DIY Built-ins With Ikea Billy Bookcases

15 Materials
12 Hours

Built-ins are expensive so why not give it a DIY try! My tutorial on building your own DIY built-ins with (aff link) pre-fab bookcases will give you that built-in look for less!

I am going to be 100% honest and say this was the hardest DIY I have completed so far. Mainly because I did it all by myself. I think this project would be much easier if you had a helping hand along the way. I was in such a hurry to get this done I didn't want to wait on someone to come to my rescue and help so keep this in mind if you plan this project on your own. Trust me I wasn't doing it on my own to make a point or anything, I was just in a hurry! It can be done on your own for sure and still turn out beautifully, but it just takes way more time on your own.

Put Together the Bookcases:

This was so simple. It took me about 45 min to put together both of these bookcases. I think I am becoming a pro at this Ikea furniture! After I got the bookcases put together I placed them where I wanted them to go spaced 40" apart to account for the floating desk.

Attach the Floating Desk:

I lined up the desk to be even with where one my shelves would go to make it seem more fluid and then took (aff link)  wood glue  & screws and screwed it into a 1x3. I used 1x3s on the sides and front of the desk to give it that floating look. Then I screwed the plywood panel to the top of the 1x3s and finished it off with another 1x3 on the front.

Attach Your Supports:

The next step is to attach your braces or supports for your top MDF panels. In order to have something to nail the MDF boards to I needed to place 2x4s on the top of the bookcases. I laid two long 2x4s on the front and back of the bookcase as well as a couple on the sides to attach my side panels too. I screwed these 2x4s into the top of the bookcase sides so the screws wouldn't come through the top.

Add Your MDF Panels:

I knew that I would need 103" long in MDF boards for the front as well as 11" for each side panel. I had Home Depot cut these down for me since I didn't have a table saw handy. I had them cut all the pieces the be 9" high and had them cut enough to equal 103" on the front and 11" on each side. I also had them cut a 40" by 11" to cover the underside of the new top between the two bookcases.

After I had all of my pieces cut I then brought out my nail gun and started nailing the MDF boards to the 2x4 braces behind them.

Add Your Molding & Baseboards:

This is a hard step if you have never cut 45 degree angle pieces before. There are a ton of great YouTube videos to help you out. Make sure to get a bit of extra molding and baseboards in case you mess up. After I had all of my pieces cut I then brought out my nail gun again and started nailing it to the MDF panels for the molding and to the bottom of the bookcases for the baseboards.

Spackle & Caulk:

I waited until the end and made sure to spackle up any of the nail and screw holes. I also didn't like the predrilled holes for the shelves, so in order to give the bookcases a more finished feel I filled in the holes I wasn't using with some nail filler. After it was dry I then went over it with a sanding sponge to smooth it down.

Make sure not to forget the area where your new baseboards meet the bookcases...


After all of your caulk and spackling is completed you will want to paint your molding, baseboards, and MDF panels to match the rest of the bookcase. I took one of the Ikea bookcase shelves to my local Sherwin Williams and had them perfectly match that Ikea white. I got the paint in semi-gloss since it is what you would normally paint your trim and baseboards with for your home. I gave it two coats of paint, and may decide to give it another!

Resources for this project:
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Holly Conway
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • PLC PLC on Nov 30, 2019

    What was the total cost for the finished bookcases?

  • Mar1943123 Mar1943123 on Nov 30, 2019

    How much did it cost?

  • JOSIE JOSIE on Dec 01, 2020

    where did you find the bookcases under $200 all I see run for $160? With all the other item this project couldn't cost $200 or $300.

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