DIY Built in Bookshelves

I’m baaaaack! I have been such a procrastinator with this post….It entails a lot of pictures that took me awhile to find since I took them at varied times….but no excuses! This is the mother of all DIY projects…at least in my books. It’s scary, somewhat easy & a bit confusing! Intrigued?

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One thing we loved about our house is the big open, airy feel it gives with two story ceilings and combined rooms. However, it presents a challenge to fill these huge walls with something that does it justice!

I saw on Centsational Girl and a couple other blogs the idea of using Ikea Billy Bookcases to use as the starting ground for built ins…and they’re brilliant. Put together, secure, add molding…waalah! And that waalah turned into few months. Not that any step was very hard…it just took some figuring out.

Hope on my DIY magic carpet and I’ll take you on a tour.

The before:

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Notice the bookshelf waiting to be put in place and the farmhouse table….that’s how long ago this was if you’ve read my other posts!

We measured our wall and figured out that we could fit 5 bookshelves across the space with a little room in between each. But then I decided if I ever wanted to have a TV, I needed to plan accordingly! So, the built in became an entertainment system to my husband’s delight!

We got:

2 half height billys

2 half width billys

2 15 inch depth regular heigh billys

and 4 height extensions (2 half width, 2 full)

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To make it secure, we screwed all the shelves together in inconspicuous places (inside front near where the holes for the pegs are).

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The bookshelves are not all the same depth so we put the 15inch depth ones flush to the wall and then lined them up according to those. We actually didn’t have to remove the back bottom molding because Ikea is brilliant and added a cutout in the back of the shelves! Thank you, Ikea!

You can see we started to add half doors too….they of course didn’t have enough so that set us back months!

Next, we started to add the bells and whistles. We went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to look at our options and compare prices. After a million trips back and forth over weeks, we slowly started to make progress!

First up: Beadboard wallpaper in the middle…I needed to fill in the empty space!Image

A little peek at the process:

Just wet and paste…and clean up the awful goop of mess that comes with it! No, seriously…I’m warning youImage

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You can check out my beadboard wallpaper tutorial here

Then came the molding. I’ll be honest…we had a little trouble with that. We’re still working on the finishing touches but our problem was that the crown molding just wasn’t working for our space. So, we decided to cheat. We cut chair molding and glued and nailed them flat rather than angled like you would actual crown molding. This makes it a bit hard at the corners where you need to make right angles but it works.

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As you can see, we had to add some extra boards and molding, to fill in the gaps and make the piece cohesive

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Next, came the molding in the middle to “crown” the whole piece…we took some chair molding and cut it at a 45 degree angle to make it appear like a crown molding piece…but it’s just glued flat onto the wall!

To make each bookshelf blend together, we just cut lattice to end where the doors would be placed. This really made the shelves start to come together and look like one piece…crazy what a little nailglue and some finishing nails can do!

For the big gaps on the ends of the shelves closest to the walls, we took a big piece of molding and screwed them straight into the bookshelves. So they’re actually attached to the shelves but not to the walls. We had to remove some of the bottom molding on the walls with a dremel so that there was a little nook for the molding to fit in…

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Is it contractor perfect? No. Could it be? Probably close. We are still tweaking it and working on little pieces but the naked eye really doesn’t see it. We have a few additions we want to add to hide the tv cables but are waiting until we know exactly what cords are going to be there…

The verdict? We love it. It was definitely worth it!

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