September 4, 2018

Our Latest Ikea Hack - Living Room Bookshelves

Hello friends! I hope you had a wonderful long weekend. Today, I am sharing our latest project to kick off the unofficial start of fall. I think many of us tend to gravitate towards all things home this time of year - and nothing makes me happier than a new project! My husband has some time off between jobs and I have been enjoying having his help around here full time.

A little back story for these shelves - I actually thought up this project several years ago and went as far as purchasing the bookshelves (31" tall white Billy bookshelves from Ikea) and placing them on either side of the fireplace. I had lots of doubts (were they too short? did they stick too far out from the fireplace? how many Ikea hacks should one home really have??) and eventually chickened out when it came to adding trim to the shelves to execute the plan properly. I knew we had to cut into parts of the fireplace hearth and mantel and I just wasn't sure enough to commit at that point. The bookshelves were indeed too short and we would need a plan to build a base and even then I just wasn't sure. So the bookshelves ended up as extra storage in a bedroom for a while. But I still couldn't get the idea for these "built-ins" out of my head. Every time I looked at the wall with our faux fireplace, it felt like something was missing. So down from the bedroom they came this summer to give it another shot.
We propped up the bookshelves with some books to get some perspective on how tall we thought they should be. You can see that we are quite the professionals! Ha. We lived with it like this for a couple of days, everybody giving their opinion on whether they thought we could make it work. Let's just say, there was definitely a naysayer in the family. We tossed around ideas of how to build a base and even thought about starting from scratch with new custom built shelves that were less deep (but also less useable for things like books). And then I suddenly remembered that Ikea makes an additional shelf that you can add to the top of a Billy bookshelf and, after a few measurements, we knew we had a plan.
We purchased an extender shelf for each bookcase from Ikea. We did have to cut it down a couple of inches to make it work. Then we added some trim and painted the fireplace to match the Ikea white (Valspar's Dove White is a close match). We had to remove all of the log pieces to paint the mantel surround. The brown brick paneling was from when we first built the faux fireplace and we went ahead and painted that white too. We also added an extender to the electrical outlet so it can be accessed on the bottom shelf of the right bookshelf. We did have a tv mounted over this fireplace at one time so that is the box of wires you see up there. 
Then came the fun part - styling - always a happy day when I have some new shelves to style. :)
I love the charm and interest it adds to our cookie cutter split level. It almost feels to me like these bookshelves were always meant to be here.
We also freshened up the space with a new area rug that I found on clearance at Lowe's. It is the Allen+Roth Kincora beige area rug. I found it in the clearance section and it matches the runner I recently used in my kitchen. I can't find a link online but this was a recent purchase so if you are interested, it would probably be worthwhile to check out your local Lowe's. The nearest Lowe's to me (in Orangeburg, NY) had a couple in stock.
We also picked up a new blue and white striped slipcover for our Stocksund chair from Ikea. I know some may turn up their noses at the mere mention of Ikea, but I will always be a fan because of the ability to freshen things up for a small amount of $$.
Now that I am turning my attention to fall decor, I think I will keep the blue and white in here and add some neutral fall decor. Have no fear, there will be plenty of fall color in my lower level family room. Fall would never be fall to me without some orange and rust mixed in. ;)
I did move our hutch further down the wall into the dining area because it felt too cluttered with the new bookshelves. Both pieces needed some space to breath.
And that's a wrap on the latest changes to our living room. Now to get the kids back to school and decorate for fall. Billy still has a few weeks off before his new job begins. Perhaps enough time to renovate a bathroom?? Hmmm....
Wall Color - Behr Castle Path
Lantern light - (affiliate link - Amazon Progress Lighting Piedmont
Coffee Table - Ikea hack
Chair - Ikea Stocksund with Remvallen slipcover
Rug - Lowes - Allen+Roth Kincora
Basket tray over fireplace - Pottery Barn - Beachcomber basket
Lanterns on fireplace - Pottery Barn
Bar stools - Wayfair - Forest Stool
Windsor Dining Chairs - Wayfair Methuen Side and Arm Chair
Metal basket and wall hooks on plank wall - HomeGoods


  1. Absolutely beautiful! Great job and Happy Belated Labor Day from Old Forge in the ADKs!

  2. Love the book shelves and how you made them look built in. They do look like they have always been there. Great job. Enjoy Billy while he is home before the new job starts. Happy New Week.

  3. As always, your rooms look gorgeous and I love how the bookshelves turned out! Both my kids go back to school this week...I think we are all ready...

  4. I love the bookcases with the fireplace! I agree, new shelves to decorate are so much fun. I bought a new tv stand just because it had more open shelving😀.

  5. That turned out beautifully, Courtney! My husband and I were just discussing a similar project for the lakehouse...I love seeing how yours turned out!

  6. This looks amazing. What a great idea and you did such a great job. Fabulous.

  7. Oh my gosh, Courtney, your home is truly so lovely!! What a great job, it looks as if those bookshelves were always there!


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