Billy Bookcase Complete!

by Chris on March 26, 2012

Okey Dokey! These bad boys are finished. Check. it. off. the. list. Have you ever tried to decorate 96 square feet of space? Yeah, me neither, so it was definitely a task. Here it is. Ta Da!

DIY bookshelves

In case you can’t remember where we started, this is the blank slate that was staring at me. To be honest, I’m being overly dramatic. The placement of things was pretty simple for me. Finding enough things to fill it, however, got to be a work of art.


I only purchased four items for this whole thing, and the print below was the first piece I bought. It was a no-brainer. When three separate women comment on it in the checkout line, you know you’ve got a keeper. accessories

The rest of the items I already had. I know, right? Someone collects too many accessories. Of course, they didn’t all start out looking like this. Fabric and spray paint were my best friends this week. I’ll show you later how it all came together.


My requisites included two things—it had to have storage (#1 of course), and it couldn’t look too busy. “Too busy” of anything starts to make me break out in hives. A wall of bookcases could have been just the ticket to busy-ville, so I had to be careful.

Ikea Billy

I’m having fun filling all the empty containers now. Of course, telling my husband something is “in the white box on the shelves” has proven a little more ambiguous than I anticipated. He’ll figure it out. Someday.

DIY bookshelves



tricia March 26, 2012 at 7:19 am

It looks beautiful! I love the print too : o )

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Thanks so much, Tricia! I really appreciate it.

Meghan July 25, 2012 at 2:40 am

Love the bookcases, and coincidentally just bought the dress form artwork the other day. I bought ‘her sister’ too.

Paula Parrish March 26, 2012 at 7:38 am

Hello Chris,
Awesome job! Your bookcase decor looks amazing. I love the contrast of the white and teal.
Smiles, Paula

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Thank you, Paula! I’m so glad they’re done! :)

Judy March 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

You did an exceptional job. I love it…every bit of it.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Thank you, Judy!!

Erin @ How to Nest for Less March 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

Holy smackers!!! This is absolutely gorgeous!! So elegant and chic. LOVE IT.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Awesome comment, Erin! Thank you!

Kim @ Plumberry Pie March 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

Looks fantabulous and to think, it all started w/the Billy!! We have two Billies here, but I don’t think they’ll ever be transformed to that awesomeness. My husband and I don’t have those skills:). Thanks for the inspiration. I need to finish a playroom makeover and I was starting to lose steam. Always helps to see someone elses’ end result to light the fire back up! Have a great week!!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Believe me, Kim. There was a time that I thought my husband and I didn’t have those skills either! Don’t sell yourself short! :) Thank you!

Pine Tree Home March 26, 2012 at 9:03 am

Looks fab. I really like the contrasting paint color on the backs too. Nice job.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Thank you, Pine Tree Home!

Paige @ Little Nostalgia March 26, 2012 at 9:03 am

LOVE. I’m dying to do a wall of Billys myself, and yours turned out beautifully.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Thank you, Paige! Looks like you need a trip to Ikea, eh? :)

Jenny@EvolutionofStyle March 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

This looks fantastic! Elegantly styled and so beautiful – I love it. Job well done!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Awesome! Thank you, Jenny! By the way–I’ve been replying to your comments for months, and I just realized that I’ve had it turned off. Dar! Just thought you’d like to know that I don’t ignore your sweet comments!

Alicia March 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

This is perfection! I love every little detail, you did a wonderful job!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Thank you so much, Alicia!

Jessica March 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

I love the color you painted inside! The whole project came out wonderful. :)

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Thank you, Jessica! It’s appreciated!

Leanne March 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

This is gorgeous!

Jenna March 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

I like it, but I think it needs some books! That’s what I loved about your inspiration pic – bookcases with a mix of books and other accessories, it made it look more purposeful and substantial!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm

The only problem with that, Jenna is that I didn’t need the shelves for books. I needed them for craft storage. They’re only successful if they work for what I need, ya know? How purposeful it is really depends on the person using it I think. :)

Nicole March 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

You did an absolutely fantastic job! I love the turquoise background and you have done a fabulous, perfect job of accessorizing!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thank you so much, Nicole! That was really nice!

vickyl March 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Please do tell….where did you get the lovely talked about print from?

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

TJMaxx, Vickyl! $16.99. :)

Cassie March 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm

They’re beautiful, but what a tragedy to have a wall full of bookshelves with almost no books on them!!! I would love to see these filled with a book collection.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Gosh, a tragedy? If it were used for a bookcase, I could understand, but these are meant to be storage shelves for my craft room. Not every person will use them for the same thing, ya know? Thank you for saying they’re beautiful, though. :)

Jessica @ Decor Adventures March 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm

It look sreally good. I love all the different elements you used in there, very creative. And the colors are perfect too. Great job!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Thank you, Jessica! It’s a nice feeling to have it done. :)

becky mercado March 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Such a good job. I’m sure it took lots of patience. Sometimes I get impatient and begin to take short cuts….so lazy…but this looks AMAAAzing. Love the accessories.

