IKEA BILLY Bookcase Library Wall >>> Getting That Built-in Feeling

IKEA BILLY bookcase library wall

You wouldn’t pimp your car and not add custom trim. I drive a mommy bus, I mean a Chevy Traverse, but that’s neither here nor there. Think of this as the custom rims on your pimped out car.

Welcome to Day 4 of our IKEA BILLY bookcase library wall reveal. Here’s how we took 4 IKEA BILLY bookcases and turned them into a library wall. If you want some free entertainment you can see our trip to IKEA Mission Impossible style.

BILLY bookcase

First things first. We removed the old baseboard from the wall. Slowly but surely, I am de-oaking this house of its prior 1994 charm.

Removing baseboard

You see we had a little helper there. He’s really happy about it! I love that our kids embrace our projects. I don’t think they know any different!

Next, we assembled the 4 bookcases and spaced them evenly along the wall.

BILLY assembled

Then, we cut out the place where our outlets are so we have access to them.  After that,  we anchored the bookcases to the wall. Dave went all Tool-Time Tim and had to go get other anchors because he didn’t approve of the ones that came with the bookcases. ARRR-RAGHH!


Now it was time to build a frame to attach our header board. We used 2×4’s left over from another project and anchored a frame above the bookcases. The front of the header board we wanted to go over the bookcases a little so we made adjustments for that.

Frame for header

We also placed our speakers and ran the speaker wires before we continued.

Running Speakers

We selected white birch to build our header board. We chose this because of its ultra smooth finish and it didn’t show much grain so it was ideal for painting.  One 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4inch white birch was enough for the header and the panels to cover in-between the bookcases. Since really big cuts were involved, we took our measurements and had the super helpful people at Lowes make our cuts for us. This is a great alternative if you don’t have a table saw.

Frame for header

Once the header board was installed, we filled all the screw holes and seams with wood patch. From there it was pretty simple. We added our panel pieces to cover the spaces between the bookcases. We added trim to the top and bottom of the header board and baseboard along the bottom of the bookcases. Then we gave everything 3 coats of semi-gloss white paint.

Fill shelve holes We also took the time to fill all the shelve holes we weren’t using. We used DAP Fast’N Final Lightweight Spackling for that. It has a whip cream consistency and is really easy to work with. Also, if we ever want to change the shelves around this is easy to pop out.

DAP Fast' N Final Lightweight Spackling


A couple of days later we received our brass picture lights in the mail and were able to install them.


And that’s it. That’s our little story on how our library came to be.

B & A Library Wall


After LIbrary Wall

If you don’t want to miss a thing you can check out these posts to see the details on other aspects of this project:

The big reveal Before & After pictures:


How we installed hidden speakers and the sound system: 


How we installed the brass picture lights and put them on a remote control: 


Tomorrow I am going to show the shelves up close and personal and share some bookcase styling tips and Saturday we will give a complete source list with prices.



xoxo Kristin


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  1. cuckoo4design says

    Good idea to patch all the bookshelf holes.
    I totally forgot to ask you what you are doing with your desk now that you have that amazing library?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Originally, I was going to place it in front of the bookcases which when I measured seemed to fit just fine. I didn’t take into account the height of the desk and it just didn’t fit. I moved it into the entry way and am working there which worked out. I actually like it better there. I am going to do a home update soon because I have all these little changes going on. xo K

  2. says

    I still can’t get over how awesome this looks! It’s definitely inspiring me to try something like this some day when we get a house. Can’t wait to see your styling tips!

  3. says

    Love the tutorial! I always wondered if people removed the baseboards…Haha, this is hilarious. We have birch billy bookcases from Ikea in our son’s room and my husband was very particular (I’d even say picky) about what kind of anchors we used and he used the same ones as your husband 😛

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Too funny! I totally would have just used the ones that came with the bookcases. Thanks, Jennifer 🙂 xo Kristin

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Thanks Sarah 🙂 Enjoy celebrating your hubby’s first Father’s Day this weekend! xo Kristin

  4. says

    you guys did a great job! it’s great that you removed the baseboard (makes sense, I never thought of doing that)!!! It’s a lot of work that went into this Kristin, thanks for letting us know these small details that we don’t think about when we look at these beautiful projects! 🙂

