Before and After: This IKEA BILLY elevated a shared child's bedroom into a whimsical retreat

From flatpack to fairytale forest – this is how the IKEA icon became the focal point of a mystical space

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack in child bedroom
(Image credit: Johanna Hollstrand / @villaalvsjo)

You may have seen a transformed BILLY stand as a statement in a living room, entryway, or home office. However, this latest makeover gives the unit a playful twist in a new territory. The IKEA hack comes from Johanna Hollstrand (@villaalvsjo (opens in new tab)), a designer based in Herrängen, near Stockholm – and it's like nothing we've seen before.

Johanna turned to the interiors powerhouse to transform a minimalist child bedroom into a whimsical sanctuary for two siblings. But how did she achieve the final look? Here's what you need to know.

IKEA BILLY child bedroom hack – before

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack in child bedroom

(Image credit: Johanna Hollstrand / @villaalvsjo)

Johanna began her IKEA BILLY bookcase hack by investing the units (opens in new tab) from IKEA, naturally. She also picked up their PLATSA (40x60x60) and eight HJÄLPA drawers. 'The frames of drawers are ingenious for all the endless storage you need,' Johanna says. She added the drawer fronts were separately (from Målarmästarns Färgbutik, a local DIY store near Johanna's home). 

The mattress, as seen in the finished hack, is also from IKEA. 'It's [their] standard regular size for a toddler's bed,' she explains. 'We have adjusted the measurements to fit our beds – which are 80x120cm.'

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack in child bedroom

(Image credit: Johanna Hollstrand / @villaalvsjo)

The designer created the primary frame from the IKEA frames before adding a top shelf in oak veneer – to create a bespoke look in the room. 'The rest is site-built with MDF boards and a curtain rail attached to the ceiling,' Johanna revealed via Instagram (opens in new tab).

She also added railing (for fall protection) for parts of the sibling's old cots. To create this, Johanna cut, carved, and glued to new holes drilled in the MDF board.

IKEA BILLY child bedroom hack – after

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack in child bedroom

(Image credit: Johanna Hollstrand / @villaalvsjo)

After completing the main structure, Johanna painted the nook in a charcoal hue to complement the surrounding walls. She then elevated the bedroom's mystery further by plastering Woodland (opens in new tab) – designed by Fleur Harris (opens in new tab) for Jimmy Cricket – on the main wall. 

The designer then introduced the sibling's toys into the space – many of which maintain the magical forest theme and complement the wallpaper seamlessly. The curated pillows and throws also add comfort to the space without detracting from its fairytale aesthetic.

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack in child bedroom

(Image credit: Johanna Hollstrand / @villaalvsjo)

The finished result has raised the bar for kid's bedroom ideas far beyond Herrängen – and it starts with a trip to IKEA. 

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.