Read this next: 55 Trendiest Home Décor Ideas

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