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      You bet. I just love that anyone can do this. You don’t need big tools and it is completely customizable to your space 🙂 xo K

  5. says

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    I have a wall that this would be perfect on. When you say you painted, did you also paint the bookshelves, or just the trim?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Mel 🙂 Thanks so much. We just painted all the trim. The paint we selected complimented them and I felt no need to paint it all. xo Kristin

      • says

        Thanks for that info, Kristin.
        I hope you will share the colour you used when you reveal your sources.
        I’ve been thinking about this all day 🙂 I know, I need to get a life Ha ha.

      • BLISS AT HOME says

        No problem Mel 😉 The source list & project cost summary on up on the blog. xo Kristin

  6. Marilee says

    Love the bookcases, but don’t see anywhere details on how you made the hidden area for the cords, etc. How does it “pop off”?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Under the light post and the hidden speaker post it shows how we made the hidden area. I can’t remember if I put the pop off panel there too, but we just used 3 spring roller catches. You can get them at any hardware store. Sorry if I forgot to include that part. xo Kristin

  7. says

    I found you on Pinterest and I’m loving your blog! I’ve pinned probably 10 of your images! I’m going to be setting up some bookcases in my home and definitely found some inspiration here. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more in the future!

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Thanks so much Emily 🙂 Nice to “meet” you! So glad you found some inspiration here. So exciting you are adding some bookcases into your home. Good luck with your project! xo Kristin

      • says

        Kristin, I have a question for you…where did you purchase your black and white pillow from? I’ve seen it in several of your pictures and I’ve noticed it in other blogs as well. It’s so striking I’m curious to where you got it. Thanks!

      • BLISS AT HOME says

        Emily, it is that wonderful IKEA woven LAPPLJUNG RUTA cushion cover and it is only $10. It is a great buy and extra heavy and woven well. xo Kristin

  8. Susan says

    Hi. What did you use to bridge the gaps between the cases? And how was that bridge plank attached? Thank you very much in advance, love the blog!

  9. louise says

    How did you attach the vertical bridges between the cases? I want to do the same but need to be able to dismount it at a later stage so gluing not an option for me? thanks

  10. says

    The finished job looks great! Question on the stability of the IKEA shelves, do they bow at all from the weight, and could you fill the whole shelve with books? Thanks

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi, great question. This is my first experience with IKEA shelving and we haven’t had any issues with the shelves. We have quite a few of them full of just books and they are holding up just fine. xo Kristin

  11. Amber says

    These look great!! How did the paint take on the bookshelves themselves? We are about to paint some of these & I’m concerned about the laminate not holding the paint well. Did you guys do any sanding or prep work? Or did you use special paint?

      • Jason says

        I am confused. If you did not paint the book cases then how did you hide the spackle? Surely the spackle did not exactly match the white on the book case? Plus you would have had to sand the spackle, meaning the texture would look different than the shelving until it was painted. What am I not understanding?

      • BLISS AT HOME says

        The type of spackle we used is very light, I did this so that if I want to change the heights of the shelves in the future it would be easy to move them. You only notice the color difference up very close since the holes are so small. If you want a more permanent solution use a thicker spackle, sand, and paint match the bookcases.

  12. melanie dupuis says

    Hello! I really loved your design with the bookcases. Such a brilliant transformation. I also wondered how you fastened the centre pieces to the bookcase?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Jennifer. We customized it to our wall space. So, you could space them to your liking or to fit your wall. We spaced ours 13 inches apart. The boards that cover the top are 17 inches wide to account for the 2-inch sides of the shelves. xo Kristin

  13. rk says

    Sooo jealous love it!! Such a smart way to use the bulky bookcase ! You should be an interior designer!! I’m copying this thanks heaps for sharing

  14. Mel Foster says

    Hey there Kristin!
    So happy to have found your blog. Beautiful home.
    Wondering about the sides of this. Did you wrap your header board around the top sides as well? Thanks!

