Faux Built-in Bookshelves

I am so excited to share this project. It is one I have been dreaming up for a very long time, but between a new child and shift work I was unable to get it done, but it is finally complete! As always, my husband and I try to do things on a budget; we were able to build two amazing 9-foot heigh [faux] built-in bookshelves for a decent cost! Just wait until you see the finished product! They truly look like they were custom made bookshelves, but really they are from Ikea and Home Depot!

Thanks to Pinterest – make sure to give us a follow here to see fun decorating ideas – I found an incredible built-in bookshelf idea that would fit perfectly in our living room. Due to high ceilings and a big area, custom bookshelves would have to be made and I didn’t like the idea of spending an arm and a leg to get this project completed. So instead, I came up with a cheaper option. Ikea to the rescue – cheap, reliable furniture.

We purchased two ‘Billy’ bookshelves from Ikea as well as two kitchen cabinets – on sale – at Home Depot. Then my right hand man, my dad, came to the rescue and did what he does best – make my crazy ideas a reality. We placed the bookshelf on top of the cabinet and secured it together with a 1×12 on each side and then secured it to the wall with a nail gun.

My dad ripped a 1×4 to fit the top of the bookshelf to carry the piece all the way to the ceiling. He then placed a 1×2 down the front two sides to give the shelf a finished touch. To completely make the shelve look like a finished piece, he added a piece of trim on the top and bottom. This makes it look like a more expensive piece and makes it look as if it is built right into our living room area.


The next step was adding wood filler to each nail hole and the spaces between the different pieces of wood making it look like it is all one component. After that it was time to paint it all white to pull it all together! After it was painted it finally started to look like what I had pictured and made me that much more excited to get it complete.

After a couple of paint touch-ups on the walls, it became time to figure out how I was going to decorate the shelves. Again, always a fun, but extremely difficult task. Over the last few months, I have been purchasing random little things that I could use for the shelves. TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby are where I found all of my items. So, the biggest project was figuring out where to place each item without making things look too busy. Baskets, greenery, and vases were my go to for each shelf. I didn’t want to overcrowd any of the shelves and I definitely didn’t want to add too much color to make it look overdone. Our couch pillows and gallery wall (see it here) have teal and mint in them so I, again, stuck with that color as well as neutrals – white and brown. I don’t normally mix gold and silver items, but I felt that because there were multiple shelves, that I could mix the two without it looking weird or misplaced.

I absolutely love that we added the cabinets at the bottom, because it allows me to hide things – like every single toy/book my daughter is playing with at the moment. One of the hardest parts about becoming a mom for me has been always having a messy house. As all you moms know, one minute it is clean and the next it looks like a tornado went through. So, this really helps my OCD-ness because I can put her stuff away and shut the doors instead of having them all in one corner of our living room.


I am so happy with the way everything turned out – even better than the way I dreamed all these months. I can thank my amazing dad for that. We added a barn wood wall in between the shelves, but you all get to wait until next week to see the final product! Trust me you won’t want to miss it – I just sit and stare at it in awe. It turned out spectacular and I almost cut my finger off in the process…probably a good idea to continue letting my dad do the cutting. 🙂




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