This post is all about transforming those drab BILLY bookcases into stylish upcycled cupboards! 

Ah, Ikea Billy bookcases – an essential in many households! Whether you’ve had one of these classic IKEA pieces for years or have just bought your first one recently, there’s no denying the practicality they bring to any room. But what happens when it comes time to upgrade or refresh that trusty albeit tired Billy? This post is all about transforming those drab bookcases into creative and stylish upcycled works of art! With some clever hacks, must have amazon products and pastel paint we are sure to breathe new life into even the oldest of Billies without breaking the bank. So, grab your paint brush and let's get started on reviving our beloved piece of iconic furniture with these fabulous Ikea hacks for the Billy bookcase.


The Bookcase

 I needed a cheap solution for a place to store my ever-growing collection my products at my house and I instantly thought of IKEA. I’ve always had BILLY bookcases, they are affordable and super easy to make your own! If you’re a DIY pro, you can build them yourself, or if you’re like me (can’t think of anything worse) you can hire an IKEA pro to come and help!
Ikea BILLY Bookcase

First Step: Painting

 One affordable and creative way to do this is by using old paint you already have around the house. To give this neglected bookcase new life, start by cleaning off any dust or dirt, then take some pastel paint and get creative – you can layer different colours for subtle or bold contrast depending on your design goals. I used Farrow & Ball - Faded Terracotta for the exterior and LICK Green 09 (the perfect pistachio) for the interior of the cupboards. I love these colours, I have them dotted all around my house so I knew the bookcases would fit in.

LICK and Farrow & Ball Paint


Get Organised!


Think about what you’re going to store in your transformed Billy Bookcases, and would anything make it easier? Creating hanging space was super important to me as I need product to be easy to grab when doing photoshoots. I ordered these FAB gold (of course) rails from IKEA (IKEA HULTARP) and some gold hooks. Installing these has made the perfect grab & go teacup holder.


I grabbed a few of the IKEA PALYCKE and IKEA CISSAN to help with storage as well. They add another layering of shelving and are great for anything light that you don’t want to take up space on the main shelves. The more organised the better!! You can never have too much storage.

getting organised with ikea gold rail and shelves

Have you thought about lighting?

An extra that you may not have thought about adding to you BILLY Bookcase is lighting. Being able to see everything is essential and so easy to achieve. I used battery motion censored lights on the part of the cupboards that weren’t glass. They attach with a magnet and can be charged with a USB so no annoying wires or switches!! I got these ones from amazon.
 ikea motion lights

Finishing Touches

To finish off your new bookcase think about adding gold details (the more the better)! I used gold leaf and added it to the bevelled edge of the doors. Although subtle, this is my favourite part of the upcycle I did, no one will have cupboards like these – they are completely unique, and I love that!
Although you don’t need to add handles to the IKEA BILLY Bookcases, I think it makes them look much more expensive and gives you another way to show off your style and creativity. I chose these green and gold vintage looking handles from Anthropologie. I love how art-deco they look!!
adding gold details to bookcase


The IKEA BILLY Bookcase Transformation is complete! I’m so happy that I finally have a space to put all of my products, and not just leave it in boxes. The final look is so personal to my style and got rid of the boring white cupboards.


Transformed Ikea Billy Bookcase

Here's what I filled my cupboard with... 

Yvonne Ellen Tableware

Make sure you tag me in your IKEA BILLY Bookcase upcycles and transformations! #yvonneellen

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