Bookshelves Complete

By Kate Riley November 7, 2011

Hey all!  Guess how I spent my weekend?  Filling up those bookcases we built a week ago, yippee!  I love books, and I love decorative objects.  This new wall of bookcases allows me to combine the best of both. I’ve heard such great things about the convenience of Kindle and iPad reading, but for me, there’s nothing like a book to touch and smell, and for savoring the words on a printed page.

How best to begin this project?  I had to start at the back. Grasscloth wallpaper would have been major cool, but expensive and time consuming.  Been there, done that.  Wrapping paper or scrapbook paper might have been fun I couldn’t find the right one. Stencils seemed too busy.  One thing I knew, I was going to pack it with a book + collectible combo and I worried with all the stuff, the background would compete.

I finally decided to paint the back of these bookcases a rich teal color, because 1. it’s a color I never get tired of, 2. it showcases all the white accessories, 3. it coordinates with the colors in the window panels in the room and 4. it was just so dang easy. 


I started this adventure Saturday morning, coffee cup in my left hand, paintbrush in the right. Painting the backs was the easy part.  (Tip: use a good angled brush!) The hard part was later in the day when it was dry.  After I put all the shelves back in, I was staring at piles and piles of my favorite books, and deciding where they should all go.  Very daunting.  Worse, I was distracted with the piles of books because I can’t help but crack the spines or peek at the pages I’ve tabbed in the past or flip through to see what I’ve underlined.  Do you do that?  Underline and tab and bookmark your favorite pages?  I wasn’t allowed to when I was little, but I do it all the time now, I can’t stop.

I finally decided just to organize them by category, like at a bookstore or library (wow, original concept!)  It just makes sense to group them that way.  Fiction, nonfiction, reference, design, faith, travel, etc.  I was only able to fit about 75% of my books because it was starting to feel too crowded, but so be it. I’ll either donate the rest or put them back in a closet where most of them lived before.

wall of bookcases cg


This was our blank wall before the built ins. 

kates bookcases before


For the full story of our IKEA Billys to built ins, read this.

kates bookcases during


Here they are all painted and filled with books + favorite things.

centsational girl bookcases after


I played around all weekend following some of the tips from this article, including stacking the books different ways, and hanging artwork on the outside.  I finally settled on what was visually pleasing to me. 

I bought a set of four butterfly prints at an antique faire years ago and they used to hang in the bathroom, but they fit so nicely on display on the bookshelves.  I added texture with my favorite shell ball, some faux coral candlesticks, and a simple oak tree branch. Pops of color come from other collected items like bowls, candles, and glass balls.

bookcase detail cg


Nothing like a few Goodwill finds to help out!  A few pinkish mauve dollar finds were primed and painted to create new bookends.

goodwill vases turned bookends


Some of my mister’s favorite things are on display too, like his mandolin (which he never plays but was a gift from a friend and it’s sculptural and beautiful) and his record player.  Baskets hold little extras like smaller books or travel guides.

white built in bookcases from left cg


Most of the white ceramics I’ve collected over time from flea markets, thrift stores, or in the clearance section of retails stores (like that lattice lantern, a discount Z Gallerie find).

styled bookcase detail cg


Finally, I changed the old boob light on the ceiling that was bugging me. I found this oval drum shade pendant at Lowe’s for 50% off, spray painted the metal parts antique gold, and hung it above the table. I’m still debating whether to paint those chairs and I’m on the hunt for a new rug, maybe sisal.

kates bookshelves and table


If you’re interested in the paint color, it’s a custom mix from my stash of paints.  It’s half ‘Pewter’ and half ‘Venezuelan Sea’, both by Benjamin Moore.  I’ll try to color match it with some of my paint fan decks later today.

** Update: The pendant is the Barcelona by Good Earth Lighting.  Three close color matches to the dark teal paint are: Dutch Boy ‘Turquoise Sea’ (slightly more saturated); Ben Moore Naples Blue (slightly darker); and Ben Moore Affinity Line ‘Fiji’ (closest match).




