IKEA’s Billy bookcase is one of the most versatile furniture pieces in the world, hands down

This is the reason why it’s so popular 40 years after it first appeared in stores all over the world. The Billy bookcase can be tweaked up or down so that it fits your design aesthetic, for a fraction of the cost of designer furniture. You can also add more to your existing bookcase if you need more space. If you have a Billy at home or just curious about how you can hack this iconic piece of furniture, read on for some inspiration.


Top 11 Billy Bookcase Hacks
1. Billy Closet

Add cheap storage space that looks upscale with a built-in Billy. Use as is but adjust according to what kind of items you want to store. No need to worry about running out of space for a particular item in your wardrobe. If yuo need more space for jackets and winter clothes, simply adjust the shelves to accommodate them. You can also add in other IKEA storage staples like wicker baskets and hat boxes to keep your closet organized and easy on the eyes, especially if you opt for open shelves.


Kristina of Ich Designer created a series of these sliding doors for her BILLY bookcases.

They move on casters with the help of a u-shaped channel she affixed to the front of the shelves. IKEA bar pulls complete the job. She used OSB, which makes the DIY look modern and functional, while remaining super affordable.


Images credit: Ich Designer

2. Billy Dresser Hack

Use paint and contact paper, scrap plywood, along with an assortment of handles to style up an ordinary Billy bookcase. Build the drawers using wood blue and an air nailer, paint them and attach the knobs and you’re done! Just make sure to measure the drawers to fit snugly with each other and the bookcase edges since you won’t be attaching any tracks. The drawers have to be snug but just enough to easily slide in and out.

Image: Infarrantly Creative

3. IKEA Billy Bookcase Hack Mudroom

Keep your mudroom bright and organized with a Billy bookcase. Install hooks for jackets and raincoats, and use open storage boxes on the lowest shelves to store footwear. You can also use the shelving as storage for bags and knapsacks. Placed along one wall of your entryway, you can keep your bags, scarves and jackets within easy reach. Keeping a Billy bookcase in the mudroom also means you’re keeping all these items in one room so they’re not cluttering up your living space.

4. IKEA Billy Bookcase Hack

Playroom Whether you are building a toy cabinet for your kids or a curio cabinet for your own things, the Billy bookcase can be hacked for sliding or swing glass doors so these items can double as fun decor. You can source the GRYTNAS glass door and basic hinges from IKEA. Also, adjust the height of shelving to make room for bigger toys.

Image: Vintage Revivals

5. Billy for Your Shoes

The Billy bookcase can be tweaked to be the perfect storage solution for shoes. Adjust the height of the shelve spaces to make way for different heights of footwear. This way you can store all your shoes, whether they’re for winter or summer, in one place. Use the extra storage space for bags, belts and scarves.

Image: Upbeat Soles

6. Billy Desk

If you can use as Billy for kitchen storage, you can just as easily transform it to a work desk with ample office storage on both sides. Set up the bookcase without the middle shelf. Measure the height for the middle shelf according to your ideal work table height, install in the middle using screws and 4L brackets, and lay a standard IKEA baseboard over the middle shelf and fix on the shelf with standard screws. Prop it up on the floor with standard table legs from IKEA, preferably adjustable ones, to complete the ensemble.

Image: IKEA hackers

7. Billy Kitchen Cabinet

Billy can be the perfect low-cost storage solution for your kitchen. You can keep the open shelving or add glass swing cabinet doors to keep the dust-out, especially if you want to keep cutlery inside. You can also incorporate this with a functional kitchen island for a two-for-one use. You can use a wooden countertop or faux granite for some upscale style and you have the perfect kitchen island with ample storage to boot.

Image: 11 Magnolia Lane

8. Billy Entertainment Center

The Billy can be hacked to house your entertainment components as well. You will need to measure your space so you know what type of bookcase to buy. The most common layout is one with the taller side Billy bookcase at 79.5 inches in height and the 41.5-inch version for the middle. Use the taller bookcases to flank the middle one which can serve as the stand for your flat-screen TV. The shelves can serve as storage spaces for Bluetooth speakers and brick-a-brack. Remove the baseboard from the back to ensure that your bookcases are flush against the wall. Install moulding, caulk and patch for a professional finish.

Image: Bless Er House

9. IKEA Billy Bookcase Hack Built-in

The Billy can stand-in for a more expensive built-in cabinet, whether you are building one in the bedroom, the living room or the rec room. Achieve this dreamy Billy-to-built-in makeover with a full-size Billy, add a couple fo skinny versions and height extensions to give your built-in that snug fit. You can also swap out the cheap-looking backing with hardboard that you can sand and prime for a more expensive finish. Search for the right kind of trim and crown moulding to give your bookcase a custom look.

Image:  A Beautiful Mess

10. Grey Finish For Modern and Sleek Storage

A Billy in grey can be the perfect bookcase of a chic space. Minimalist and very ideal if you want to avoid getting smudge and scuff marks on all-white furniture, this Billy hack is also a great way to create a focal point for a room that is done with mostly whites and light colours.

Image:  Design Sixty Nine 

11. Wallaper backing to spruce up your plain white shelves

Spruce up this minimalist bookcase to give it a more mature, sophisticated look. Wallpaper can give it an elegant glow-up in a snap. Wallpaper is great if you don’t have any painting skills and you want something that is easy to apply and remove later on. And with hundreds of wallpaper designs and textures to choose from, you can dress up your Billy bookcase to suit the existing design aesthetic in your home office or bedroom.

Image: Centsational Style

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