Friday, April 24, 2009

Project: Faux Built-In Bookcase

The Inspiration:
My inspiration for this project came from a visit to the offices of the fabulous Bunny Williams for a preview of her BeeLine Home Collection. I have to say, that woman is way wise. The entire Domino team sat mesmerized by her words of wisdom for quite some time. Anyway, in one of the rooms she had attached beautiful gilded molding to an ordinary wall of built-in bookcases, which resulted in the gorgeousness above. I can't remember exactly where she'd found her molding, but suffice to say it wasn't exactly from Home Depot. It got me thinking about what a little molding might do for my simple BILLY bookcases from IKEA.

The Project:
This project turns four boring IKEA BILLY bookcases into one huge wall of storage that has all the panache of a built-in, minus the lofty price tag. 

-bookcases you want to join together (should be matching)
-column of pilaster molding - you'll need multiples depending on how many bookcases you're joining together
-crown molding - two pieces per pilaster column, cut to the same width as the pilaster
-wood glue
-paint that matches your bookcases
-paint supplies (i.e. brush and tray)

Putting It Together
1. Glue your crown molding pieces to the top and bottom of your pilaster column and allow to dry. 

2. Slap a couple coats of paint on the entire column and allow to dry. 

(Note: When you're at the lumber or hardware store buying your pilaster column and crown molding pieces, be sure to ask for MDF rather than something pricey like oak in order to keep the cost down. Also, make sure you measure the overall height of your bookcase and bring it with you. Your pilaster column plus the crown molding piece at the top and bottom will need to add up to the height of your bookcase. )

3. Using wood glue, adhere your pilaster column in between the bookcases you're joining together, making sure the flat edges on the back of the column meet with the flat front of the bookcases. Follow the directions of the wood glue regarding drying time. That's it! 

(Note: If you're using BILLY bookcases from IKEA, then this next step is just for you. The front edge of these beauties isn't actually wood, it's plastic so your wood glue won't work - trust me, I learned this one the hard way. In order to peel the front side off to get to the wood, find the seam at the top and wedge a flat head screwdriver in using a hammer. Once it begins to separate, just pull down and the whole thing comes off like a ribbon, exposing the wood beneath. )



The cost for this project really depends on how big of a bookcase you want. I bought two more BILLY Bookcases to go with the two I already had for $59.99 each, and my molding, wood glue, paint and supplies came in around $100. If you'd like more specifics, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to send you my full write-up of the project. 

Have a great weekend!


  1. That's awesome! Would you mind sending along your write up? I'm planning on tackling a dining room wall in the same way. Thanks! -Susan (

  2. wow--why do I think it won't be as easy (for me) as you make it look and sound!? ah, but I think I will try with your full write-up :-) Thank you so much, in advance- Leticia (

  3. I love this! We recently moved and I want to do something similar in my living room.

  4. Love what you've done. Please send me the details- kanetachoudhury@

  5. may i ask where the two lamps came from? i'd really like to incorporate them in my 24-foot wall of billy-hacking.

    1. The two sconces are from my hands-down favorite lighting company, Visual Comfort. Here's the link to purchase:

  6. I would love the write-up of this but can't find your email address. Would you be able to send it to me? It's And where did you get the lighting and do you have directions for installation for that as well?? I love it!

    Thanks so much.

  7. Hey ALi! I would love the exact measurements for this as well! I have the Ikea shelves too and love this look so much. Thanks and well done!!