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Intro by Robin
Steps by Ed
A small basement bedroom is tricky. When that bedroom is in an equally small basement that needs to function for a lot of things – it requires some creativity and mad DIY skillz.
Enter our Basement Guest Room-Library with wall to wall bookshelves. I’ve dreamed of having built-in bookcases my whole life! (Is that a normal dream?)
Now, of course, if we didn’t want to make our guest room beautiful as well as functional, we could have just pushed some premade bookshelves up against the wall and called it a day.
But, as you may know, that just isn’t our style. We demand function AND beauty. PLUS we love the challenge of creating rooms on a budget. That’s what all our DIYs are about. (Have you seen the closet we turned into a basement bathroom? We’re still gaga for it.)
This basement guest room needs to work really hard for us:
- It must make our guests feel comfortable and loved.
- It needs to hold the bulk of our book collection (our house isn’t huge and we LOVE books)
- It also must have hidden storage for less than beautiful things (I’m thinking bedding, gift wrap storage and files.)
- And it needs to look great. (And it does! Despite what my beginner photography skills show…sigh.)
And yet another problem to solve…
This IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-in is a problem solver.
Like most basements, ours has small windows. The one in the guest room is weird and it isn’t centred. This made me bonkers! (Though we figured out a clever way to make it look bigger!)
The only comfortable spot for the bed was under this window. With the window off to one side – the bed wasn’t centred. (It made me twitchy just looking at it.)
That’s one of the reasons this bookcase built-in was so perfect down here. By building it along the left wall it took up enough of the visual space to make the weird window look a bit more centred. Win!
Another reason this built-in bookcase was a win is the character and personality that it adds.
You know from the other built-ins we’ve made that we are Co-Presidents of the Built-ins Fan Club. Seriously, built-ins are amazing small space solutions – and they aren’t as hard to build as you may fear.
The bookcases are already pretty affordable, especially in white. The Oxberg doors were more costly – a pair of the door’s cost as much as the whole bookshelf! But I knew that we needed the doors for the hidden storage they’d give us.
So I added it all to my cart and paid to have them shipped.
That was a tough extra cost to pay – but these Billy bookcases are dang heavy! And we didn’t think we could fit 3 Billy’s plus 6 doors in our Rav4. There are times that delivery is worth splurging for.
Without further ado, here’s how to make a wall-to-wall bookcase with our IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-in tutorial. (And we added bookcase lighting to them too, so pretty!)
How to Make a DIY Wall-to-Wall IKEA Built in Bookcase (A Billy Bookcase Hack!)
What you need:
- As many flat-pack bookcases as will fill your wall.
- Bookcase doors – we used Oxbergs
- sandpaper and sander (we use this random orbital one)
- paint – We found Behr’s “White” in eggshell matched the IKEA finish really well.
- MDF trim, casing and crown moulding, as needed
This is totally optional – gilding the lily really – but we love the look. You can find how we did this interesting step in the tutorial here.
Optional: How to Add Bookcase Lighting to Any Bookshelf (without hiring an electrician)
If video tutorials are more your style – just press play here:
How to make a Billy Bookcase Built-in:
Step 1: Assemble the BILLY bookcases.
If you want to add the character of the faux brick, this is the post to help you to do that. Here’s the tutorial. Otherwise, use the existing backs that come with the bookcases.
- So, you may wonder, why the heck did we install these upside-down?!?
- A fair question. This room is not tall – about 6.5 ft. But we knew we wanted to add library lights to the top of each shelf.
- By installing them upside down we had room for lights and crown moulding!
- The uniform nature of the BILLY meant that we could do this – have the doors still fit on the bottom half.
Step 2: Decide on the spacing
Step 3: Clamp and Commit
Step 4: Screw the bookcases to each other
Step 5 – Fill in next to the walls
Step 6: Crown Mould and remaining finish trim
Step 7: Fill and Sand, Caulk and Paint
And then you’re done!
We are bookworms, so filling these shelves with books was easy. And we all love the look of a well-loved library.
You might have noticed that we didn’t put any hardware on the doors – that’s intentional – though we may change our minds when the final room comes together. We left it without pulls because the room is tight and we wanted to keep the area beside the bed as open as possible. This way our guests aren’t snagging their jammies on any knobs when walking by the shelves to climb into bed.
Other projects in our Basement Guest Room-Library:
- How to Add Bookcase Lighting
- Antique Treadle Sewing Machine Tables
- How we made our small, high basement window look bigger and fabulous
- Our Faux Bricks Wall Treatment
- Natural Wood Panelled-look Plywood Ceiling
- Green Vertical Shiplap Panelled Wall treatment – which cost us almost nothing