Our love for a certain Swedish powerhouse is far from subtle, especially when it comes to stylish flatpack makeovers. And our latest IKEA BILLY crush is worthy of all the excitement – and more.
While BILLY is already one good-looking bookshelf, designer Kaari Sommer took the staple another step further and turned the unit into a beautiful built-in – complete with brass-hued swing lighting and an array of art books – because this is a BILLY, after all.
Her IKEA hack is among our most favorite to date – combining everything we admire about the Swedish chain with a boutique hotel aesthetic. Here, Kaari walks you through the design process.
IKEA BILLY – before the hack
After building and moving into their home, Kaari and her husband wanted to create a wall of built-in bookshelves in their den. So, they turned to IKEA – who made it possible.
‘I got a bid from the cabinet shop that did our kitchen. It was outrageous and definitely not in the budget. I had heard of an IKEA Billy Bookcase hack being done before, so I got on Google, formulated my plan, filled my husband in, and we got to work,’ Kaari shares.
In her blog, Kaari outlined the intricacies of the design process, beginning firstly with purchasing 4 BILLY bookcases. They also picked up a BILLY height extension and the OXBERG doors. Kaari then bought MDF – and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White for the trim.
Kaari then designed a wooden platform and was careful to evenly space the BILLY units against the wall. Crucially, the space between the left bookcase and the wall and the right bookcase and the wall remained consistent – along with the distance between each shelf.
IKEA BILLY – after the hack
Once the four shelves were in place, Kaari added trim to the top and sides of the bookcases. After completing the structure, she used wood filler and sanded the units – ensuring they appeared as though they were originally one bespoke piece. The result is the modern living room idea your home deserves.
Finally, Kaari filled the famous IKEA holes to remove its flatpack origins and revisited Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, which further removed the units from their heritage. After the paint dried, she added the statement brass handles before filling the new furnishing with equally sophisticated books, pottery, and some curated greenery.
If you’re looking to mirror this modern home decor idea in your home, Kaari’s blog has an in-depth tutorial, while her Instagram has footage of the makeover. Let the BILLY transformation projects begin.
Be The First To Know
The Livingetc newsletter is your shortcut to the now and the next in home design. Subscribe today to receive a stunning free 200-page book of the best homes from around the world.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, well-being stories, and celebrity-focused pieces.
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 whilst 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.
4 serene window ideas to keep the festive warmth in and the winter cold out this Christmas
Give your windows the gift of new dressings this Christmas, complete with a customised and stress-free service from Hillarys
By Sponsored Published
12 pieces of timeless furniture - the Livingetc edit of what will never go out of style
If you're hoping to build a living room or bedroom that defies fickle trends and endures year after year, start by shopping our edit of timeless furniture here
By Brigid Kennedy Published