Monday, January 2, 2012

DIY Bulit-In Bookcase

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to what the New Year holds! 2011 was such a great year for my family and I am excited for what 2012 has in store for my business as well!

So I know its been a few weeks since my last husband is a teacher and had the last few weeks off so we have been spending a lot of time together as a family. But, now its back to work! One of the things we worked on over the Holiday's was my office bookcase. If you read my post on changing our formal dining room into my home office, you know that we are in the process of making that happen. We have an alcove on of the walls and I thought that would be the perfect place for a large bookcase. I spent a lot of time scouring the internet and discount stores for inexpensive bookcases, but they were really hard to find! The least expensive white bookcases I found were online at Target for $99 each, but of course they were sold out! And I would have had to buy 3 to get the look I was going for. So of course I started brainstorming how I could achieve this look for less. My husband and I always seem to do this; we have an idea, we get quotes from companies, stores, etc., learn that it is going to cost WAY too much, and we figure out how to do it ourselves for less...

I am a huge fan of HGTV and I practically have it on the TV all day long. One of my favorite designers is Candice Olson. I have been watching her for years and one thing she always does in her designs is purchase inexpensive furniture and dress it up to make it look high end. This is where I got the idea to buy 3 cheap $49 white Billy bookcases from IKEA and use molding to transform it into a large high end "built-in"!

This is what it looked like after we put together the bookcases individually. (I had already painted the alcove blue and we decided to leave off the cheap backer board of the bookcases so the blue would show through).

From here we purchased MDF boards to run along the bottom and vertically to hide the seams. We also purchased crown molding to run along the top. Overall we spent about $75 in trim. I took one of the shelves into Home Depot and they did a color match for some paint that I could use to paint the trim once installed. This way I only had to paint the trim and not the entire bookcase.
My husband used a nail gun and some wood glue to adhere the trim to the bookcase. You can pre-cut your trim at Home Depot, but we used our table saw at home. It was all very easy until we got to the crown molding. We had a lot of waste trying to figure out how to make the cuts in order for the corners to fit seamlessly. You would think cutting it at a 90 degree angle would do it...but that is only if you are laying the trim flat. Crown molding leans at an angle. So we FINALLY after countless attempts and hours of watching youtube videos figured out that when using a miter saw (which we had to borrow from the neighbor) you have to not only cut the piece at 90 degrees, but you have to hold it on an angle while cutting it (oh and hold it upside down at the same time). Then you have to learn whether or not to take the left piece or the right piece once cut.

I know that probably sounds really confusing, but if you are ever doing a project like this, e-mail me and I would be more than happy to explain. Believe me, I wish I would have had someone to call 500 wasted cuts earlier...

The overall transformation of the bookcases is amazing! And it only cost us about $250!! It was so worth the difficultly and we learned so much from doing it. I love working on projects like this with my husband. We make such a good team. I am so happy with the way it turned out and I can't wait to finish the entire room so I can show you before and after photos. Here is what the bookcase looked like after the trim was added.

Later this week I am going to blog about how to style a bookcase and show you how mine turned out! Stay tuned!!


  1. That looks great, Jennifer! I'm totally impressed (even if the crown molding took a little longer than anticipated)! When I get a larger house, I'm totally going to try that. Thanks for the idea!

    (I also pinned this on Pinterest!)

  2. This looks incredible. I love it! You have great shelves and are pros in cutting molding. Lol!

  3. Thanks girls! I can't wait to show you what it looks like decorated and makes it look even better!