Den Project: Built In Billy Bookcase Ideas

If you’ve been browsing blogland long, you have probably run across this idea already.  There are some wonderful projects out there of built in Billy bookcase ideas, taking Billy bookcases from Ikea and creating a built-in bookcase look, using moldings and trims.  I’ve seen so many great examples and I’m about to undertake this project at my house, in the den.  I think this will be the perfect thing to add in the corner of my den for a library feel, a place to store my books and totally make it pretty with accessories too.  This is a project that my dad and I can handle and I can’t wait to get started.  We are hoping to get this done before spring draws us outside for more exterior projects.

bliss at home

Kristin, at Bliss at Home did this beautiful wall of Billy bookcases, with her hubby putting it all together.  They added lighting above for a really custom look.  Love, love this one!

built in billy bookcases home stories a to z

My friend, Beth, from Home Stories A to Z did this beautiful wall of bookcases on top of her historic brick wall in her city townhouse and I love the brick as a backdrop.


Another blog friend, Kate from Centsational Girl did this beautiful Billy bookcase wall in her guesthouse. I love how personalized they all are with different backgrounds and styling.

dining-room-bookcase-8 Mrs Hines

Sharon with Mrs. Hines Class did a double Billy bookshelf wall and custom painted it to get the color she wanted.

BillyBookcases_thumb justagirl

Another blog friend, Chris with Just A Girl, did this beautiful wall of Billy bookcases in her house and I love the background color and styling.  I’m still pondering over what color to use behind mine.


Jenny with Little Green Notebook added built-in Billys on either side of her living room and used glossy black trim to trim it out.  Adds a modern feel to it.


This blog couple from Newlywed McGees also did built in Billys, but more of a free standing look. Adding the crown molding and additional molding makes a world of difference in these plain white bookcases.

Bookcase9_thumb2 songbird

Songbird did a couple of built-in Billys in her guestroom, using the top extenders and crown molding to the ceiling.


And don’t forget the house that Layla and Kevin made over a couple years ago, with Billy bookcases on either side of French doors. That made such a huge difference in that room!


So, here’s the plan in my den.  I’ve got the perfect spot for some built-in Billys and we are going to start that project soon.  I’ll give you an update in the den, although it really hasn’t changed any lately, except my messy corner continues to get messier.  I do plan to recover the striped fabric on this Lazboy recliner that I’ve had for a few years. I’d like to lighten it up to something not quite so bold, so I’m working on that too. Another project that I’ll be sharing down the line.

lazboy sofa

My new Lazboy sofa is finally in place, arrived in January and what a beauty it is. This is the Poet sofa and I know I’m really going to enjoy it. The fabric is nice and neutral and it has a subtle herringbone pattern on it.

den seating

Den seating area.  This room really is huge and I’m trying to make it as cozy as possible and adding the built-ins to the space will be nice and functional too. This is a great place to watch TV and we do that often.

corner for bookcases

Here’s my problem corner.  I have never gotten all the junk cleaned out from here since I moved in, so it continues to pile up and be cluttered. Once I get the built-ins in place, I can start to sort through all of this and find a place for it.  Some of it is tools that need to go in the garage and the garage is another spot I want to work on, getting it prettier and organized. One day!

built in bookcase spot in den

You can see from this view that this will be the perfect spot for some built-ins, so I’ll be heading to Ikea soon and picking up what I need for this project and dad and I will get to working on it.  I can’t wait to mark this one off my list too.

Do you have a spot for Billy built-ins?  I just love all of the above projects using the Billys from Ikea and how great they all look. It’s a really cost effective way to get a more custom look to off the shelf bookcases from Ikea.

The giveaway winners for NatureBox snacks have been posted and emailed!

- Rhoda


  1. LOVED seeing all the fun bookcases! And everyone’s personal touch on each one. So hard to pick a favorite for sure! Got some great ideas though! I do love the one with the brick behind it but not sure I could’ve covered all that gorgeous brick up!! LOL Love your blog…..subscribing!

  2. That area is pretty deep, have you considered making it into a closet?

    • I also thought about more of a storage space with three walls of storage. What’s funny is that the first ad after the post was for those sliding doors. I know that you would want a door for the opening, but have you considered a sliding door system? Another option is to make it a safe room since I think to remember that this room is partially underground?? But, I am in a tornado-prone area, and everyone is talking about storm shelters since the season is coming up.

      I think I would like the bookcases in the corner by the window, fill them with my books and then have a comfortable chair, good reading light and it’s my reading nook.

    • You know, that is a good idea, too. I can picture a sliding door there, the type that hangs from barn door hardware. And who has enough closets? 🙂

  3. I don’t have Billy bookcases, but I do have a built in bookcase in my reading room of my home. I recently updated it with wood shims. I’ve seen others do it and thought I’d give it a try!
    A great makeover for less than $10!
    You can see my post @

    Thanks for your post, inspiring!

  4. Looking forward to seeing what you do with that corner…perfect spot for bookcase. I love the posts where you collaborate with your Dad on a project.

  5. Oh Rho,

    Did you forget my Billy bookcases? I don’t have a blog, but they look amazing!

