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 holesWe 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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70 Comments on IKEA BILLY Bookcase Library Wall >>> Getting That Built-in Feeling

  1. cuckoo4design
    June 13, 2013 at 7:08 am (1 year ago)

    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?

      June 13, 2013 at 7:25 am (1 year ago)

      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. jlhoneyman
    June 13, 2013 at 8:29 am (1 year ago)

    I love what a bit of trim adds to ANYTHING. Totally takes you from pre-fab to custom!

      June 13, 2013 at 8:49 am (1 year ago)

      Agreed! I love trim and moldings. It just makes something looked finished ;) xo K

  3. Steph
    June 13, 2013 at 9:53 am (1 year ago)

    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!

      June 14, 2013 at 8:38 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much Steph :) We are so happy with how it turned out. xo Kristin

  4. Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    June 13, 2013 at 10:37 am (1 year ago)

    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 :P

      June 14, 2013 at 8:41 am (1 year ago)

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

  5. Sarah {Lacquer & Linen}
    June 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm (1 year ago)

    The finish work really made your library shine!! I didn’t even think about the shelf holes!

      June 14, 2013 at 8:42 am (1 year ago)

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

  6. cassie
    June 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm (1 year ago)

    still in awe!!! come on over and build them in my house next! ;)

      June 14, 2013 at 8:42 am (1 year ago)

      Awhh, shucks! Thanks girl! Enjoy your fun weekend! xo Kristin

  7. now at home mom
    June 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm (1 year ago)

    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! :-)

      June 14, 2013 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

      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

  8. Mel
    June 14, 2013 at 5:56 am (1 year ago)

    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?

      June 14, 2013 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

      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

      • Mel
        June 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm (1 year ago)

        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.

        June 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm (1 year ago)

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

  9. Marilee
    June 28, 2013 at 7:43 am (1 year ago)

    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”?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:50 am (1 year ago)

      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

      • Laura @ Lulu Belle Design
        July 19, 2013 at 9:35 am (1 year ago)

        how are you able to use the remote for the lights? the serge protector is behind that pop out panel right? Does the remote still work with the panel on?
        just found your blog! love it!

        July 19, 2013 at 9:54 am (1 year ago)

        Hi Laura :) It is wireless, so it works even if the surge protector is behind something. It is a signal and does not have to be in direct line with the remote. It is the type of surge protector we purchased. Here are the details on the surge protector if you are curious: http://bliss-athome.com/2013/06/12/ikea-billy-bookcase-library-wall-lights-on-remote/ I’m so glad you are enjoying our blog :) Nice to “meet” you! xo Kristin

  10. Sara
    August 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm (1 year ago)

    Love, love, love it!!!! So inspiring!!!

      August 4, 2013 at 6:58 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much Sara :) xo Kristin

  11. Emily Gish
    September 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm (1 year ago)

    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!

      September 25, 2013 at 7:33 am (1 year ago)

      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

      • Emily M. Gish (@emilymgish)
        September 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm (1 year ago)

        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!

        September 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm (1 year ago)

        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

  12. Susan
    October 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm (1 year ago)

    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!

  13. louise
    October 27, 2013 at 1:45 am (1 year ago)

    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

  14. Old Patriot
    November 10, 2013 at 7:54 am (1 year ago)

    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

      November 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm (1 year ago)

      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

  15. Amber
    December 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm (12 months ago)

    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?

      January 11, 2014 at 8:10 am (11 months ago)

      Hi Amber, we did not paint the bookcases just the wood pieces we added to them. xo K

      • Jason
        November 21, 2014 at 7:53 am (5 days ago)

        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?

        November 21, 2014 at 7:59 am (5 days ago)

        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.

  16. melanie dupuis
    January 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm (11 months ago)

    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?

  17. Jennifer
    January 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm (11 months ago)

    Love this. How much space did you leave between the shelves to add the trim?

      January 11, 2014 at 8:18 am (11 months ago)

      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

  18. rk
    January 19, 2014 at 6:09 am (10 months ago)

    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

    • Rk
      January 19, 2014 at 6:10 am (10 months ago)

      Bulky = billy please edit

      January 19, 2014 at 8:15 am (10 months ago)

      Thanks so much Rashika :) Have a great weekend! xo Kristin

  19. Mel Foster
    February 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm (9 months ago)

    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!

      February 25, 2014 at 7:14 am (9 months ago)

      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

  20. Anna
    April 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm (7 months ago)

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

  21. Sally
    July 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi, I’m just wondering if you were still able to adjust shelf height after you had finished?

      July 2, 2014 at 8:47 am (5 months ago)

      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

  22. Mike
    July 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm (5 months ago)

    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!

  23. Mary
    July 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm (4 months ago)

    Thanks for the information. Just love how u decorate……

      July 18, 2014 at 7:51 am (4 months ago)

      Thanks so much Mary :) You are so kind to say so! xo Kristin

  24. Ravi
    July 30, 2014 at 1:29 pm (4 months ago)

    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?

      July 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm (4 months ago)

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

  25. Jasmine Patrick
    August 16, 2014 at 4:21 am (3 months ago)

    Love these bookcases, you did a great job!!!

  26. chelsea
    August 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm (3 months ago)

    Where did you find the picture lights?

  27. Molly
    August 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm (3 months ago)

    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

      August 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm (3 months ago)

      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 :)

  28. Ben
    October 16, 2014 at 11:55 am (1 month ago)

    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!

      October 18, 2014 at 9:25 am (1 month ago)

      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

  29. kelly byers
    October 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm (1 month ago)

    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!

      October 23, 2014 at 10:28 am (1 month ago)

      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

  30. lea
    November 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm (2 weeks ago)

    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?

  31. Jason
    November 18, 2014 at 7:46 am (1 week ago)


    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!


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