  1. Kate, this looks gorgeous! Can’t go wrong with dark teal and fresh white! Love your arrangement…I agree, the right set up can be daunting! We recently switched out our dining room light (it was a spray-painted ReStore find) for a drum shade too. Don’t you just hate boob lights? And why are they sold everywhere?

  2. ooh. la. la. Experiencing book shelf envy…that is gorg! Love the blue and yes, paint the chairs for a pop of color…beautiful!!

  3. Wow it is beautiful!!! I love the molding and the blue paint! and I think a sisal rug would look great under the table . . . I cant believe those are IKEA!!!! totally keeping this in mind for next house!

  4. Beautiful!!! I have built-in bookshelves in my family room that are cherry. I always thought they are so dark. My husband doesn’t want to paint them white. The only take I have seen the back of the shelves painted is if the shelves themselves are white. Do you have any suggestions for wooden bookshelves to brighten them up?

    • Hi Debbie, yes why not the opposite? Got dark shelves? Paint the backs white or a light color, that would look lovely! Or you can simply find whiteboard at a craft or art store, cut it to the size of the backs and paint that, if you’re worried about painting the wood.

  5. Me likey. Love the color. Totally impressed with the arranging – I don’t have this skill and admire yours very much!

  6. I used Ben Moore slate teal on the back of my built-ins. It looks pretty similar and might be a good color match. Your wall looks fabulous.

  7. Oh my, it’s just gorgeous! I think what I like best is that if you ever want to change the background color you can just take the shelves out and create a new look! I don’t think you can do that with most built ins!

    I have a lot of milk glass that I would love to use with a pop of blue behind it! Thanks for such lovely inspiration!

  8. My vote is to paint the chairs. And the boob light thing made me laugh out loud- so glad I am not the only who thinks that about them!

  9. Are the two vases on the left side (second row from top) from Edible Arrangements? I have a vase like that, I think! I use it for flowers. :-)

  10. The lack of books in these bookcases kill me. I feel the same way about the YHL bloggers. Where do home design bloggers keep their books, or do they just not have any?

    • Hi Diana, I love the combination of both books and collectibles, but to each his (or her) own. Love bookcases with just books? Go for it, I say!

  11. Wow, Kate – you did such a great job styling your shelves. I think you managed to find the perfect balance between beautiful and functional!

  12. Very beutiful! Teal is one of my color obsessions! Love the arrangement…you nailed it! I think you could paint the chairs or use a cushion…either would look great! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  13. Kate, your bookshelves look amazing! I’d love to do something like that in my house. I’m curious – I noticed there are outlets behind the bookshelves. Did you move them? Or do you have other outlets in the room so you don’t need them? Thank you!

    • Hi Katie and Twila The outlets are still there, in fact I notched out the back of the bookcases where they exist (but hid them with books, etc.) We can access them at any time if necessary!

  14. Very nice indeed! Love your IKEA “enhanced book cases” and the way you arrange books . . . just like I do it!

  15. What about painting the chairs the same color as the back of the bookcases?? That would be pretty cool I think :) you’re right, the white doesn’t really “go” with that table, but they are both pretty designs! A color change would be perfect :)

  16. Gorgeous… I have these bookshelves on my Christmas List… to “build them in”. Where did you get that Window Bench. I love it!

  17. Kate.. I drool over your projects all the time! This is so very fabulous!! I just re-vamped (kind of) my sewing/craft room…. hmmmm wonder if I should re-do my re-do??? I love this and it is so much more aesthetically pleasing than my brightly coloured dis-jointed sewing room! There really is no reason my quilting/craft stash has to be ‘storage-ish’ right? All be it organized, user friendly and neat… It can still be tranquil and beautiful…. I will have to do some serious conniving.. love it! (did you cut out for all your outlets?)

  18. I have built-in bookcases that I need to add molding too in my office. I’m not critiquing, but why didn’t you choose to build additional shelves on top to make the bookcases go from ceiling to floor? Wouldn’t this have given them even more of a built-in look?

