5 Grown-up Hacks That Will Have You Calling Your BILLY Bookcase William

published Mar 10, 2019
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(Image credit: IKEA)

IKEA estimates they sell one of their BILLY bookcase every five seconds, which means there are a lot of BILLY bookcases out there in the world. It’s probably the most recognizable product in the canon of IKEA merchandise, and it’s endlessly versatile and adaptable to different rooms and situations. What better way to celebrate its 40 years on the planet than with some hacks?

House of Hawkes painted their BILLY a cool greige, then added some custom cane doors and brass hardware to elevate the unit into something chic and sophisticated. (We also hacked an IKEA bed with cane webbing aways back and completely approve of this look.) Not only does the bookcase look amazing, added doors also let you hide away all your clutter.

These two basic white BILLY bookcases have come a long way since leaving the store. Designer Melanie Lissack trimmed them out with decorative molding and wood beading on the edges, and wallpaper on the back, all of which polishes things up quite nicely. You can see her process over on her website. The lights are wired to a switch near the wall baseboard adjacent to the unit, and easily accessible. The best finishing touch: covering those telltale shelf holes with more molding, which helps disguise their IKEA origins.

Malcolm at designsixtynine took things a step further with the now customized shelving in his living room. He mounted a variety of units on the wall, tricked them out with molding, and then painted them the same color as the walls. All clever moves that make them appear intentional and at one with the room. These BILLYs look expensive and built-in.

Kristina of Ich Designer created a series of sliding doors for her BILLY bookcases. They move on casters with the help of a u-shaped channel she affixed to the front of the shelves. IKEA bar pulls complete the job. She used OSB for the actual doors, which makes the DIY look modern and functional, while remaining super affordable.

Here’s a clever way to turn a bookcase into a small home office. Using a piece of live edge wood and a set of hairpin legs, Billie of Curate + Craft added a desk to the shelving set up. It’s just big enough for a workstation—the perfect perch from which to get things done. Plus, the organic look of the wood is a nice contrast to all those white right angles.