A Library Wall Ikea Hack In East London


  Metallic, white and neon coloured objects work well against deep inky blue colours like this.

Metallic, white and neon coloured objects work well against deep inky blue colours like this.

A couple of weeks ago I popped by my friend Rob and his lovely girlfriend Olivia's new home in Leytonstone. They had moved there just over a year ago and had to refurbish the whole house. After spending a lot of money on builders to remove walls and replaster all of downstairs (and investing in a super nice marble bathroom upstairs) they didn't have much money left over to spend on furnishings.

Rob told me that he had always loved the 'library look' that often frequents an expensive home or a Soho members club, but employing a carpenter to create bespoke shelving was out of the question as new home owners. That's when he had the idea to create the look with an ingenious 'Ikea Hack' with Ikea's Billy Bookcase's, decorative mouldings and some lightweight duropolymer coving from the DIY store.

  The library wall provides masses of storage for Rob & Olivia, as well as ample space for decorative objects   to be on show in the room.

The library wall provides masses of storage for Rob & Olivia, as well as ample space for decorative objects to be on show in the room.

Rob brought four Billy Bookcases from Ikea at a cost of £55 each. He also brought four Billy height extension units to make the shelves as tall as they could go in the room. He built the four flatpacked bookshelves, added the height extensions, then placed the bookcases side by side and screwed them together. He also screwed them to the wall so that they were secure.

To disguise the the fact that four single bookcases were attached together, and to give it that decorative edge, Rob concealed the joins by gluing on some flat decorative moulding down the bookcase sides with No More Nails glue.

  Rob used decorative pine mouldings that you can buy cheaply in any DIY store to disguise the joins of the bookcases, so it looks like one bespoke piece.

Rob used decorative pine mouldings that you can buy cheaply in any DIY store to disguise the joins of the bookcases, so it looks like one bespoke piece.

To give the top of the library wall more detail and appear seamless, Rob glued lightweight coving along the top of all the bookcases. The general intended purpose of coving is to join the top of walls with the ceiling in a room to create a smooth and visually interesting transition, which I also think has been achieved here on the library wall:

  Lightweight coving stuck to the top of the bookcases is an easy and convincing way to pimp up the joined bookshelves. I would never have known these were four Ikea bookcases stuck together if I hadn't been told!

Lightweight coving stuck to the top of the bookcases is an easy and convincing way to pimp up the joined bookshelves. I would never have known these were four Ikea bookcases stuck together if I hadn't been told!

Rob then painted entire library wall a beautiful deep inky blue. Try Farrow & Ball's 'Stiffkey Blue' or Abigail Ahern's 'Bowery Blue' for a similar colour. For a shelving unit like this make sure the paint is a hard wearing eggshell finish so the paint doesn't scratch off when you move things around, and for the best effect use an all-in-one basecoat and primer beforehand.