The iconic BILLY bookcase has been turned into a boutique cabinet in this stylish transformation

The Scandi-cool staple has never looked so chic – and this ingenious transformation is much simpler than it looks

BILLY bookcase hack with arch and new paint
(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

It’s certainly no secret that we’re IKEA-enthusiasts – but the only thing we love more than IKEA furnishings are IKEA hacks. The home decor powerhouse is bursting with clean canvases that style lovers can turn into something extraordinary – and among all these makeovers, we’re currently lusting over this revamped BILLY bookcase. 

While this BILLY looks somewhat unrecognizable from its original form, renovator Jennifer Rothbury (opens in new tab) revealed that the transformation was unbelievably more simple than we might initially expect, and she completed the whole project for under £200 ($283). 

Armed with only fluted wood, soft curves, and slinky handles, Jennifer turned the BILLY into an exclusive piece of furniture – and this is what the design process involved. 

The makeover process

Measuring arch for BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

See: This IKEA cabinet transformation has elevated a dated kitchen into a chic interior paradise

After purchasing a BILLY unit with OXBERG (opens in new tab) glass doors, Jennifer picked up a piece of 6mm MDF and nine pieces of ribbed moldings, which turned into 18 pieces when she cut them to size. She measured the door’s width and height with the 6mm MDF and then designed the arch that would connect to the top half of the cabinet doors.

‘It was simply a case of cutting two arches in the MDF, which I then glued to the glass on the top section of the doors. I cut the ribbed moldings to size and then glued them to the bottom section,’ Jennifer explains. 

Creating doors for BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

Alongside adding the statement arch, Jennifer continued the transformation by painting the BILLY and adding opulent gold handles to accentuate the unit’s refined aesthetic. She had already lightly sanded the laminate frame and shelves and primed all of the cabinet ready for the new color. 

Jennifer opted for Craig & Rose's 1829 Chalky Emulsion (opens in new tab), and two knurled brass T bar handles from Plank Hardware (opens in new tab)

DIY for BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

‘[It’s] amazing how a few changes can totally change the appearance of a piece of furniture for very little expense,’ Jennifer adds. 

BILLY bookcase hack finished result in a living room

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

See: The ultimate IKEA Pax wardrobe hack: How a couple created a beautiful walk-in closet from a flatpack

The finished BILLY is an ultra-stylish twist on the timeless classic – and wouldn’t look misplaced among the chicest hotels and restaurants. However, we, for one, are desperate to mirror this look in our own homes. 

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.