19 Ikea Billy Bookcase Hacks that are Bold and Beautiful

The Billy bookcase from Ikea is an iconic piece of furniture that has been hacked down the many years it has been sold. It is one of Ikea’s cornerstone products along with the likes of the MALM and the KALLAX.

There are so many ways you can customize the Billy bookcase with a hack and there have been so many creative projects doing just this, shared by their creators. We’ve gathered the best of these Ikea Billy bookcase hacks here so that you can get inspiration for you own Billy hack project.

We are big fans of Ikea hacks as you might tell! The Billy is one of our favorite products to get creative with, but we love gathering great examples of other hacks, which you can find on our Ikea Hacks page.

Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest to see tons of great Ikea Hack ideas as well as home decor inspiration.

This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here for more info.


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Ikea Billy Cane Doors Bookcase Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Cane Doors Hack
Source: House of Hawkes

This is such a great BILLY hack to start with. Cane or rattan doors are timeless ways to update any piece of furniture and they completely transform the BILLY bookcase into something gorgeously relaxed.

The neutral gray paint color adds to the chic look of this Ikea hack. If you need to paint a laminate piece of Ikea furniture like the BILLY the secret to this is first to apply a coat of spray-on adhesion promoter, leave it to go tacky for 20 mins, apply a normal primer after this. Finish it with an oil based paint for a long lasting finish.

Ikea Billy Gray Built In Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Gray Built In Hack
Source: Design Sixty Nine

Some of these BILLY bookcase hacks are about turning the BILLY into something that looks custom. This gray built-in bookcase has done just that, with the addition of some drawers at the bottom for extra storage.

The great thing about painting the whole thing one color afterwards is that any modifications can be hidden.

We particularly like the multi-levelled look where not all the shelves are perfectly in line. The styling is also great!

Ikea Billy Library Ladder Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Library Ladder Hack
Source: Stylish Revamp

Does everyone dream of a library-style bookcase in their home or is it just us? You would hardly believe this started off as a BILLY bookcase, but with the addition of some trim in all the right places you can totally transform the BILLY into something stunning like this.

The addition of the ladder is genius and brings in an element of decadence.

Ikea Billy Double Built In Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Double Built In Hack
Source: A Beautiful Mess

These imposing, yet gorgeous double shelves either side of the window are the focal point of the room. They allow the books to be the stars with the actual shelves being painted a neutral color to blend into the background.

It’s a really clever idea to use the upper most shelves as open, book storage and have the boxed storage lower down where the eye isn’t drawn to. It’s a great Ikea BILLY hack that we are eyeing up for our front room!

Ikea Billy Colorful Backing Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Yellow Interior Hack
Source: Ikea

Sometimes you don’t need to go all out with a built-in BILLY bookcase hack. This lovely yellow-backed bookcase has simply had a coat of paint on the inside surfaces of the bookcase to contrast with the contents on the shelves.

It’s just a small touch that really changes the way you look at it.

Ikea Billy Black Frame Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Black Frame Hack
Source: Lonny

Another BILLY hack that is fairly simple is to cover the uprights with framing trim and, in this case, paint it black (or whatever color works for your space).

The contrast between the black frame and the white bookcase is really elegant and completely distracts you from thinking this is just a BILLY bookcase!

Ikea Billy Arched Frame Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Arches Hack
Source: Design Sponge

As well as adding some framing to give the uprights a bit more thickness, this great hack has introduced arches over each BILLY bookcase section to add a bit of interest to the overall look.

This is so simple to do with some MDF but gives another little trick of the eye to make you think these are custom built.

The little picture frames are a great idea too!

Ikea Billy Glass Door Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Glass Doors Hack
Source: April & May for Ikea

This is perhaps our favorite Ikea BILLY hack which, just with the addition of black framed glass doors, totally turns the BILLY bookcase into something elegant and stylish.

This would look great in a kitchen and could actually be done relatively cheaply if you used perspex sheet for the doors instead of glass.

Ikea Billy Mudroom Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Mudroom Hack
Source: Polka Dot Chair

Mudrooms don’t have to be expensive projects that are inaccessible to the masses! join a few Ikea BILLY bookcases together and configure them to hold coats, shoes and bags and voila! You have a mudroom!

Obviously you have to have the space for it in your hallway, but it doesn’t take up a huge amount of room up against a wall.

It’s a great little hack that will keep everything tidy in it’s own space and teach your kids to put things away!

Ikea Billy Kitchen Island Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Kitchen Island Hack
Source: Golden Boys and Me

Have the space, but can’t afford to put in a kitchen island? Look no further than this awesome Ikea BILLY hack that is simply three BILLY bookcases with a wood work surface on top.

It’s finished off with some end panels and trim, but the while thing could be done in a day.

If you’ve dreamt of a kitchen island, this could be your answer!

Ikea Billy Double Fireplace Alcove Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Fireplace Alcoves Hack
Source: Place of My Taste

What do you do with those awkward alcoves either side of the fireplace? Build some gorgeous bespoke-looking bookcases with this Ikea BILLY bookcase hack as inspiration of course!

These bookcases look stunning, and are surprisingly simple to put in, even to this standard!