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Thanks so much Melody. We did. Before we added the trim work we put the sides in and made them flush with the sides of the bookcase then added the trim. Hope that helps 🙂 xo Kristin

  15. Anna says

    Beautiful job! I’m kind of curious about those throw pillows. I’ve been looking for them everywhere! Are they from Ikea too?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Sally 🙂 Yes, the filler we used you can remove. It is a light weight spackle. I haven’t moved ours though, because I like the placement. xo Kristin

  16. Mike says

    Hello, can you tell me how wide the gap is between each bookcase and the width and height of the trim piece for those sections? Thank you for this great idea!

  17. Ravi says

    Thanks for the information. I decided to go with the Best A cabinets and do the same thing. These cabinets are about 15″ deep. Would you happen to know where I can find those baskets in bottom rock in your picture that is 14″ deep?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Ravi, Pier1 carries some that work and also Pottery Barn, but theirs aren’t as tall. Hope that helps 🙂 xo Kristin

  18. Molly says

    Hello I was wondering if you painted the entire library including the Billy shelves and also how you attached the center panels? Thanks It is such a gorgeous piece

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Thanks so much Molly. We just painted the boards and trim we added in. We had the paint matched to the billy white and it looks pretty darn close 🙂

  19. Ben says

    Love this idea. We are currently doing this in our house, but I am curious as to how you attached all the wood. Did you use screws or a nail gun, and if screws, do you recall what size? I don’t want to split the wood on the book shelves! Thanks!

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Ben, All wood cuts are attached to the frame that we built above the bookcases. On the frame we used 2 1/2 inch screws. The wood between the bookcases we used a nail gun on. We used wood screws (Blue Hawk screws 1 1/4) for the pieces attached directly to the frame. All finishing work (crown, baseboard) we used the nail gun. First we anchored the bookcases to the wall. Then we built the frame above to attach the wood to. Then we attached our cuts of wood on top and betweent the bookcases. Then we added the trim pieces. We went off the dimensions of the wood frame and the thickness of the wood we selected to use. Hope that helps! Happy building! Kristin

  20. kelly byers says

    Great project! We’d been calling contractors for months trying to get someone to come over with no luck. One of my friend’s son is a contractor and I was asking her for his number when she ripped out your picture from Better Homes and Gardens and said, “this seems way cheaper.” 🙂 We’re finally getting around to it this weekend. I’m wondering if you’re happy with using the backing that came with the shelves? In previous IKEA shelving I’ve used and in your pictures, it looks like you can see the lines of where it was folded… It sure beats the heck out of painting a wall but just curious about what you think. Thanks!

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      thanks so much Kelly! Yes, the backs of the shelves are not the best, but in person you don’t notice it much. We will eventually put in new ones, but for now they suit. xoxo

  21. lea says

    We bought these exact bookcases to do this but are stuck because we don’t understand what u do to fill the gap created at the very top and bottom. That header on the bookcase doesn’t come out as far as the sides, the same with the bottom piece. When you put your header and base on do u see that 1/4″ gap when look at the bottom shelf?

  22. Jason says


    We love this project and are following along, having just installed the header over the weekend. We’re about to start patching the holes and painting, but wondering how you prepped the laminate shelving surface since we presume you didn’t just paint it without some sort of prep work?

    Thank you!

  23. melissa says

    Can you explain how you attached the vertical pieces of wood to the actual bookcases? I understand you used double roller catches to allow the pieces to open and shut but how did you make the actual piece of wood adhere to the bookcase. Did you use hinges on one side and the roller catches on the other?

    • Jason says

      Hi Melissa,

      FWIW my wife and I have been following this project pretty much exactly as described. I purchased fairly sturdy L hinges from Lowes, and then attached one end to the bookcase and the other end to 2×4’s I anchored to the wall. Make sure you use appropriate length screws so you don’t punch a hole through the shelf enclosure. Everything is very sturdy. You’ll also want to make sure those 2×4’s are attached to wall studs. We used four shelves as shown in the picture, and you definitely do not want this thing falling over.

      Hope this helps

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Melissa,

      The pop off panel slides under the crown on the top and we used two roller ball catches on each side. No hinges…it is just a pop off incase we need to access the electrical or hide things (like Christmas presents). Hope that helps…xo Kristin

      • Melissa says

        I’m sorry it’s hard to understand when it’s being communicated via words. I am talking about the vertical pieces of wood that go in between the bookcases. What do you mean by “the pop off panel slides under the crown at the top?”” Thanks.

