Family Room Makeover Part 1: Installing IKEA BILLY Bookcases

I have been hard at work getting my garage all organized before the cold weather begins.  I then moved indoors and got my mudroom in order, which has made such a huge difference for my sanity now that we have some organization.  If you follow me on Instagram you know I took a couple of steps inside now as I have been working on my Family Room. I am dying to get this done as this is the hub of our home.  We will spend a ton of time as a family in this room watching movies, TV shows, wrestling, cuddling, reading books and playing games.  Here was the inspiration picture for this room.

coastal fireplace

This pictures came from an amazing custom house on a lake in Michigan.  You have to check it out.  Get a napkin to catch the drool!  My house is far from custom, lake or amazing at this point.  But I set out to recreate this look in my family room.  However this is the starting point for this so-called makeover. YIKES!

built in cabinets by fireplace

We had painted the walls a beautiful gray (Nantucket Mist by Dutch Boy).  We didn’t finish this wall because we knew we were going to cover it and didn’t want to waste time.  Which is why it looks like a hot mess.

I asked my friend Layla from The Lettered Cottage to work her Photoshop skills to give me an idea of what this would look like in my non-custom, non-lakehouse house.  Check out her post to see what she came up with for me.  After I saw her mock-ups I was so excited to move forward with this project.

My first step was the figure out the built-ins.  I drew up plans and priced out the lumber for the built-ins and they were going to cost me around $750.  While I was willing to spend the month or so it would take me to build them I decided to look into IKEA Billy Bookcases since I have seen so many other bloggers use them as built-ins.  I priced those out and with the door option I wanted it would be $960.  While that is pricey it is only $210 more than what it would cost to me to build it.  Plus it would save me a ton of time and sweat and building doors (which I loathe).  Since I didn’t need custom built-ins for this space I decided to go the IKEA route.

So I reached out to IKEA to see if they wanted to partner with me on this project and they agreed.  So I went to Cincinnati to pick up 4 Billy bookcases ($240), 8 extension units ($160 total) and 16 Oxberg doors $$560).  Since my ceilings are 9.5’ each bookcase has two extenders on the top of them.  This left me 6” from the top of the extension to the ceiling.  Nothing a little molding and crown couldn’t handle.

I know people complain about putting together IKEA furniture.  While words on the directions would be great I can’t help but get a kick out of the pictures.

IKEA billy bookcase

ikea billy bookcase directions

After about 3 hours I had all the bookcases assembled.  I tried lots of different options for where to put the doors.

IKEA built-ins

In the end  I decided to do doors on the top and bottom and leave the middle section open.

ikea built-in shelves

In order to prep the area for the Billy built-ins I took off the baseboards in the back with a utility knife and pry bar and then used my Rockwell Sonic Crafter to cut the baseboard to the left and right where my bookcases would go leaving enough space to also accommodate a baseboard on the front of the bookcases.



Another thing I had to think through was the outlets.  I had two outlets on the wall.  I measured and marked where they went on the cabinets and then I used my Sonic Crafter to cut out the rectangles for the outlet box out of the cardboard back of the bookcases.



Once the area was all prepped I used some SPAX screws to screw the two cabinets on each side to each other.  I just drilled screws through the preexisting holes for the adjustable bookshelves.

attaching bookshelves to wall

To attach the units to the wall required the angle braces that came with the bookcases as well as a stud finder, and some wood shims.  Wood shims, unfortunately are necessary because 99% off the time your walls will not be perfectly square.  I used some leftover paint sticks as spacers/shims in the back and some regular shims to shim up the bottom front of the bookcases.  Once the bookcases were secured to the studs I now could move onto the fireplace makeover.



So I leave you here with assembled Billy Bookcases installed and secured to the wall.  Next up is the Airstone fireplace makeover.  OMG it looks unbelievable!  Click here to read how to we framed out the fireplace.

built-in billy bookcases

And here are all the posts in this series for easy reference:

Family Room Makeover Part 1: Installing the IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-Ins

Family Room Makeover Part 2: Framing out the Fireplace

Family Room Makeover Part 3: Building a Hollow Rustic Mantel

Family Room Makeover Part 4: AirStone Fireplace Makeover

Family Room Makeover Part 5: Finishing Touches

Family Room Makeover Part 6: Styling the Built-ins