    • Hi Heidi, great point! We’re still thinking about doing that, there is an extension piece from IKEA which will add another shelf to the top. I’d have to remove the crown and reinstall it, no biggie though. Will definitely be checking it out on my next trip to IKEA.

  19. I envy you the to-dream-for shelving. At my house there would be no space to see the rich teal color behind. What are your plans for the area ABOVE the shelves? That would be my display space and the shelves would be wall to wall books. I do like the idea of having some laying down and maybe even a few facing front out.

    Sorry – the idea of underlining or even folding over page corners makes me cringe.
    I did underlining in college textbooks, but even as a child I was not the type to draw in a book with crayon. Still, when I buy used books I am fascinated by anything written inside the front covers.

  20. Hi Kate! Love the new shelves, they look great and are quite timely for my current project which is exactly the same. Bought the bookshelves at Ikea a couple weeks ago and have been waiting to assemble and install because I need to paint the wall first. Doing that tonight and on to bookshelves later this week! I also want to paint the backs of mine a peacock/teal color. I’ve heard painting them can be quite difficult (Jenny at Little Green Notebook said they took three coats each of primer and paint, yikes!). Did you have the same experience? Any tips before I get started on this little adventure? It looks fantastic, thanks for keeping me motivated.

    • Hi Bonnie, I didn’t have any problems painting the backs at all. It’s actually a cardboard of some kind, so two coats of paint (no primer) was all it took. The Ben formula paint is really great, mostly covers in one coat. However, if you’re going to paint the melamine shelving, you will definitely need a primer first!

  21. Gorgeous!!! Love the color you mixed up; the white and gold accessories really pop against it and look so pretty. I know how long it takes to organized shelves…and I don’t even have half the amount that you do! It takes me hours of setting up, standing back, tweaking, changing, standing back again….plus I always end up sitting down on the floor and reading one of the books I’m suppose to be finding a spot for! Yours are super pretty; great job!!

  22. What a treat to the eye! The color is divine and your arrangement of the books and other pieces is so attractive. I love it!

  23. WOW! That is what I think every time I read your blog. WOW!! It looks so beautiful Kate. And thanks again for that past post you did on bookcase styling tips. I have referred to it several times when styling things in my house! You are AMAZING. :)

  24. could you not stack some of the leftover books in the bench under the window? or create a centerpiece with some of them on your table? perhaps if you make some cushions for your chairs they might not look so white. How about some baskets on top of the shelves instead of having to build something?

  25. The shelving looks amazing. I love that you painted to backs blue. The funny thing is, we just bought a Billy bookcase (can’t beat the price!) and covered the back panel in yellow fabric. We havn’t posted on our site about it yet, but will be shortly. Its a fun challenge to arrage shelving decorations, but you did great.

  26. Fantastic! Love the teal. I vote you totally paint the chairs a yellow -green color to pick up the color in the curtains. A question about the antique gold spray paint on the light fixture : which brand/type did you use? I am looking for the right metallic gold or antique brass spray paint to use on some very 90’s polished brass towel bars, toilet paper holders, cabinet knobs, etc. Or should I try Rub n Buff?

  27. Absolutely beautiful. I love the color you chose for the back of the bookcase. Gorgeous. I need to find a place for bookshelves like these.

  28. Kate it looks awesome! Makes me want to rearrange our bookshelves in our library. I love how the top shelf in the two middle cases are lower than the outer…might give that a try for something different. Loving the teal color!!

  29. It looks fabulous, Kate! Had to giggle at your boob light comment. We call them that too! Hehe.

  30. You did an amazing job styling the bookcases! I think the chairs would look great painted the same colour as in your throw pillow off to the side there in that last photo, that yellow-gold stripe in the centre of the pillow! Can’t wait to see what else you come up with, you’re so talented. :)

  31. You have done so much, I am always inspired. As I get ready to move into a new house and leave this behind, a good push in the right direction is all I needed. Thanks!

  32. It looks amazing, especially when you take a step back and get to see the whole setup. Love the touches of gold and that lamp is a great find!

