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DIY Ikea Billy Bookcase Built In Bookshelves Part 2

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Happy Friday!

Thanks for all the kind words regarding yesterday’s post with our IKEA built-in bookshelves. Of course assembling IKEA furniture is always super fun, but my favorite part is what we are sharing today. The part where we make it look pretty! 😉

First, we had to pick where to put all the shelves- it was actually pretty challenging. I wanted to use every single shelf that came with our units, and didn’t want any of them to go to waste. But it was also unrealistic to have a ton of really short shelves because books are typically taller than 3″.  😀

It took some finagling and a lot of pulling books out of boxes to hold them on the shelf to see how they fit, but in the end we got it just right. And it’s not like it’s permanent- I fully expect my library to grow and to rotate, so as new things come in and out it’s great to know that we have the option of moving the shelves around. And shoving a curtain into the window to pretend like it was hung up (isn’t it super cute?!?)!

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It wasn’t time to add the books just yet- we had more to do! Another finishing detail that helped the bookshelves look less like a bunch of Ikea furniture pushed together and more like a piece of custom furniture was using caulk to fill in all of the holes after we placed the shelves. We simply just squirted in a bit of white caulk into the hole and then used our fingers to smash it inside, using a paper towel to clean off the excess that ended up outside the hole. You can really only see that the holes there if you’re looking for them, rather than immediately seeing rows of black dots everywhere.

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So after having the bookshelves already assembled and the crown molding and baseboard installed and the shelves in place, the next thing we did was paint the trim and baseboard to match the color of the bookshelves. Of course IKEA bookshelves aren’t pure white- they’re more of a creamy white- so in the end we opted to take one of the spare shelves to Home Depot and have them do paint matching. The finish that matched best was the high gloss, so that was what we went with. It turned out so awesome! We could hardly even tell a difference between the bookshelves and the trim- it looks like one giant seamless piece.

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And then it was time. Glorious, wonderful, beautiful time – to open all of the book boxes. 😀

As I pulled open each box, scraping my hands and fingernails as I hurriedly ripped off the tape without using scissors, desperate to see my precious babies, I began welcoming my old friends. Hello Mr. Shakespeare welcome back! Miss Austen so glad to see you again! Yay all of the Confessions of a Shopaholic books are back together on one shelf for you all belong.

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We pulled open every single box and gathered every single book from around her house. No book was left behind. We pulled all the cookbooks from the stacks in the kitchen, all of the magazine scattered all over our house and all the poetry books sitting on the coffee table. Everything was then set in the categories. The categories we picked were: general Christian books, books on prayer, devotionals, fiction, poetry and classical books, Jane Austen books (yes she gets her very own shelf and category), real estate market books, business books, photography books, crafting books, art literature books, home design books, finance books, nonfiction books and cookbooks.
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Cookbooks broken into the following category – ethnic cookbooks, American cookbooks, health cookbooks, gluten free cookbooks, baking books, wine and bar guides and preservative/canning/homemade remedy books. We also pulled out the magazines and sorted them by title of magazine and the season rather than the date. So if it’s Christmas time and I want some Christmas inspiration, I have all of the Christmas season put together regardless of what year.

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After we categorize all the books, we then began putting them on the shelf in alphabetical order by author. In the past I have sorted books by color, or by height, or something else really cute, but this time I decided to do it by author. It may not look aesthetically as pleasing, but this isn’t a decoration. This is a library- I need it to function as one. Besides, we already have two bookshelves more for decorations and trinkets and pretty books.

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See those baskets above with letters in them on the shelf then on the very bottom shelf in the round basket? This is my favorite garage sale find of all time. These are letters from World War II between a lady and a captain in the army. It’s only his letters to her, so we’ve put them in order, and have had time fun reading them. Some of them are so supremely romantic and heart-wrenching, and some of them are really funny. We got them all for $20. When we bought them we asked the lady if she was sure she wanted to sell them, and she said she bought them from an estate sale with the family didn’t want them any longer. I will never understand how someone could get something like this up! I’m planning a whole future blog post about these letters to share some of that romance, without giving away too much of their personal details.

That space to the right of the bookshelf that looks just like an empty wall? That’s actually where the door will be when it opens. At this point we hadn’t yet installed the door back on yet. When the door is open, there’s about a 3 inch gap between the edge of the door and the beginning of the bookshelf, so it fits perfectly. Also- that is my sister’s dog, Jake who we were watching in the photo below. 🙂

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I can’t express to you all how much joy it brings my heart to be able to walk into this room, pick a book and sit down and start reading. I’ve already gone through so many, even just a few pages at a time just to say hello. Just to get lost just for a little bit and enjoy the story. Just to take my mind off remodeling, or work, or writing, just to sit and enjoy someone else’s world. So fun.

We try to keep 80% capacity role in our house, and try to keep things at least 20% empty. So we have room to bring in new things, and get rid of old things, and not feel cluttered. I think we did pretty good on our bookshelf. We still have space to add in more things, as new books always find their way into our home. But I’m open for suggestions- what books do you all like? Any must-haves to add to my collection?

Photo of Tania Griffis, owner of Run to Radiance
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Tania Griffis is an accomplished writer, blogger, and interior designer with a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her popular blog, Run to Radiance, in 2011, demonstrating her design expertise through the personal remodeling of six houses to millions of readers across the globe.

Tania also owns The Creative Wheelhouse, a respected ghostwriting agency for bloggers, further showcasing her talent for creating engaging and informative content.

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  1. Oh man, your bookcases look great! I can’t wait to put up some in our house – our books are still packed up in boxes from like a year and a half ago (oops!). I also can’t wait until you share about those letters… So romantic!!

    1. Thanks Brynne! I understand your pain. It felt really, really good to finally be able to unpack! 🙂

  2. holy maceroni! i can’t hardly believe how many books you have– whatever did you do with them before these shelves?? and can we please be friends on goodreads? i need to read what you’re reading!

    1. Thanks Char! That’s my favorite part too…which is good because it was the most work for us to do by far. By us I mean my husband 😀 hehe.

  3. Which ikea shelves did you use and how many were purchased to get that look? How much did it all cost- materials and all?

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  5. Hi…your bookcase looks great. I’m in the middle of doing one myself and I was wondering what color did Home Depot use to match the billy bookcase? I added two extensions at the top, but had to buy the birch veneer because they didn’t have the “white” ones so I’m trying to figure out the color to use. I was going to take a shelf up there and let them match it up, but I was just wondering if they had a name for it! Any help would be greatly appreciated? 🙂


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