This fluted IKEA hack transforms a dull Billy bookcase into a pretty pastel display cabinet

A coat of sage green paint, fluted detailing and some brass hardware add a contemporary take to this Billy bookcase

Was there ever a more trusty type of shelving than the IKEA Billy bookcase? Whether you've used it for its intended purpose of housing books or your glass fronted version is used as a drinks cabinet, the Billy is IKEA's most popular piece of furniture for a reason - and this beautifully understated makeover shows its limitless potential as an upcycling project, too.  

With a coat of sage green paint, some fluted detailing and some custom brass hardware, this contemporary IKEA hack adds character and charm to this dining area. It's all thanks to the work of home renovator Sophia Kostich (@diydoctorsoph) who shares the DIY upcycling projects she's carried out in her London flat over on Instagram. Here she shares how she spruced up her bookcase in just a few simple steps. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A personal fan of the Scandi-inspired interior, her job entails keeping up with everything there is to know about the Swedish powerhouse IKEA. Paired with her insight into the latest home renovation projects, she regularly shares IKEA hacks with readers to inspire their own DIY projects in home design. 

An ikea billy bookcase before being refurbished

(Image credit: Sophia Kostich (@diydoctorsoph))

Thinking her dining room deserved a pop of color, Sophia bought her display cabinet with the intention of carrying out her first ever IKEA hack. 'The project started with a billy bookcase from IKEA and I bought doors to go with it – the ones specifically with glass at the top half, and opaque at the bottom half,' she explains. 

An ikea billy bookcase before being refurbished with paint samples on the door

(Image credit: Sophia Kostich (@diydoctorsoph))

A fan of subtle shades, Sophia wanted her upcycled cabinet to match the soft color palette found in the rest of the room which pairs so well with the natural wood tones in her table. She used peel-and-stick samples from Lick  in two soft sage greens and a pale dusky pink to help decide the final hue. We love that she echoed the shades found within her gorgeous William Morris print on the wall. 

In the end, Sophia opted for Lick's light green shade, Green 01.

An IKEA billy bookcase in the process of being refurbished

(Image credit: Sophia Kostich (@diydoctorsoph))

Wanting to add some dimension to the cabinet doors - and as a personal fan of fluted furniture - she decided to purchase some moulding from her local hardware store to attach to the lower half of the bookcase. 

'I purchased some fluted moulding in 7.8 foot lengths and cut these down using my miter saw (but you can definitely use a normal saw),' Sophia says. 'I then used No More Nails glue to stick these on, making sure they were level as I went along.' 

Once they were all attached, she primed the whole cabinet both inside and out, and then painted using Lick's Green 01 in a matt finish.

An upcycled IKEA billy bookcase painted in a light sage green with brass handles

(Image credit: Sophia Kostich (@diydoctorsoph))

For a metallic finishing touch, she added brass handles to the doors. 'I used my power drill to drill some holes, and then screwed them in from the inside,' Sophia explains. 'The final layer was some polyvine matt varnish to protect it before styling.' 

Sophia decorated the bookshelves alongside luscious green plants in pink pots, establishing the calming pastel scheme in the space. It's quite possibly the prettiest IKEA billy bookcase we've ever seen!

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.