  33. I’ve been wanting to do this in my office for months! Of course the men won’t be able to handle teal. This design is just so perfect and might just help us organize. I’m between a forest green or a bright yellow for the back. What do you think?

    • Hi Maryssa, I think any bold color works, whatever you prefer for your space. Green or yellow? Bring it!

  34. Looks great! We just got new built ins – we looked into doing the Billy ones but the dimensions didn’t fit our space too well and we decided to do a desk structure in the middle. But these turned out awesome. Makes me want to paint our ‘backs’ :)

  35. Love! You have a wonderful balance of books and pretty things. I’m a book fan too…I just like the feel of them, highlighting stuff in them. And also maybe I am old, but reading novels on a screen hurts my eyes. I sound like my Nannie.

    Lovely, lovely space!

  36. A truly impressive job in not only the built in look on these bookcases, but in the staging of the shelves. Great job and very pleasing to the eye.

  37. kate…it looks so awesome…i say go for some pattern and color in the rug and leave those chairs stunning white. it makes me want to paint my oak bookshelf white, but i can’t bare to paint the awesome wood just yet.

  38. Great Job. My only problem with doing my bookcases is weeding out the books. Books have been my best friends my whole life and choosing which ones to pack away is hard. My project to be done soon is a good cleaning out of my bookcases and hopefully I ‘ll be able to simplify mine better. Or you could come over and

  39. These turned out beautifully! I have a question, could you tell me what spray paint you used to paint the hardware of the ceiling pendant antique gold? I have a light project coming up & that is the perfect color I have been searching for! Any info would be greatly appreciated & thank you!! ~ Danielle

    • Hey Danielle, lately I’m crushing on Krylon’s ‘Gold Leaf’ spray paint which is what I used for this project, but I also love their ‘Caramel Latte’ it’s more of a subdued bronzy gold, very pretty.

  40. Holy amazing Goodwill finds!!! Absolutely LOVE the idea to use them as bookends…good thing I have you for inspiration. Your shelves make me want to run out and buy a ton of books right now. I need more in my life. Where is the beautiful white “dish,” for lack of a better word right now, in 2nd row from the left and 3rd row down from?? Stunning.

  41. I love this color. It provides such a “pop” of color against the mostly white accessories. I too, love books and can’t bear to part with any of them (something my hubby is not very excited about). I think you created a very visually stunning display. I will take inspiration from this. Thanks for sharing it!

  42. I’m loving the finished room. I’m wondering if you happen to remember the name or maker of the drum pendant from Lowes. I’ve been looking for an affordable option, but I haven’t see this one at my local store. Thanks!

  43. You did a beautiful job from start to finish on the new bookshelves. Love the colors!

  44. My favorite thing about your bookcases its that they actually have books on them! Amazing!! Lol, it looks fabulous, I love that rich teal blue!

  45. Love the way they turned out. You did an amazing job styling and filling in all the spaces too. Stunning. Also I wouldn’t paint the chairs I think they look awesome white. An area rug would add too. I like the simple seagrass rug or even a bold black and white stripe or chevron would be sweet too. Anyway amazing job! Love all you do!

    Ps if you get a chance, come check out my Mudroom I just did.

  46. That is beyond gorgeous! The perfectly accessorized/organized bookshelf is such a hard thing and you have nailed it!!! Beautiful!

  47. Paint the chairs, paint the chairs… you can always paint em back. I think there needs to be more pop in the room. and I love the lines on those chairs too much to let them fade into the rest of the room. :)

  48. Hi Kate! As always, you never disappoint. These are insanely gorgeous. Hey, I have black ones. They aren’t built-ins, but the top shelves light up and they are wider than yours. What color would you recommend painting the back in a room that is mainly camel, cream, black and white. I need some pops of color! Thanks for all of your inspiration!! ~Michelle

  49. The two boob lights in my living room had mastectomies cause the fixture or electrical isn’t working. I want to put a cheap IKEA hanging lamp in till we figure out what to do. It’s been like that for over 2 years and needs serious re-construction surgery.

