See How 8 DIYers Each Transformed 1 IKEA Classic

The IKEA Billy—a bookshelf so familiar it goes by its first name—is one of the most popular furniture items in America, if not the world. The storage stalwart's simple design and choice of colors make it easy to incorporate into almost any decor right out of the box. But it also serves as a great blank canvas for ambitious homemakers ready to pull out power tools and paint and devote a little time to customization. Ahead, some of our favorite Billy upgrades.

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  1. Not Your Typical Paint Job


    Take your Billy to the next level with a patterned and textured paint job. After securing enough paint stirrers to cover the side of your shelves, use painter's tape to mark off a geometric pattern and get to work. A genius addition of hooks allows for even more efficiency in low-storage areas like the bathroom.

  2. Luxe Library Lighting


    If you crave a higher brow look, don't turn your nose up at this plain Jane. With the addition of some crown molding and lights, the old standby will be transformed into the ideal place to showcase art, collectibles, and books. Paint the back of the case a bright color to really help your displayed items to pop.

  3. A Crooked Console


    If you're looking for something even more modern than the standard IKEA ensemble, turn this shelving unit on its head—er, side—and split diagonally into two units for a very geometric console. You can use a spare Billy as parts to build the extra cubbies. Then, keep together or split the pair for use around the home as a buffet.

  4. Uplifting Arrangement


    Elevate the look of any room literally and figuratively in one move: Raise your Billy bookshelves off the ground several inches and secure to the wall. Not only do the floating shelves give the room a polished appearance, they create the illusion of more space by clearing the floor below.

  5. Trim a Little Off the Top


    While most of these hacks require paint, hammer, and nail, this valance project puts your sewing skills to task. The addition of the valance adds a fun flair atop shelves in a nursery or child's room. Swap out fabric for felt cut in the same pattern for a no-sew version.

  6. Ready for a Wheelie


    Outfit a short shelf with wheels and, all of a sudden, you have a mobile work station. Transporting all sorts of supplies becomes a breeze. The possibilities are endless: next-level lemonade stands, anyone?

  7. Pull up a (Window) Seat


    Built-in bookshelves are a highly coveted and cost-prohibitive item for book lovers looking to showcase their home libraries. Billy to the rescue: The bookcases can achieve a more permanent look with crown molding. Bonus points if yours top or frame a window seat.

  8. Kitchen Island


    With sides of beadboard and a butcher block top (also from IKEA), this once-bookshelf is unrecognizable as a country kitchen's island. Max out storage possibilities by adding wire baskets to the side for paper goods.

  9. For more...

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