This rattan BILLY bookcase transformation is the ultimate twist on the original

BILLY's had a thoroughly modern makeover – and we're feeling inspired to bring the look into our own homes

Rattan IKEA BILLY bookcase hack
(Image credit: Kathryn Hawkes)

Few furnishings are quite as ionic as the BILLY Bookcase. The IKEA staple has blessed interiors for over four decades – but it has never looked quite as stylish as it does following this ingenious IKEA hack

Enter Kathryn Hawkes – the Dubai-based interior stylist who transformed her  BILLY into a chic piece of unique furniture that is now the statement of her modern home

Kathryn's twist on the Scandinavian classic was the catalyst behind her business Fronteriors (opens in new tab) that inspires IKEA enthusiasts to get creative with their furniture – and we're feeling inspired to follow suit. 

Rattan IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Kathryn Hawkes)

So, how can we transform our conventional BILLY's into a boutique jewel? Kathryn revealed her design process – so that we can mirror its style in our own interiors.

 At first, Kathryn admits she was reluctant to tamper with the original BILLY (opens in new tab), as it was already a 'winning formula,' so she dressed the naked shelves with some books and accessories, as seen below. 

Rattan IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Kathryn Hawkes)

However, after inevitably falling for the allure of rattan furniture, Kathryn decided to experiment with her shelves and give BILLY a 2021 glo-up. She began by picking up some cane webbing, which she passed to her carpenter friend, who fit the two custom doors. 

They also transformed the white paint with the subtle, neutral hues of Soothing Beige (opens in new tab) by the Norwegian paint company, JOTUN. 

Rattan IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Kathryn Hawkes)

After styling, Kathryn experimented with the placement in her living room but decided it should take center stage, and we are certainly inclined to agree. 

By adding the elegant rattan doors Kathryn has accentuated BILLY's storage room and uses the furniture as a place to store her glass vases, candles, and table linens. When she removes the table linens and holds a dinner party, we have no doubt that her BILLY is the talking point of the event. 

This has to be one of our favorite IKEA BILLY bookcase hacks of all time.

Rattan IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: Kathryn Hawkes)

See: Revealed: Interior designers share their all-time favorite IKEA products

Learn more about Kathryn's love for BILLY through her blog (opens in new tab), House of Hawkes – but you may not make it through the post without ordering a crate-load of rattan and a bucket of beige paint – you've been warned.

Megan Slack
News Writer

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.