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IKEA Hack: DIY Built In Bookshelves with a Window seat

We added DIY built in bookshelves to our daughter’s bedroom and it completely transformed the space! Check out this easy IKEA hack window seat with built in shelves.

faux built in shelves
ikea hack built ins

I have been so excited to tackle this project in Maggie’s room!

Maggie has a room that’s pretty small, and we all know kids collect lots of stuff. Between her books and her treasures, her small space was overwhelmed with a mess that she couldn’t navigate.

It created a situation where she didn’t want to spend time in her room because she couldn’t get to her favorite toys and there was nowhere to play.

Hey! If you love this idea, I rounded up some of our other best home improvement projects for you to check out. Be sure to pin your favorites so that you can find them again easily.

And you can sign up below for my VIP group, where I’ll send more of my very best home ideas straight to ya.

faux built in shelves

Benefits of DIY Built In Bookshelves

For us, these DIY built in bookshelves solved so many problems.

  • They are a fraction of the cost of hiring a carpenter to create built in bookshelves.
  • It is a completely customizable project so that we can tailor it to the size of the room.
  • DIY built in bookshelves provide a huge amount of organized storage for books, toys, baskets, boxes, and more.
  • They can grow with a child, so as Maggie gets older she can use them in various ways.
  • If the room ever serves a different purpose they’ll still be useful.
  • They’re easily removable.
ikea hack built in shelves

Adding a DIY Window Seat to Built ins

In an effort to really maximize storage while still creating a space that’s fun to hang out in, we added a DIY built in window seat to the room as well.

It serves multiple purposes and I’m so glad we did it!

The DIY window seat is actually made using an IKEA Besta tv unit, so there’s easily accessible storage underneath. So Mags has bins of toys hiding under there that she can get to easily.

It’s also a great spot to read books or hang out with friends. And Maggie loves that she can safely get up on it and look out the window.

Finally, it takes up much less space than the dresser that was previously there, which means the open space in the room has increased.

We did add a DIY fluting treatment to the doors, which I’ll share about soon.

I also have a project coming for over the window to soften and add a little texture and color to the area.

ikea hack built in window seat

Where is the dresser?

If you missed it, we added a closet dresser and DIY closet shelves to Maggie’s closet to save space and increase storage.

You can find out all about it here!

Before and AFter adding DIY Built In Bookshelves

We all love a good before and after, so let’s see it! In the photo below, much of Maggie’s stuff was out of the frame of the photo. But you get the idea of the cluttered and disorganized space it was.

kids room before faux built ins

And here’s the after!

ikea hack built in window seat

Supplies You’ll Need

So here’s what you’ll need!

faux built in shelves
faux built ins

How to Make DIY Build In Bookshelves with a Windowseat

  1. Build the Besta tv stand, leaving the doors off. Set aside.
  2. Construct a frame to go underneath the Besta if you’d like to raise the height of the windowseat and create a toe kick. We used scrap material for this, but 2x4s would work best. Cut them to the length and depth you would like, and screw them together, adding center cross beams for strength. Screw this to the wall.
  3. If you’re adding to the depth of the Besta unit, add a piece of wood at the back of the top of the unit so that there isn’t a gap between it and the wall. Attach the Besta unit to the frame you created.
  4. If you’d like to add the fluting that we did to the doors, follow this tutorial. Otherwise, you can attach the doors as they come.
  5. Due to size constraints we needed to trim our Billy bookcases down by 1″ of depth. If you need to to the same, use a table saw to trim the necessary depth or width off of the side pieces and each shelf. You can skip this if you want to leave them as is.Build the Billy bookcases, leaving the shelves and backing off, so you’re basically creating a frame.
  6. Slide the frames into place against the wall.Attach the frames to the walls by either screwing them into the walls directly or using brackets.
  7. To build the cabinet uppers, we used scrap material sourced from other IKEA shelves. You could also use wood and paint it to match. Cut pieces of your material to the height and depth remaining between the Billy bookcase and the ceiling (or your desired height).
  8. If you’d like to install lighting, now is the time. You could also forego the lights if you like. Drill a hole into the front facing piece of your uppers and install your desired lights. Run the wire down behind the bookshelf if your light is hardwired.
  9. To attach our uppers, we used peg connections between the Billy bookcases and the upper. Drill matching holes in the two pieces toward each corner, insert a peg into the bottom holes, and then slot the top holes into the pegs as you set the uppers down onto the lowers.
  10. Reinforce these connections by adding trim at all joints. Use a nail gun to nail the trim in for easy application.
  11. Finally, caulk all edges to give the built in bookshelves a finished look.
kids room before faux built ins
ikea besta tv stand hack
ikea besta tv stand hack
ikea hack built in shelves
ikea hack built in shelves
ikea hack built in shelves
ikea hack built in shelves with lighting
ikea hack built in shelves with lighting