Heather Eats Almond Butter March 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Wow, it turned out beautiful. I love it, especially all the white against the painted backing of the shelves. Gorgeous!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thank you, Heather! I really appreciate it! P.S. I’ll bet there’s a good story behind “Heather Eats Almond Butter” :)

Stacy March 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I LOVE it!!! I wish I had a wall with out a window I could devote to doing the same thing. Stunning!!!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Thank you, Stacy!

Funky Junk Interiors March 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Oh my gosh… gorgeous! The only tragedy I see in all this is that they aren’t lining one of my walls. :D

Beautifully executed, Chris! (plus all applicable helpers)


Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Ha! I will pass that onto my applicable helpers, Donna. Well said. :) Thank you!!

Beth@AtoZ March 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I absolutely LOVE them and see nothing but gorgeousness one each shelf! Nothing tragic anywhere ;). Fantastic job!!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I love you. Amen.

nest of posies March 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

holy moly!

these are fab! seriously. girl, you got it goin’ on!

beautiful styling too!


Gina @ The Shabby Creek Cottage March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Beautiful job! I love how the white pieces pop against that gorgeous blue. What color is that? It’s perfect!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Thank you, Gina! I really appreciate you stopping by! It’s Boca Raton by Ben Moore.

Janet March 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm

It’s so beautiful and inspiring! You have such a touch for decorating, thanks for sharing it with us!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Thank you, Janet! The decorating was definitely my favorite part. :)

Donna March 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Absolutely gorgeous! I am in the process of building my own, and it will be used for books, but also hoping for a few oter things on the shelves too. The bird and cage are definites!!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality March 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Chris-girl!! These are gorgeous, I just might have to steal this Billie idea when I get in a house. Love, love this, great job on the accessorizing. This is perfect for a craft room office space. Hey, did you get my email about the guest post? I need to get on it, going to the beach this next weekend!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Thank you, friend! What’s so awesome about that is that you CAN do this ’cause you’re gettin’ a new house! Woo Hoo! :) I hope you do it! I love to see everyone’s different versions of them.

Shelley Smith March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

La-la-LOOOOVE how this all came together! :)
I have SUCH a hard time filling empty spaces, because I want them to look clean and simple, but not naked… ya know? You did FABULOUSLY! I love all the clean white dishes and such. So pretty! And the color behind the bookcases is perfect!
Nice work, like always, friend!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Gosh I’m glad we’re friends! It sure does wonders for my self-confidence. :) Love you, sweet girl! Thank you!

Wendy @ the Shabby Nest March 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Chris, your shelves are absolute perfection! I’m in love with all the white storage….simply gorgeous against the teal background. I need some storage like that!! (And the first thing that caught my eye was that adorable print..good snag on that one!)

Chris March 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Thanks so much, Wendy! I appreciate you stopping in!

Beckie March 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

LOVES! I would have broken out in hives decorating them! You did amazing. I am sstill learning that whole visual triangle thing. You nailed it Chris.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm

You’re so sweet, friend! Thank you, Beckie!!

Lori March 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Beautiful! I love how you kept to a color scheme of whites and golds, with just a few darker pieces thrown in for contrast.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Well thank you, Lori! I appreciate that you noticed it. :) It’s something my husband doesn’t notice even if I point it out. :)

Toya March 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Love it, you are the second built in billy’s that I’ve read about and I must say I do love it.

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thank you, Toya! I’m so glad you like them!

Sia March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Do you mind telling what colour you painted the back of the Billys? of course I just put a bunch together a few months ago. :(

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Here’s the link answering some questions, Sia. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Boca Raton!

Kim @ Sand & Sisal March 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I’m freaking out with this post! I’ve shoved my laptop in front of my husband….LOOK WHAT CHRIS DID!!! Yes, he knows you by first name even. It looks phenomenal! Love EVERYTHING about it! Pinning, SU, Tweeting, & FB-ing this one! :)

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

If I could tell you I love you in ten different languages, I would! :) Thank you, sweet girl! What a great thing to say!

Kelly @ DTTDidc March 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Amazing! I would never in a million years guess that this wall was created with Billy bookcases. Love the blue backs, love the accessories, love the styling… LOVE it all! Awesome job!

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

What a great compliment, Kelly. Thank you! I’m glad they “fool the eye” into thinking they’re built in. ;)

Jenna, SAS Interiors March 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Amazing work and so well-styled! I love the blue on the bookcase backs – it really makes the entire wall and accessories pop. -Jenna

Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Thank you so much, Jenna! While it was a big task, it sure was fun playing around with the decorations. :) Thanks again.

marj March 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

love the colors! looks professional!

Michele March 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm

LOVE the turquoise/teal/blue against the white – my kind of colors! Just re-did an extra bedroom in the house with white beadboard and looking for a contrast color, this might fill the bill – thanks for the inspiration!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage March 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm

People do NOT realize how hard that is! And you did a freakin’ fabulous job. I’ve got one bookcase that I am still tweaking and tweaking and tweaking. It’s a puzzle and every time I move something I end up shifting several other things. I love the balance of yours. Not too much but enough! :)

Suzanne March 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

It looks really great! I would love to do “built ins” in my living room. I too don’t really need book storage so I can appreciate your styling!