      • BLISS AT HOME says

        sorry, the pop off panel is one of the vertical pieces. For the other two we just used a nail gun.

  24. Abby says

    Wow, I love it! So beautiful. Question: did you also paint the actual bookshelves, or did you match paint to the bookshelves color and only paint the header/trim, etc.?

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi Abby 🙂 Thanks so much. We had the paint tinted to match and painted just the wood and trim we added in. xoxo

      • Abby says

        Gotcha! One clarification: I saw that you filled in the peg holes in the bookcases, so did you not have to then paint over the wood filler?

  25. Chelsea says

    Question — What if we have an hvac panel where head/ac come out on the floor where I’m thinking one of these shelving units could go? Is there a way to work that into the design somehow?

  26. John Yates says

    Just about to secure three of these Billy bookcases to the wall. Did you use the Ikea screws or something longer? I see that you used different mounting brackets (which I also purchased) but wasn’t sure on the best length for the screws.

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Hi John! How fun. No, we purchased knew bc we like to Tim the Toolman Taylor everything. LOL, We used an inch and a quarter screws (6 gauge) with plastic anchors and larger 2 hole L-brackets. Hope that helps. We also used 12.

    • BLISS AT HOME says

      Thanks so much. They are so popular in design but I know they are not for everyone. We just love ours and they really enhance our space 🙂 xo

  27. Karen says

    These shelves look amazing! Great job of explaining the how-to-do-it, also. I had to chuckle as I followed your pics, though. Love how you had part of them filled and styled before the construction was even finished. That’s so me!

  28. Andrew says

    Great job with the how-to, it’s one of the better Billy built in guides around! I had one quick question in regard to how the lighting was installed – it appears that you bored out a very large hole in the headboard, then fished the light through the hole, then sealed it back up? Is that accurate?

    If so, how did you seal the hole around the light itself?

  29. Karen says

    I’ve been searching for a way to “bling up” IKEA bookshelves, and I LOVE this post, because your bookshelves aren’t next to each other. We’re doing the same thing – partly because I like the look, and also partly because our space won’t allow for any other configuration. (I looked at some of the smaller IKEA shelf systems too, to try to squeeze them in, but they just don’t work.

    Anyway, my question is – how did you put on the facing for the dead spaces between the shelves? (You said it was a secret compartment.) I’ve been looking up the different names you used for the hinges, but I still don’t get it. (I’m highly visual – sorry!) Is there any way to explain that further?

    • says

      Hi Karen,

      I’m not the author of this post but follow the comment thread. We created bookshelves very similar to these based on the post’s instructions, but made a few changes. For instance I used a nailgun to fasten MDF boards between the shelves (to account for the filler). I then took one of the shelves to Sherwin Williams and had them color match. They gave me a gallon of perfectly matched white, which I used to paint the filler wood. I used nail filler to cover the nails, sanded, and painted over those too. Obviously you have to be careful using a nail gun because one wrong move could put a nail in the wrong place. It all worked great and looks awesome!


  1. […] IKEA BILLY Bookcase Library Wall >>> Getting That Built-in …. Jun 13, 2013 – Full instructions on how to make them look built-in and details on library light … Now it was time to build a frame to attach our header board. ….. Question on the stability of the IKEA shelves, do they bow at all from the weight, … […]

  2. […] Jag tror inte att det är någon av er om vid första anblick förstår att den här hyllan på bilden är IKEA:s basic variant Billy. Jag älskar ju DIYs, så ni förstår säkert att jag blir helt till mig av detta resultat. En guide över hur ni fixar den här platsbyggda känslan hittar ni hos Kristin och hennes DIY-blogg Bliss at Home (länk). […]

  3. […] IKEA Billy Bookcase Library Wall – Getting That Built-In Feeling. I’m always intrigued and fascinated by what people do with IKEA furniture – this one is no exception. I’m all about built-ins, and I definitely think this is a doable project in our unknown future home. […]

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