More IKEA Hacks

Hope you love this IKEA hack idea to create DIY built in bookshelves! We’re truly thrilled with how it turned out.

ikea hack windowseat
ikea hack built in window seat

DIY Built In Bookshelves

Yield: DIY Built In Bookshelves
Active Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Difficult
Estimated Cost: $500

We added DIY built in bookshelves to our daughter's bedroom and it completely transformed the space! Check out this easy IKEA hack window seat with built in shelves.

Materials

  • IKEA Billy bookcases
  • IKEA Besta tv stand
  • Wood (2x4s)
  • White laminate material (or plywood and white paint)
  • Caulk
  • Lighting (optional)

Tools

  • Drill
  • Nail gun
  • Table saw
  • Screwdriver

Instructions

  1. Build the Besta tv stand, leaving the doors off. Set aside.
  2. Construct a frame to go underneath the Besta if you'd like to raise the height of the windowseat and create a toe kick. We used scrap material for this, but 2x4s would work best. Cut them to the length and depth you would like, and screw them together, adding center cross beams for strength. Screw this to the wall.
  3. If you're adding to the depth of the Besta unit, add a piece of wood at the back of the top of the unit so that there isn't a gap between it and the wall. Attach the Besta unit to the frame you created.
  4. If you'd like to add the fluting that we did to the doors, follow this tutorial. Otherwise, you can attach the doors as they come.
  5. Due to size constraints we needed to trim our Billy bookcases down by 1" of depth. If you need to to the same, use a table saw to trim the necessary depth or width off of the side pieces and each shelf. You can skip this if you want to leave them as is.
  6. Build the Billy bookcases, leaving the shelves and backing off, so you're basically creating a frame.
  7. Slide the frames into place against the wall.
  8. Attach the frames to the walls by either screwing them into the walls directly or using brackets.
  9. To build the cabinet uppers, we used scrap material sourced from other IKEA shelves. You could also use wood and paint it to match. Cut pieces of your material to the height and depth remaining between the Billy bookcase and the ceiling (or your desired height).
  10. If you'd like to install lighting, now is the time. You could also forego the lights if you like. Drill a hole into the front facing piece of your uppers and install your desired lights. Run the wire down behind the bookshelf if your light is hardwired.
  11. To attach our uppers, we used peg connections between the Billy bookcases and the upper. Drill matching holes in the two pieces toward each corner, insert a peg into the bottom holes, and then slot the top holes into the pegs as you set the uppers down onto the lowers.
  12. Reinforce these connections by adding trim at all joints. Use a nail gun to nail the trim in for easy application.
  13. Finally, caulk all edges to give the built in bookshelves a finished look.

Notes

In an effort to really maximize storage while still creating a space that's fun to hang out in, we added a DIY built in window seat to the room as well.

It serves multiple purposes and I'm so glad we did it!

The DIY window seat is actually made using an IKEA Besta tv unit, so there's easily accessible storage underneath. So Mags has bins of toys hiding under there that she can get to easily.

It's also a great spot to read books or hang out with friends. And Maggie loves that she can safely get up on it and look out the window.

Finally, it takes up much less space than the dresser that was previously there, which means the open space in the room has increased.

This post also contains affiliate links for your convenience. This means that I receive a small commission should you make a purchase via one of these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you as always for your support!

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