IKEA Bookshelves Get A Facelift - Juniper Home

IKEA Bookshelves Get A Facelift

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We had sort of an awkward corner in our living room that wasn’t getting much use. A quick trip to IKEA and Lowe’s fixed that right up.

I got two of these inexpensive and extra tall white Billy bookcases from IKEA.
While my sweet and handy husband assembled the bookshelves, I painted the big boards that act as the back of the bookcase. I painted them a shade darker than the color of our walls. After these boards dried and had been tacked into place, I started the next project for fancying up the IKEA shelves: adding trim.

I bought four 8-feet lengths of the simplest, smallest moulding that Lowe’s had (less than $5 each). Using my $7 coping saw, which is a hand saw that makes very fine cuts, I made mitered cuts and trimmed out the exposed sides of the book cases. These also got a coat of blue paint and then were applied with Liquid Nails.


Once everything was dry, I used wood filler to smooth out the imperfections in the corners.


And a final coat of paint to cover the wood filler.


We filled the shelves with all our clutter: an antique Dala horse, silhouettes of family members, bins for magazines and some children’s books, picture frames, and other vintage and antique finds from our European flea market adventures.

And what bookshelf would be complete without books? Lot of old books. Arranged by color.


I’m happy with the result. I think the trim and the blue background help take away some of the cheapness that IKEA furniture can bring.

What did you think?
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14 thoughts on “IKEA Bookshelves Get A Facelift

  1. Jennica, I noticed these bookcases in a picture you posted a while back and guessed that you had trimmed them out yourself; they look awesome – thanks for including the step by step instructions – makes it seem much less intimidating!

  2. Beautiful. I’m a complete amateur and have no idea what “trimmed out the exposed side of the bookcase” means. Can you explain that a little more? They are fabulous shelves!

  3. Jenn, I am dying to see your house. It looks amazing! You are truly the most talented person I know, and that’s only just for being the world’s best decorator, shopper, mother, sister, wife, etc. You really are incredible! Please become a professional decorator so that I can hire you to make my house cute and beautiful like yours. Or even if you don’t get the title of pro, I’ll still hire you. Love you Jenn, Heather.

  4. Just found you via Newlywed Diaries – absolutely love what you did w/the Ikea bookshelves! I’ve seen molding applied to the top but never to the sides like you did. Looks terrific.

  5. I love this idea. I just bought a billy book shelf in the as is section. I can’t wait to try it.

    I’m also on the hunt for the Martha Stewart #2 pencil paint.
    Your blog is wonderful.

  6. They seem to be butted up against one another in the corner very seamlessly, are they just standing next to one another – or did you put up a piece in the middle so they looked like a corner piece?

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  8. LOve this too. I need to put bookshelves in the corner but need an inexpensive alternative. This is it! Will you please explain how you did the two cases in the corner to look like corner pieces? Did you butt them up to each other with a space in the corner or something else? I can not tell from the pictures. Thanks. Please email is: alysawhitlock@yahoo.com. I'm adding you to my "creative blogs that I love"

  9. i did something similar with my billy bookshelves for my living room; however, when i tried priming the back of the shelves, the primer just beaded up and would not go on smoothly. did you use primer, or just paint directly onto the back?

    as for me, i ended up painting onto the BACK of the back piece (like, straight onto the cardboard). it turned out okay, but you can see the seams a bit, which i don't love (and, consequently, i'm trying to cover the seams with books and such on the shelves).

    looks great–i love the touch of molding.

  10. This is exactly what I've been envisioning for my living room corner (except with espresso color shelves) I never would have thought about the crown molding, so I am going to totally bookmark this and hope I remember about it when I finally find some shelves (we don't have an ikea here – yet – and the shipping fee is too high to make it worthwhile). Thanks so much for this post. I'm going to look through your blog for more ideas.

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