Thursday, October 18, 2012

Built in Bookshelves: Ikea Hack

Remember this post where I shared my love for built in bookcases?  

We have been thinking about installing some in either our living room or the seating area of our kitchen, but we weren't sure if paying a carpenter for a professional, finished look was going to make the budget.

Inspired by other great posts on turning Ikea's "Billy" bookshelves into built ins (here, here and here), we decided to give it a try on our own.  The concept here is to use the pre-constructed bookshelves as the bones for your library wall, adding the custom element of trim to finish off the look.  Our goal is to end up with an entire wall of bookshelves that look integrated into the trim of the rest of the room.  

The tricky part for us is that it's not just a blank wall... we'll be working around a doorway as well as adding the complexity of creating a space for the TV.  We wouldn't want to make it too easy on ourselves, right?  ;)

Here's the huge load of boxes we brought home from our Ikea trip. First step: assemble, assemble, assemble.  

Once our shelves were finally all put together, we used a crowbar to remove the base molding where the shelves would be installed.  We will use this same piece of base trim on the bottom of the bookcases later to incorporate them into the rest of the room.

If you are installing Billy shelves into a room with 4 inch base molding, you can simply secure your bookcases and reattach the trim to the bottom.  Since our base molding runs higher up at 6 inches, we needed to raise our bookcases to prevent funny looking sunken shelves below the level of the molding.  To solve this problem, we screwed a pair of 2x4s into the floor to act as a base for the shelves, raising them up so the finished product would look more natural.

Next we spaced them evenly according to the width of the pine boards I bought for the trim between the bookcases.  Then we secured the shelves to the wall using L brackets and wall anchors as well as screwing them into the 2x4s at the base.

I measured and cut 4 inch boards to cover the spaces between the shelves and used a 6 inch wide board to connect the last shelf with the perpendicular wall.  Then we nailed 1 1/2 inch molding on top for a bit of added interest.  

With a project that requires this much nailing, I can't tell you how glad we are to have our new pneumatic finishing nail gun!  Home Depot ran a special a while back, and I'm thrilled we bought it, since this project would have taken *much* longer without it.  And it's so fun to use!

I know this is a bit of a teaser post, but I promise I'll be posting some after photos early next week!  



1 comment:

  1. Amazing!
    Are you planning on painting the shelves the same color as the wall afterwards?


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