IKEA Billys 10 Ways: The World's Most Versatile Bookcase

For a book lover, there's nothing more beautiful, and more satisfying, than a huge wall of built-in bookcases. But installing built-ins can be pricey, and if you live in a rental, it's not really an option at all. So how can you get the library look you crave without spending a ton of cash? Turn to the IKEA Billy.

Check out how the world's favorite bookcase is made:

The installation above may look like a custom job, but it's actually just a really clever IKEA hack, with some Billys on top, IKEA cabinets on the bottom, and a lot of wood trim from the hardware store. You can find a tutorial on IKEA Hackers, and even more detailed instructions here.

The owners of an 1897 home, spotted on This Old House, did something similar. They filled an entire wall with Billys, and then trimmed it out so that it looks built-in. Staining the bookcases and adding glass doors and lights at the top contributes to the high-end look.

The owners of this French country house did the same thing, but on a truly massive scale. Their library has 60 Billy bookcases, stained to match the trim in the room. Get all the details at IKEA Hackers.

Here's a tutorial, from Centsational Girl, on how to get a similar look at home. This entire wall of bookcases only cost $365.

Even if you're not up for a lot of cutting and measuring, you can still get the library look by lining up a lot of bookshelves together. Blogger Nicole from Making It Lovely has a lovely library nook created with Billys. (Bonus points for the cute kid.)

Suzanne's beautiful living room, which was part of our Room for Color contest, features a super-tall configuration of stacked Billys. IKEA makes them in different heights and also with an extender unit, so you can get a built-in look even without attaching things to the wall.

That's what Flickr member Corry did in this bedroom, which features a wall of Billys.

Amy Azzarito of Design Sponge dressed up her Billys with some creative cutouts at the top. She also painted them from black-brown to white, which she says was a whole whole lot of work.

Here's where things start to great really crazy. Crazy as in, "I can't believe this is a Billy." These folks used 5 Billys to create shelving under their stairs. More details and photos at IKEA Hackers.

And finally: this is a pretty serious hack and not for the faint of heart — but if you have a big blank wall and want a sweet wall unit, you can do as Adam Levén did and create on from the bones of 10 Billys. More details at IKEA Hackers.

(Image credits: IKEA Hackers; This Old House; IKEA Hackers; Centsational Girl; Making It Lovely; Corry under CC BY 2.0; Design Sponge; IKEA Hackers; IKEA Hackers)