How to make over and style an IKEA Billy Bookcase using fabric and cardboard.
I have not one, but two IKEA Billy bookcases that need to be transformed so they coordinate with the new color scheme I am doing my studioffice in. They are 20 years old –a true testament that they are indeed a classic IKEA item that you can use by itself or in many combinations. IKEA makes glass doors, solid doors, lights, and extenders so that you can customize this classic bookshelf in many different ways.
I customize mine by using fabric covered cardboard inserts that can be easily changed almost instantly giving them a brand new look. You can do this bookcase makeover on any bookshelf, cabinet, or china closet to add a permanent or temporary change.
I moved everything out of the one on the right so I could begin to change the fabric.
The 18 year old fabric is going bye-bye. I used it in the decorating book I wrote. One of the projects was to show how easy it was to change the bookcases for the seasons. This fabric was used for the summer look. It, too is a classic and still looks good even after all these years.
I used cardboard from large appliance boxes to make the fabric covered inserts. Once the shelves were set, I measured the width and height above each shelf and cut the cardboard to size. I marked the back of each piece of cardboard with – top middle, bottom, etc. If I have to remove them, I won’t have to guess where they go when I put them back on.
I removed the old fabric and added the new fabric which is actually a flat sheet.
You may remember how I used the fitted sheet as a window treatment in this post – In An Instant No-Sew Window Treatment.
I cut white fabric to the same size to use as a liner for the sheet which is slightly transparent. Without the liner – the brown cardboard would make the white – look off white. When I made these backdrops the dollar store didn’t sell white foam board. I have lots of white fabric and instead of buying and cutting all new boards it was easier to just make a white fabric liner. The color of the cardboard only matters with thin see-through fabrics.
Cut the fabric about 5 inches longer and wider than the size of the cardboard so you can wrap the excess to the back and secure with packing tape. It is as easy as wrapping a gift box.
Once the fabric is secured onto the cardboard – place into the shelf. As you can see I had a little help.
I didn’t worry about matching the pattern, since I know there will be stuff on each shelf to hide anything that is not lined up.
Fabric, like paint is the easiest and most inexpensive way to transform just about anything. My Billy has a brand new look and it only took about an hour of my time. Now I have to do its buddy on the other side of the room.
IKEA used to sell lights for Billy. I have one on each of mine. They add the perfect mood light at night. This is a view from the side – from the front you hardly notice it. I checked the IKEA website, but I couldn’t find the lights.
They are just one more way that you can customize a Billy bookshelf or any bookshelf you may have.