DIY: IKEA Billy Bookshelf Upcycle

February 13, 2015

Ikea Billy Hack 2
I have been slowly redesigning my bedroom since moving to Brooklyn in December and I’m happy to say there is a lot of progress being made.  The previous tenant left an IKEA Billy mini bookshelf behind.  Instead of tossing it, I decided to upcycle it to make it fit in my decor.  The IKEA Billy bookcases are some of the most versatile pieces I’ve seen around.  They can be configured in so many ways to create a storage system that looks more expensive than it actually is.

I have the tall Billy bookshelf in white, which I use for shoe storage.  The small Billy bookshelf is no longer available on the IKEA website so I decided to repaint it to make it fit with the white/gold/azure theme I have going on in my room.


I prepped my living room with blue tarp and a fan to ventilate the space during my DIY session.  Since it was cold and snowing outside, I decided to do my project inside.  I lay the tarp down and gathered the rest of my supplies:

  • Behr ‘Ultra Pure White’ Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Roller
  • Cleaning Cloth

I started off by cleaning the surface of my shelf and letting it dry for about 30 minutes.  Then I removed all the shelving so that I could paint them individually.

Ikea Billy HackI used a paint  roller in the beginning but was not getting into the corners so I switched to a wide paint brush after the first coat.  The paint I got had a primer mixed in so I didn’t need to prime my shelf.  It’s also worth noting that if your wood is glossy, you will have to sand the surface so the paint will stick.  Luckily for me, my bookshelf was a natural wood finish.  I painted everything except the back and bottom of the bookshelf because no on will really see those areas.    I let the first coat air dry for an hour while I did other chores around the house.IMG_1848

I applied the second coat, making sure I got all the corners of the bookshelf.  The paint brush really allowed me to coat the surface seamlessly. You couldn’t really see a lot of the brush strokes, which is a good thing. I let the second coat dry for the entire day while I watched the Grammy Awards.  The paint was dry to the touch after 2 hours but I didn’t want to jinx my luck.



Here is the finished bookshelf. Coated in gorgeous white paint to match my decor.  It’s a super easy project that you can get done in a day.


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