Add in some immaculate styling with gorgeous accessories and you’re on to a winner.

Ikea Billy Low Level Bookcase Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Low Level Hack
Source: Villaroma1924 via Instagram

Bookcases don’t always nee to be imposing full height pieces. This great little BILLY hack with just painted low level bookcases creates a lovely focal point of the room.

Using the two larger bookcases either side of a narrow one is very pleasing on the eye as our brain works well with groups of three and symmetry.

Let’s play spot the Ikea products in this hack!

Ikea Billy Walk In Closet Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Walk In Closet Hack
Source: Upbeat Soles

Just wow! We adore this BILLY hack for a walk in closet. Catrin hasn’t been allowed to see this one yet as it will have to be replicated somewhere in out house if she does!

The treatment of the BILLY bookcases is actually quite minimal, but they make an excellent shoe storage/display.

The zebra print rug gets our seal of approval!

Ikea Billy Wall Of Shelves Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Full Wall Hack
Source: Ikeahackers

If you’re going to add a large amount of bookcase in a room, why not go the whole hog and make a whole wall of bookcases.

This awesome Ikea BILLY bookcase hack makes a real feature of the bookcase and the variety of shapes and sizes of shelving space gives interest to the look.

You could even build the bookcase around the specific items you intend to put in it!

Ikea Billy Art Deco Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Art Deco Hack
Source: Marie Claire

This BILLY bookcase hack is such a simple idea but utterly transformative. The inside surfaces have been covered with an Art Deco style ‘fan’ wallpaper or vinyl sheet to create a completely unique piece of furniture.

It would be a shame to cover it up with too many things!

Ikea Billy Lighting Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Lighting Hack
Source: Remington Avenue

This Ikea BILLY bookcase hack is a great example of how to create a custom built-in bookcase from BILLY shelving. The addition of the wall lights adds another level of sophistication though and when turned on they will help draw attention to the beautifully created and styled shelves.

If you are going to put books on your shelves, having them with the spine to the back is a great way to add more white to the look if you don’t want too much book color. Just the subtle flashes of color from the covers is quite a unique way to display books.

Ikea Billy Entranceway Storage Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Entranceway Storage Hack
Source: Harlowe James

Adding doors to BILLY bookcases is something we are really liking about some of these hacks. This BILLY bookcase hack with half and half glass/solid doors is a great way to keep things organized in the hallway.

You can display what you want on display at the top and hide what you want hidden at the bottom, genius!

They are also really elegant and do not take up too much space.

Ikea Billy Home Bar Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Home Bar Hack
Source: Ikeahackers

I think we have to include a drinks-based hack into all of our Ikea hack posts don’t we? Part of our contract… if we had a contract with ourselves.

This is a really creative use of the BILLY bookcases to house a collection of glassware and liquors for a home bar.

We especially love the down-lighting and glass shelves combination that add an element of drama to the look.

Ikea Billy Homework Desk Hack

Ikea Billy Bookcase Homework Desk Hack
Source: lifeonacountryroad via Instagram

If you home school your kids, this is an awesome hack to keep things both fun and organized. Each child has their own desk, storage and blackboard.

It’s such a cute set up and makes homework time a little more fun and engaging when there is a dedicated space they can use every time.


The Ikea BILLY bookcase is such a great way to get a high-end look relatively cheaply. In this list you’ve seen several great ways to take the BILLY from a basic bookcase to something beautiful and unique.

The sky is the limit with what you can create, whether you’re after some stunning built-ins, something a bit more colorful or even a kitchen island!

We hope there is something here that can inspire you to get stuck in with hacking your BILLY bookcase.

15 thoughts on “19 Ikea Billy Bookcase Hacks that are Bold and Beautiful”

  1. Absolutely brilliant tips here, thank you for such great ideas.

    Reply
  2. Love all these ‘billy’ hacks , absolutely amazing, creative ideas, and different looks 👍🏼

    Reply
  3. Love all these ‘billy’ hacks , absolutely amazing, creative ideas, and different looks 👍🏼
    Reply

    Reply
  4. Fabulous ideas. I especially love the rattan doors. But settling on a look from here won’t be easy.

    Reply
  5. I didn’t think the bills book cases could improve, cause they were just perfect, but these hacks have taken it to a whole new level. Love it.

    Reply
  6. Love this..i haven’t a home of my own but do rent such beautiful ideas.

    Reply
  7. Great ideas! Definitely going to use a couple of them! Glad I checked this out!!! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Can you paint these? I am looking for something like this but want the color to match the molding in my living room.

    Reply
  9. Could one make “bookcase door” using the ikea billy bookcase ? As in a door that opens, but has the book on one side of it.

    Reply
    • Hi Elisabeth, I am imagining two different scenarios here. One, you want a bookcase door that looks like shelves full of books from the outside? In which case you can very easily get a bookcase wallpaper or vinyl covering that you could apply to the door. Two, you want to attach shelves to the inside of the door? In which case, this may get in the way of the actual Billy bookcase shelves, they may also end up too heavy for the door and be a little wobbly as the doors are not all that strong.

      Reply

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