Dream Mom March 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Wow, they turned out great! Love, love, love the dress print. You did a beautiful job accessorizing the shelves.

Mimi March 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Wow! They look incredible.Like something you’d see in a decor magazine or Crate and Barrel.Spray is my new best friend. It’s amazing how paint can transform odd pieces into a coordinated collection. If I were on that line when you were buying that print, I would have been praying that you’d cahnge your mind and put it down! Great job!

Amy March 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

It looks so good! I love the teal color!

Chris March 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thank you, Amy! I appreciate the comment!

Anna (My Design Ethos) April 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm

This looks amazing. I’ve actually been looking to do a project like this for a budget homeowners display home and this is fantastic inspiration. Did you cover the joins between the bookshelves with moulding? Have I missed the tutorial? Perfect colour choice for the background by the way :)

Chris April 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I sure did, Anna. The tutorial can be found a couple of posts before this one! Thanks!

Megan April 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Love the color! That was certainly a huge task. I can’t handle decorating a two foot long shelf. I am definitely going to pin this for inspiration. I love everything about it. Megan

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries April 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

It’s PERFECT! All it needs now is a kleenex box. :) Love the color and well, pretty much everything about this project!

Mandi @ Little Boy Blue and Mommy Too April 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Wow! This looks amazing!!!! I would never have thought to customize the billy bookcases to this extent! I’m going to bookmark this for a later date! Thank you for the inspiration! Found you through pinterest. :)

Donna April 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Wow! I’ve been talking about hiring someone to make built ins to display my milk glass collection. This would be so much easier and less expensive. Thanks for the wonderful idea. I hope it turns out half as beautiful as yours!

Barbara Grooms April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I absolutely adore how you decorated your bookshelf. It turned out perfect. I honestly can’t wait to come up there to see it in person. I would never have thought of the blue background. What a nice combination of colors. Love it Love it Love it……….Love you! Mom

Wendy J April 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Looks Great! Love the white. The blue is awesome. We were going for this look in our play room but opted out on built-ins since we are renting. But, just thought you’d like to know only the bottom shelves actually have books on them! :) Heading over to see how you made the shelves.

Chris April 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for stopping by, Wendy J! It’s a favorite project of mine, and I love the storage it’s given me for my craft room. Thanks again!

Rachel May 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

There is not one single book on those book cases. Call me nerdy, but I would love to see shelves like that full of books, not vases and flowers…

Chris May 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

The only problem with that, Rachel is that I didn’t need it for books. I have storage for those already. The whole point was to have extra storage for my craft supplies. Mission accomplished in my opinion!

Sophie July 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

I was sondering what to do with a small small room that will be used as a workspace/office… you made my day :o)

Chris July 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Oh, hooray! I’m so glad, Sophie! Thank you!

Kelly July 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I just stumbled across your blog and had to stop and tell you how stunning these are! I love every single thing about them. I’m moving into a new house in a couple weeks and have a lovely big wall to fill in my family room…this is now my inspiration (even my 70-year-old dad is excited about them.) Thank you! :)

Chris July 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm

You couldn’t have left me a better comment, Kelly! Thank you so much! I hope you build them and love them as much as I do!

Suzanne Kingsbury July 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Thank you thank you thank you!!! This saves me about 2500 dollars. You’re the best. It looks fabulous.

Chris August 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

That’s awesome, Suzanne! You’re welcome! :)

Barbara August 30, 2012 at 12:19 am

WOW!! These are absolutely STUNNING and you decorated them beautifully. What style! I love the blue background. You did an amazing job on these. I just got back from Ikea tonight. We’re getting the Billy Bookcases too, but in the black brown cuz of my house colors. I wish I could have mine have the built in look too, but it won’t work for me … I just wanted to take a moment though and tell you this is fabulous!!! I’ve Pinned your post so I can check it out later when I DO have a place where I can do this!! Thanks for the inspiration!

Emma September 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

This is amazing. Its a great result after so much hard work! Ikea 2013 has finally arrived in Australia so thanks to this, I’m all inspired to do a Ikea Hack of my own.

Chris September 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thank you so much, Emma! I appreciate the encouragement! :)

Elizabeth Brown September 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

I love it. You did an amazing job and it would have probably cost you about $1,500 to have someone install one for you. I would like to have shelves that could hold more weight and I don’t think the Billy Bookcases can. Thanks,

Chris September 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Agreed, Elizabeth. I’m so glad we were able to figure it out for sooo much less!

Erica September 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Oh, I absolutely adore this! It made me daydream a bit about owning a house at some point. If only!

I shivered a little though at the thought of dusting everything on these shelves! Ha!

Chris September 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Me too, Erica! That’s why I haven’t done it yet. :) Thank you!

Cindy October 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I have billy cases and wanted to paint the backs. How did you prep the backs? I’m fearful the paint won’t adhere b/c they are not wood.

Ellen November 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Love, love, LOVE this! I’ve been trying to figure out how to decorate our home office for months and am so happy to have found your blog for inspiration! I just bought some Billy bookcases and Benjamin Moore Boca Raton paint today! What is the color of the other walls in the room? The whole look is just stunning. Thanks for sharing!

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