Billy Bookcase—Hacked

IMG_4875The additions of storage and organization in our hardest-working room, the pantry/laundry, continue with a trio of IKEA‘s Billy Bookcases. But, in our ever-cockamamay way, we didn’t use the pieces with their intended purpose. Instead, we performed an IKEA furniture hack and hung them on the wall as cabinets!

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What is an IKEA hack, you ask? Well, let me Google that for you. Just check out this Pinterest board of cool ideas you can do with some of the Swedish retailer’s flat-pack furnishings. Creative minds are super inspiring, no?

Because our farm house’s 800 square-foot main floor has no closets and no hidden storage areas, the pantry/laundry is our go-to spot for keeping stuff out of the way when not in use. Before we installed the new bead board wall covering, we had some of the kitchen’s old upper cabinets (sans doors) hanging on the wall as impromptu storage for dry goods. The pseudo shelves became so handy, we thought about reinforcing and painting them so that they could stay in the room. But the vertical dividers on the cabinets’ face frames (the piece where a pair of doors would close and latch on to) were so annoying and in the way, and while the shelves were adjustable, they were flimsy and fragile. In the end, we decided to shop around a bit before taking the time and energy to basically rebuild the old cabinets.

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We landed on IKEA’s Billy Bookcase. Each piece is 31.5 inches wide, less than 42 inches tall, and just 11 inches deep. Those measurements—and the $40 price tag on each piece—were big selling points for us. On the wall, the three pieces together span a 94.5-inch width and, when centered above the washer, dryer, and chest freezer, give us several inches of exposed wall on each end. The 11-inch depth is slightly more shallow than standard wall cabinets, giving us plenty of storage space without taking up any excess head room.

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IMG_4835We ordered the bookcases not really knowing what we’d need to do in order to successfully hang them on the wall as cabinets. After assembling the frames, we decided to not insert the thin masonite board intended to be the back of each bookcase.

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IMG_4858Instead, Ben cut pieces of barnwood to fit into the frames and nailed them in place for stability. We also realized that we needed to add L brackets to help support the weight with which we would load them.

IMG_4855After our hardware upgrades, we hung each bookcase with French cleats designed to support 200 pounds each.

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IMG_4877Once the bookcases were on the wall—I’ll admit, it took a couple of tries to get all three hanging evenly no matter how many times we measured, drew level lines, measured again—we used heavy duty construction glue and screws to secure the three pieces together as a single unit.   IMG_4903

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IMG_4905After the glue dried overnight, I spent the morning installing each cabinet’s two shelves and deciding what would live in each space. Pure organizational heaven! And I’m glad I snapped photos as I arranged things. It may never look this photo-shoot-ready again!IMG_4910

What do you think of Cockamamy’s first IKEA hack?

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One thought on “Billy Bookcase—Hacked

  1. I love this idea! I could see them with some fun roman shades to hide the clutter if that worries you…but I think that in a mudroom/pantry, clutter on shelves is OK. 🙂

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