This IKEA Hack Combines BILLY and HAVSTA Units for Alcove Shelving — 'It's the Perfect Addition to the Room!'

A much-loved IKEA hack has injected new life into this living room

A living room with built-in alcove shelving painted green
(Image credit: Felicity Hinchliffe)

IKEA's BILLY bookcase is a classic, so it's no surprise it's the star of many budget home transformations. It's affordable, customizable, and it comes in a range of sizes, so the possibilities are endless. Better still, combine it with IKEA's HAVSTA cabinet base and you have the perfect recipe for stylish built-in storage.

Home renovator and interior designer Felicity Hinchliffe (@fjhinteriors) often shares house renovation tips and inspiration across her social media accounts, and she recently posted a gorgeously chic living room transformation starring these famous flatpacks. We absolutely love how her DIY transformation breathes new life into her alcoves so much, we just had to share. Here's how to recreate this amazing IKEA hack in your own home.

Ikea Billy Bookcase hack before

(Image credit: Felicity Hinchliffe)

Before the project, Felicity's lackluster living room was crying out for more storage and some character flair. Eager to transform the room on a budget, Felicity drew on her interiors expertise to update her lounge with a trusty IKEA hack.

'The whole house is a renovation project and I wanted to create this area, with the log burner as the focal point in the living room,' says Felicity. 'Storage space is very important for us and I also wanted somewhere to display decorative items and books, so this hack helped to achieve that.'

IKEA billy bookcase after

(Image credit: Felicity Hinchliffe)

Felicity used two HAVSTA base cabinets and two BILLY Bookcases as the basis for the project. To recreate her IKEA Billy Bookcase hack, you will need decorator's caulk, primer paint, and your paint color of choice to finish the transformation.

She started by using the HAVSTA cabinets for the bottom of the built-ins and then cut down the two bookcases to sit on top of them. 'We then built a frame around the units to attach plasterboard to, and had this plastered,' says Felicity. 'I filled the holes on the insides of the bookcase and sanded these down.' Next, Felicity used decorators caulk around the back and sides of the shelves to cover any small gaps, and primed all the units using primer paint. 

The final (and most fun!) step was painting everything. Felicity went for Farrow & Ball's shade 'Pigeon', which is a cozy and nostalgic blue-gray that looks so calming in her living room and creates a cool, contemporary feel. 'This hack has been the perfect addition not only to the room, but to the whole house,' Felicity says.


♬ Abracadabra (feat. Craig David) - Wes Nelson & Craig David

If you're feeling inspired by Felicity's gorgeous transformation, you can easily use her living room DIY project to get the look in your own home. Or, if you're not in need of an entire revamp, you can take inspiration by incorporating shelving and storage on a smaller scale or by repainting your room in a cool hue like Farrow & Ball's 'Pigeon'. 

Felicity also accessorized with rattan furniture accents, like the rug and coffee table, alongside shearling chairs, quirky vases, and a gorgeous statement mirror. If you want a cool, contemporary look in your living room, let Felicity's space inspire your future designs. 

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Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.