Ikea Hack: Built-in Bookshelves With Windowseat for Under $350


built in bookshelves for under $350

When we finished our basement a couple of years ago, we made one room an office and lined the walls with IKEA BILLY bookshelves.  This summer, when we decided we never really used the office and the space would be better as an art studio, we needed to do something with the books and some of the bookshelves to make room for the large craft tables we now wanted for the space.

A friend mentioned an IKEA Hack.  I looked it up on-line and became inspired. Not only would we be able to use the bookshelves we already owned, but we could add some character to our living room.


Our wall was 158" with a window slightly off-center, so a row of bookshelves would not work.  I have always loved and wanted a windowseat, we looked around and decided the BENNO TV Bench was a good height for that, the pull-out drawers would be great for blankets or games and we could get nice baskets for the shelves.  The BENNO shelf was 47' 1/4" wide, so that left 110 3/4". The next challenge was that the regular shelves were 31" wide and the narrow shelves are 15" wide, we didn't have enough room for two regular size shelves on each side and a regular size shelf and a narrow shelf on each side was not wide enough.  We ended up deciding to use the two regular size BILLY bookcases we had and buy two more regular size BILLY bookcases and cut the top, bottom and all the shelves to the size we needed.  


Once the planning was done, the girls and I went to work on pulling off the old trim so the shelves would sit flush against the wall.

I taught the girls how to pull off the trim.

built in bookshelves removing trim

Jason helped us cut the molding on the sidewalls so the bookshelves could fit flush against the walls on the side.

built in bookshelves prep


When we put the bookshelves together, we decided that we would rather have the wall exposed in the back than put the {cheap} cardboard Ikea gives you on the back.  But then we were left with an unsightly track for the cardboard.  I tried caulk, but it didn't work right and neither did wood filler.  Joint compound (spackle) seemed to work best.

prepping side wall

Jason found the studs on the sidewalls before we placed the shelves in place, then he was able to measure how many inches from the back wall the stud was and screw the bookcases in every few feet.  The side of the outer bookcase that abuts the second bookcase on each side are also affixed to each other.  Then, Jason screwed ferring strips into the stud on top of the bookcase and screwed that strip into the top of each bookcase, so they are securely in place.


It took me weeks to pick out trim.  I love trim and all of the choices were overwhelming.  I had really wanted to get already primed trim, but I chose this trim because it was classic and had enough detail without being too ornate.


I brought a shelf to Lowe's and they color-matched.  I bought a quart of paint and painted the molding and the joint compound I had used to fill up the backing board track.


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