25 Ultra Clever IKEA Billy Bookcase Hacks

Billy bookcase with shelf paper on the inside

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

The IKEA Billy bookcase is an ultra popular piece. The bookcase has different size and color options, including white, black-brown, and birch veneer. And it's made primarily of particleboard. Overall, it's a simple and streamlined shelving unit with an affordable price tag.

However, what we love about this furniture item isn't just its storage capacity and budget-friendly price tag. We're also majorly enthusiastic about all of the DIY possibilities for you to customize Billy bookcases and make them look even better. For instance, you can paint an IKEA Billy bookcase to match the rest of your decor. Or you can make Billy bookcases look built-in and expensive by attaching multiple units and adding trim. There are hack ideas for short Billy bookcases, Billy bookcases with doors, and more.

Keep reading to check out 25 brilliant IKEA Billy bookcase hacks that will make you want to get DIYing right this second.

  • 01 of 25

    Lovely Library

    billy hack

    Kaari Sommer

    Love the look of built-ins but don't want to shell out major cash for a custom setup? Try a Billy bookcase hack for a built-in like this one. The shelves were installed to appear original to this living space using a wooden platform, some wood trim, and doors added to the bottom half of the structure. Sconces hung above the shelves add that final luxe, library-like touch.

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  • 02 of 25

    Sophisticated Storage

    billy hack

    A Beautiful Mess

    This Billy bookcase hack also used multiple shelves installed to appear like built-ins. They were painted to match the wall color to make them look extra custom. And they were jazzed up with a clever touch: storage bins in a corresponding color. Bins like these make it easy to stash away kids' toys, craft supplies, workout gear, and anything else that needs a home. And the top shelves still allow plenty of space for books and other display items.

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  • 03 of 25

    Custom Chic

    billy hack

    Dana VanTongeren

    Once again, an empty wall got a major makeover in the form of a Billy bookcase built-in hack. The design uses a bottom trim piece of wood that matches the moldings used throughout the rest of the house for an ultra custom look. And the bookcases match the wall color to make them look seamless in the space.

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  • 04 of 25

    Elite Entertainment Center

    billy hacks

    Sara Ann Sutton

    These Billy bookshelves were transformed into an expansive entertainment center full of storage. The closed cabinets help to keep cords and wires concealed. And the open shelves provide plenty of space for media storage and knickknacks. While they don't span the entire wall, the bookcases still look like they were custom-made for the space thanks to the way they perfectly frame the television.

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  • 05 of 25

    Trendy Texture

    billy hacks

    Blushing Bungalow / Madison Bess

    Cane and rattan are a popular way to add texture to a space. And they're perfect for a Billy bookcase hack to give the flat shelving units some dimension. This Billy bookcase got a stylish upgrade in the form of woven cane doors and sleek dark green paint. While the finished product looks quite expensive, the materials are relatively cheap.

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  • 06 of 25

    Fluted Fun

    billy hacks

    Alice & Lois

    This Billy bookcase got a trendy makeover in the form of fluted cabinet doors. The doors are actually jazzed up with chair rail molding, of which there are many options to choose from to suit your style. The molding is glued to doors from IKEA's OXBERG line, and it's also been attached to the bookcase back for a cohesive look.

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  • 07 of 25

    Statement Maker

    billy bookcase flanking fireplace

    Life After Coffee / Jessica Bowen

    If you're not sure what to place beside your fireplace mantel, built-ins (or a Billy bookcase built-in hack) might be the answer. Once again, the Billy bookcase—well, actually two of them—was made to look custom with some trim. The DIYer also chose to caulk the shelves to the wall to minimize the appearance of any gaps.

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  • 08 of 25

    Bigger and Better

    billy hacks

    Chi Townhouse / Erica Graham

    This is one of the larger walls of Billy bookcase built-ins that we've seen, and it looks beautiful. A custom bookcase like this could run thousands of dollars if you were starting from scratch versus the prefabricated Billy bookcases. The lower cabinets got doors with pulls that match the style of the space. And the DIYer chose to paint the walls to match the bookshelf color for a more seamless appearance.

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  • 09 of 25

    Sweet Solution

    billy hacks

    Shabbyfufu / Janet Coon

    Even a freestanding Billy bookcase can be customized to look a little more luxe. Here, crown molding is attached to the top of a unit to make it appear a bit fancier and more complete. The great part about this Billy bookcase hack is it's very inexpensive, and you have many molding options to choose from to match your style and space.

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  • 10 of 25

    Luxe Ladder

    billy bookcase with a ladder

    The Makerista / Gwen Hefner

    Turn a simple Billy bookcase into a true library with the addition of a ladder. This ladder provides function—after all, reaching those top shelves can be difficult. And it is also full of charm and bound to enamor guests both young and old. The ladder is on a sliding rail mounted above the bookcase to make it all look like it's part of one overall unit. And the unit features detailed trim for a fancy look.

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  • 11 of 25

    Secluded Study

    billy bookcase desk

    Scavenger Chic / Joan Stricker

    Your office space needs all the storage it can get, right? With this Billy bookcase hack, you'll have plenty of space for all of your precious files and supplies. Here, four bookcases are used—two back to back on either side of the desk surface. That way, you can access items on both sides of the shelving units. And you have a somewhat private space where you can focus on work.

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  • 12 of 25

    Jazzy Touch

    billy hacks

    Melanie Lissack

    These Billy bookcase built-ins were jazzed up with the addition of some decorative molding and gorgeous wallpaper, resulting in a truly high-end look. Wallpapering the back of your bookshelves is an excellent way to add more personality to a space on the cheap. Plus, it can be a fantastic alternative to paint.