  6. I stacked a couple of Billy bookcases on top of 24″ deep Ikea fridge cabinets (outfitted with drawers instead of doors) for my girls’ bedroom. The deep cabinet leaves enough room for them to sit. This picture is not styled at all, but here’s how it turned out:

  7. My daughter must have been browsing the Internet for ideas like this, too. She has an old house with a long, skinny den behind the living room. The den was functioning as a cluttered hallway only. So, she knocked out a couple of spaces in the separating wall, made one space into an entry and added room dividers from Ikea in the other, finishing them out to make them built-in. She’s used books, plants, pottery, etc. on the shelves. Light streams through. Now both the living room and that skinny den are 100 times better in function and appearance.

  8. Marianne in Mo. says

    I’m loving the inspiration photos! Wonder if anyone thought to beef up the front edges of the shelves with some trim molding? It would also strengthen the shelf, as well as making it look more “beefy”.
    I forgot to acknowledge little Parker yesterday! Welcome to the world! I know that tiny one will be so loved and treasured! Congratulations to the entire family!

  9. Wow, Rhoda! I have been considering a similar project! Looking forward to following the progress of yours. Oh, and I am secretly delighted to see your corner mess that has been there since moving in! Lol! Mine is in the back room!


  10. I love seeing your mess too, Rhoda, you keep it real! Look forward to seeing you and your dad in action again!!! I also loved all of the photos you showed using Billy bookcases. I loved the next one more than the previous one—all such great ideas. I’m trying to make a file with all of the wonderful ideas in blog-land for our retirement home in Florida. We probably won’t move for another 18 months or so. As it will be a retirement home, it will certainly need to be done on a budget and limited space.

  11. I DO have the perfect spot for these bookcases! They are next on my to-do list or rather my hubby’s to-do list! Can’t wait to see yours and mine installed! Good luck! Please post and let us know if they are difficult!

  12. The IKEA bookcases are a great way to add that vertical storage. I put a set of them in my Sun Room over the holidays in a corner. Know that I’ll love them once I get the time to get everything loaded onto them. Sun Room is right around the corner from my too small Kitchen so I’m extending Kitchen storage in the bookcases – one long shelf for cook books, storage for magazines, some other assorted items from the Kitchen, etc. Using those is freeing up 4′ of counter space in the Kitchen which is a lot in my tiny space. Used the extenders in there to get them almost to the ceiling and will be using more of them to store all of my books in my Home Office later this year.

  13. Rhonda,
    This is my wood shim bookcase that you could easily do on the Billy bookcase! Really inexpensive and easy!

    Thanks for your inspiration

  14. All of these makeovers served as my inspiration, too, Rhoda. After having color consultation with Sherwin Williams, I’m considering painting the backs of mine.

    I’m loving the storage and am still working on turning the dining room into a study while still having it function as a dining room when I need it. The bookcases do a lot in providing that study look.

    I can’t wait to see what you and your Dad do! And thanks so much for sharing my bookcases!

  15. Cannot wait to see your result and am hoping for a good tutorial! We have a little alcove in our master bedroom designed to be a little sitting area. We have a couple of comfy chairs with a table between them, but the wall on each side is blank and is just begging for built-in bookshelves. We have talked about this idea for a few years but I think the hub is afraid of how to add the trim & crown molding to make them look built in. Maybe your project will be his inspiration!

  16. Hi Rhoda! Thanks for sharing our BILLY hack! I love the examples you shared. I am excited to see what you do with yours. I love your new sofa too 🙂 Have a great day! xo Kristin

  17. Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says

    Hey Rhoda – another great idea for Billys is pantry shelving. We turned our formal dining room into two rooms – a pantry and a craft room with Billys. The pantry can store a lot of things besides food (coffee maker, casserole dishes, paper products) and the craft room Billys hold books (A LOT of books) and various craft supplies. The Billys worked perfectly in both situations. Billys come in two depths – you’d think the narrower ones would be too narrow, but they’re perfect for a pantry. Plenty of room to store things, but not as deep as traditional pantry shelves. Sometimes the traditional ones can cause things to disappear into the darkness, never to be seen again. Billy shelves are sturdy enough for lots of cans and, of course, adjustable enough to create exactly the height you need for each shelf. We love ’em! Happy building…

  18. Rhoda, I love this. So many possibilities for you. I look forward to seeing your changes. I invite you to share at my hop today Hugs!

  19. ~Rhoda~
    Thanks for sharing this for I never heard of these bookcases, but a light bulb went on in my head !!
    Wish IKEA was closer and all the other neat stores you have 🙂

    Have a sunny day

  20. What fabulous examples Rhoda. Unfortunately we don’t have IKEA in NZ which is a real nuisance, we have a place called Freedom which is really trying to be a bit IKEA like. I have just bought a small bookshelf for my study that has a coastal look about it, I am now wondering if I should paint the inside of it the same colour as the walls which will be white with a hint of blue (struggling over finding the exact tone at the moment).

    We have a large built shelving in our living room which has nothing going for it, I now have some great ideas to add some charm from looking at your pictures. Crown molding certainly gives it a more expensive built in look.

    Thank you for sharing these great images.


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