Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack – French Style

This Ikea bookcase has been sitting in my home office for several years now. Ikea book shelves and furniture in general are so functional and budget friendly. They can be very plain Jane though and I’m going to share how we made this Ikea Billy bookcase fabulous!
french bookcase, Ikea Billy Bookcase hack, DIY project. This DIY Ikea Billy Bookcase hack is simple and inexpensive and turns a plain bookshelf into an elegant French style piece for your home.
My home office had been one of our girl’s bedrooms and back when she moved out I moved my office and studio in here. I purchased a few pieces of furniture from IKEA including this Billy Bookcase. The Billy bookcase served me well and I had used it mostly for storing magazines and books. In going with a more zen feel for my updated office I donated my piles and years worth of magazines and books.
bookcase styling - Look at how beautiful this Ikea Billy Bookcase hack turned out. With just a coat of paint and a few simple touches, it's like brand new.

This is how it looks now, used as a display bookcase and to store some of my styling props for photographic work. I was inspired by Brooke Giannetti’s Patina Style sunroom office and her beautiful book that I go back to time and time again.

For my Ikea Billy Bookcase hack, I was inspired by this beautiful antique French bookcase from Brooke Giannetti's office.
Mine is a redo…not a treasured antique, but still I was inspired by the one above.
Ikea bookcase - The complete Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack, finished and looking better than ever.
I had a vision of ramping up the bookcase a few notches to look more elegant and to repurpose it, rather than buying or building something new. Since we had already painted the floors white (see that post HERE), I figured that I’d leave it white and have it sort of fade away into the background and not be a statement piece in and of itself.
bookcase with crown molding

How To Customize An Ikea Bookcase

Measure the top of the bookcase or piece of furniture that you will be upgrading to look classy. Obviously this can be done on not just the Ikea piece, but any furniture piece with a ho-hum top.

Purchase some 2 3/4″ pre-finished wood crown molding, meaning it has already been primed and ready for paint. We bought ours at the local Home Depot.
Measure to the outside corners on each end. You’ll be cutting your crown molding with a compound mitre saw, which really is a necessary tool for cutting two distinct angles as you have on crown molding.
These power tools are just what we need for this Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack.
Compound mitre saw and set the stops on the saw for a 90 degree angle. This is the one that we have, and you can find it HERE.
My husband at work with his power tools to cut the crown molding for my Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack.

Cut 3 pieces, one for each side and one for the front of the Ikea bookcase. Here are 20 additional Ikea Hacks for you to check out!

My husband at work with his power tools, measuring and cutting the crown molding and framework for my Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack.

Pre-drill molding with a 16th or smaller drill bit to avoid splitting the wood crown molding. If using a nail gun pre-drilling would not be necessary as the wood is less inclined to split.

We added crown molding to the top of this Ikea Billy Bookcase to give it an elegant and fresh look. Add a coat of white paint and that's a wrap for this Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack.
Use small finish (3 penny) and nail into drilled holes attaching the molding almost flush (leave a small reveal) to the bottom edge of the bookcase.
Remove the shelves of the Ikea Billy Bookcase before painting and adding the crown molding. See how much better this bookcase looks with a few elegant touches? The perfect Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack.
Finish by caulking the outside corners and along the bottom edge for a clean, built-in look.
Paint to match the bookcase. Since I’ve had that bookcase for several years it had turned slightly off-white, so we used my absolute favorite paint that I’ve talked about before and sprayed it on {which took all of 5 minutes}. Note* We removed the shelves first since we weren’t painting the entire bookcase. If you do need to paint yours, be sure to use a primer/paint combination like the one that I so often used from Rustoleum.
Ikea Billy bookcase hack
And there you have it…fast and easy and inexpensive, but looking fancy and fresh!

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  1. Here in Sweden we love our Billy book shelves as you can use them for almost anything in the home. I love your makeover!

  2. DD's Cottage says:

    Love the new look and the the inspiration!

  3. Little Vintage Cottage says:



  4. The Disney Chef says:

    This is ridiculously clever! I'm obsessed with Ikea so I'm in love with these hacks! – Jerusha, ThePositiveYear.com

  5. Dani Chapman says:

    Such a pretty bookcase! I love it!

  6. ooooh so many things i love here. ikea hack? check. billy bookcase? check. brooke's office? check times a hundred! thanks for sharing your lovely hack. would love for you to visit my blog (hellolovelystudio.com) to see progress on our fixer upper. peace to you right where you are. ~michele

  7. I love your collection of old bottles, basically it all looks amazing. Thanks for sharing it at dream create and inspire. Will share it on our interest board. What a treat! Its always a pleasure! Hope to see you! Maria

  8. Beautiful! I love all the details and your bottle collection is stunning! Thank your for sharing at Dream. Create. Inspire. Link!


  9. Looks so good – I really like the spring florals on top of the bookcase and the glass bottles.

  10. Loving your bookcase makeover. It's coming along great! I can't wait to see your finished office, now I am intrigued!

  11. I love having my own handyman. My husband loves working with his hands and tools. I have been working on my office.

    I have a huge desk to paint. I adore the top of the cabinet. Did I miss a source list for the greens. I’d like to know where I could find something similar. I don’t want it to look too fake. You know the garlands and flowers that say realistic and aren’t in anyway?

    Good luck with the wedding. I know it will be stunning


  12. Iā€™m a Billy believer as well, put a full wall of them together by myself! Your styling is everything!

    1. Some folks diss Ikea furniture but with some upscaling I think they can be fabulous pieces! Enjoy your day Andrea

  13. Those coffee kettles!! One of them looks like the one my grandmother made coffee in on her gas stove. I remember watching her thinking it was soo cool! Thank you for the happy memory!!