A little backstory: if you know me, you know my favorite things to decorate our home with are books. I don’t really do knick-knacks or accessories, but as a total bibliophile (and someone working on their A.S. in Library Information & Technology), nothing says cozy to me the way wall to wall books do. My husband knows this, and knows it has been a dream of mine to have built-ins incorporated somewhere in our home to house all the books we own. But, to be perfectly honest, having a carpenter come in and build us some built-ins would be expensive. I know, because this time last year we got a few quotes for the job and to do built-ins in the great room and mudroom would have cost us about $15,000. I don’t know about you, but that’s a prohibitive cost for us, so I set out to find a way we could create something just as nice but for a lot less.
I have been pining ideas for years, and finally convinced my husband that we could create our own “built-ins” for less than $1000 and he wouldn’t need to do any serious construction or woodworking (both of which he can do, but his work schedule doesn’t leave him much free time).
You can see on my Cozy Up The Place board that I like neutrals and the space where modern meets traditional; clean lines, but nothing stark, and fresh spaces with an inviting, but minimalist aesthetic.
I think we achieved just that with this project.
The alcove space we worked with is approximately 165” long, but not very deep, so the black-brown IKEA Hemnes bookcases and sideboard (that doubled as a TV stand) that we originally had there stuck out about 2’ from the wall. The three pieces weren’t terribly large, so there was a lot of wasted space above and around them. We also have quite a bit of books and they were starting to look cluttered and messy as we were running out of shelf space. So, for the project, we measured the width and height (95”) of the alcove, and searched IKEA’s website for suitable bookcases.
Yes, they’re all IKEA.
Initially, my husband voted for white ones from the Hemnes line, since they are made with solid wood, but their sizing would not have filled the space the way we envisioned. Also, in the quotes we received last year, much of the materials were listed as wood veneers and MDF, so we knew we could get the look we wanted by using IKEA’s famous Billy line.
Using two of the white 31.5” x 79.5” bookcases, two of the white 15.75” x 79.5” bookcases, and two of the white 31.5” x 41.75” bookcases with height extensions and Oxberg doors, we were able to build this: