This one's been a long time coming but I really wanted to share how we were able to take some short Billy Bookcases from IKEA and create another bank of built in shelves, like we did in our family room here. A mantle on top really finished out this living room and the shelves give it some much needed character and storage. We love IKEA hacks (another one here, and here) and this one did not disappoint. We did a non-IKEA built in here that's worth checking out too if you're thinking of adding to your home.
In my dream home I'd have a fireplace in the middle but I was happy to settle for a place to sit and watch tv in comfort. We started by clamping all of the Billy Bookcases together (these are the 41 3/4 tall version). Then Joey attached them to each other at the sides with screws deep enough to go through to the other side without poking out. At this point we could slide the whole unit to make sure it was centered on the wall.
Then we started trimming it out with 4" trim board (the same kind we used in the family room project).
Here's another view.
While the trim board is pretty it also provided a gap between the top of the shelves and the eventual mantle board. We used that gap to install an outlet facing down so we could plug in our electronics as well as 2 outlets facing upward so I can plug things into the mantle top (lamps, Christmas lights, etc).
This is the downward facing outlet.
Here's what it looked like going in.
And here it is finished.
Then we attached 2x4s to the wall directly across from the top of the trim pieces. We screwed these into the studs. I forgot to take a picture at this stage so this rendering will hopefully get the idea across.
Joey installed the mantle outlets by using extension cords stripped and attached to the new outlets (and plugged into the wall behind the shelves). The mantle is an inexpensive length of melamine shelving. There is a "seam" in the middle but it's very discrete. Again, if this were my dream house I would've insisted on a top notch wooden mantle but I'm completely happy with this one and it looks better than I had expected (not cheap looking at all, whew).
I really love having these outlets but if I had it to do over I would've had them installed on the sides, up near the top, so they wouldn't be as visible.
Almost there and so much better!
Here's how we trimmed out the sides of the mantle. I had some white paint matched to the melamine and shelves and, once this was painted, the little flaws were covered up.
We used quarter round trim at the point where the top of the mantle meets the wall. This picture was taken before I caulked and cleaned up the paint, but it still looks good. I also painted all of the trim pieces in a nice gloss to make it look clean and new.
Joey notched out the back corners of the center shelves to make room for the speaker cords and tv/dvd player cords. He drilled a small hole through the side here to allow room for the cord to come over to the next shelf.
We trimmed out the bottom using the same trim as the top. Easy peasy. More details on this process over at our previous built in (including how we covered the seams where the shelves met next to each other).
This was the fun part. I finally got to pull some pretty stuff from storage and fill it with meaningful items that make me happy every day.
This is now a beautiful room to walk into. It's the first thing visitors see and that makes me happy.
Such a happy improvement!
Here you can get a peek at the boxes Joey made to hide the lamp cords. I've filled them with pinecones from our vacation at the Grand Canyon so they are practical, pretty, and meaningful to me.
We spent under 400.00 for the whole project and it looks like a million bucks! I hope this has been a helpful explanation. Don't be afraid to tackle something like this. It's a fairly uncomplicated and inexpensive way to add oodles of character and happiness to your home.