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  • 13 of 25

    Party Ready

    billy hacks

    Mel Vandersluis

    Billy bookcases can look fabulous in the dining room, too. Here, a few bookcases grouped together make for ultra convenient storage for tableware, wine bottles, and other entertaining essentials. The addition of glass doors allows you to display your fancy dining items. If you don't need all the storage space that the tall bookcases provide, you can opt for the short variety and use the top as a bar or buffet.

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  • 14 of 25

    Restful Reading Nook

    billy hacks

    Samantha Raising Wildflowers / Samantha Hicks

    If you have a window seat, you're already halfway there to creating a cozy reading nook with Billy bookcases. (And if you don't have one, you can find a simple bench for this design.) This Billy bookcase hack perfectly frames the window and window seat with tall bookcases and then adds one more to cover the rest of the wall. Trim is added to keep the molding continuous around the room.

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  • 15 of 25

    Play Station

    billy hacks

    Lamberts Lately / Leslie

    Anyone with young children knows how key it is to have proper playroom storage. This child-friendly entertainment center, composed of Billy bookcases, is colorful and charming thanks to the addition of vibrant, easy-to-reach storage baskets, which might just teach little ones to tidy up after themselves. Be sure to bolt the bookcases to the wall, so there's no chance a child could accidentally pull them over.

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  • 16 of 25

    Feeling Blue

    blue billy bookcase

    Stacie's Spaces

    While many built-in Billy bookcase hacks make use of trim to create a cohesive look with the rest of the space, paint is also a great option. This navy blue Billy makeover is a stunner and proves that there's something to be said for going bold. The end result? Storage and an accent wall.

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  • 17 of 25

    Plenty of Pizzazz

    billy hacks

    Makes, Bakes, and Decor / Lianne Hempsall

    Truly customize your Billy bookcase with a paint and wallpaper combo. The metallic silver marbled backdrop allows the bright blue to pop on these shelves. They bring just the right amount of color to an otherwise fairly neutral living space.

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  • 18 of 25

    Family-Friendly

    billy hacks

    The DIY Village / Jacque Knowlton

    Have young children or grandchildren? They'll fall head over heels for this adorable Billy bookcase-turned-dollhouse. While this IKEA hack is definitely off the beaten path, it's pretty easy to accomplish. Simply add extra wood to divide the shelves, and then define each "room" by using different wallpaper, paint, or fabric.

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  • 19 of 25

    Cool Cane

    billy bookcase with cane doors

    House of Hawkes / Kathryn Hawkes

    Here we have another impressive Billy hack featuring caning. While many retailers sell similar pieces for hundreds of dollars (if not more), this one can easily be recreated at home with some basic supplies from IKEA and the craft store. The doors are just rattan sheets framed in wood, and then the whole unit is painted so that the doors match the shelves.

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  • 20 of 25

    Light and Airy

    boho billy bookcase

    @urban.bungalow / Instagram

    This bookshelf is kept looking nice and airy due to the glassware and greenery present. Plus, instead of solid cabinet doors, it uses loosely woven baskets. It also makes use of the different sizes available of the Billy bookcase, as well as the adjustable shelves. If you need to display something tall, such as a plant, you can always remove a shelf completely.

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  • 21 of 25

    Formal and Fabulous

    billy hacks

    @magical_manor / Instagram

    A robin's egg blue hue shines on these Billy bookcases and continues behind the fireplace to make the whole setup look custom. This unit proves that the Billy bookcase can look just as lovely in more formal living spaces as it does in casual family rooms. One trick to make your IKEA Billy bookcase look better is to display a limited number or type of items on the open shelves—e.g., only displaying books here—and leaving miscellaneous items for behind cabinet doors.

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  • 22 of 25

    Happy Hutches

    billy hack

    Tasha Agruso

    A pop of paint can do wonders to turn the basic Billy into something that exactly fits your style. This IKEA hack actually features two items from the store to create a hutch: the Billy bookcase and a dresser below it. The DIYer opted to make two matching units to add balance, style, and storage to the space.

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  • 23 of 25

    Clever Corner

    billy hacks

    @1930shouserevamp / Instagram

    What's great about hacking a Billy bookcase is you can design an end product that truly fits your needs. And that can include manipulating things a bit to fit a tricky corner spot or angle in your home. The narrow Billy bookcase option can work especially well to fill in odd angles, and it can easily be used in conjunction with the more standard wider version because they're the same height.

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  • 24 of 25

    Outstanding Office

    billy hacks

    @ourhome.becoming / Instagram

    This Billy configuration doesn't go floor to ceiling or wall to wall, yet it looks totally built-in and custom for the office space. That's largely because the scale of the unit perfect fits its corner. So it feels like it was meant for that spot all along, rather than being DIYed from prefabricated Billy bookshelves. A sophisticated paint color, modern knobs, and traditional trim help to make the unit look classy and expensive in this home office.

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  • 25 of 25

    Pretty Pantry

    billy hacks

    @little_birdhouseinyoursoul / Instagram

    Billy bookcase hacks aren't just for living spaces. They also can help you keep closets and even your pantry organized. This hack is super simple. It takes an empty closet space and adds a tall Billy bookshelf to create pantry storage. You can up your storage game by adding bins to the shelves, as well as shelf dividers. And don't forget to adjust the shelves to accommodate tall items.

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