    I love what you’ve done with the book shelf. I had my friend help me put fancy white on white wrapping paper on the back of my bookshelf. Right now it’s holding my bathroom “stuff”.

  50. It’s really beautiful, Kate! The teal and white is a striking combination. You’ve organized and showcased everything perfectly. Gorgeous job!

  51. Wow, it looks great! I love the color and the arrangement! I would pull up a nice cozy chair and just live right there! Well, if you would let me…. :)

  52. Wow, just gorgeous, love all that you have on it! You have given me such great ideas! Love the paint color too and that wonderful light that you found for 50% off!


  53. This is as pretty as any bookshelves I’ve ever seen. You did a magnificent job of arranging things and now, I am about to pull out over a hundred books, all kinds of STUFF and try to make MY wall of shelves look this pretty. WHEW…..
    xo bj
    O, and I am about to be your newest follower…come see me. :)

  54. Your built in is soooo beautiful and I love how the Teal shows off your white collectibles. The way you put it together just showcases your artistic design flair! Luv it.

  55. LOVE this. And I think you should definitely go for the sisal rug. It would add a slightly rustic texture to the room and the ground the table. Then see after adding more brown if you want to paint the chairs or not.

  56. Love the completed bookshelves. The background color is so refreshing and a wonderful accent to all your accessories. Styling bookshelves is one of my favorite things to do. Great job!

  57. It looks great. I love what you did with the room, reminds me of the dinning room over at Young House Love.

  58. Oh, Kate, Kate, Kate….this is by far my favorite project of yours to date. I LOVE built ins…and we’ve been working on the exact same project for my mom’s room (who you’ll meet this week!). Cannot wait to get to filling it!! LOVE the teal…LOVE.

  59. I ♥ everything about this room. I have design envy. I like the contrast of the white against color on the wall, all the texture and interest from the books and collectibles on the shelves. But I am practically drooling over those curtains. Can you tell me more about that fabric or where to find them?

  60. Ohhhh my….so beautiful. I agree, design envy. As hard as I try I just can’t seem to pull my things together to make it all so cohesive. You really know your style. My problem is, I like too many different types of style. :o( Oh well, I’ll just keep stalking your site and looking at all of it’s beauty. Maybe one day something will rub off.

  61. Hi Kate! Your built-ins turned out just beautiful, and I loved how you styled them. Your “how to” instructions really make the project seem like it’s do-able, and I’m inspired and encouraged to pull this off myself. I have to ask you what paint color you used to paint all the trim? If I remember correctly the Billy white that I’ve seen is somewhat of a warm white. Thanks so much, and love your blog! Deni

  62. I love Venezuelan Sea. We painted ours boys’ beds that color. Mixed with the Pewter is an amazing color. I say paint the chairs!

  63. Wow. So gorgeous! I absolutely love the paint color you mixed up for the back of the built-in. Do you mind sharing what primer and paint you used for the Goodwill finds that you saved? I’d love to do this with a few pieces I’ve collected, but just haven’t got around to it yet.

  64. This is truly stunning!!! If you don’t mind, would you be willing to share the paint color that is on the wall? It looks to be a shade of grey…? LOVELY!!!!!

  65. This is seriously gorgeous. I’ve got some bookshelves that are in desperate need of centsational-izing, if you ever make a trip to Texas. :)

  66. Kate…this is stunning! I knew this project had a great deal of potential, but OMG this is just amazing! I love ~ love ~love it!!!
    I have been working on a small set of bookcases in my den, and have just finished them, but now I think that I need to paint the background, as you did! You are such a wonderful inspiration to me !! I am so Happy that I found your website!

  67. So love it!!!!! As always, beautiful arrangement! now I’m feeling braver covering the back of my humongous media set with bookshelves!!!!

  68. Actually….’stunning’ seems to be the best way to describe your display! I see others used the same word and it’s the first one that came to my mind too. Excellent job! Thanks for sharing it!

  69. What a fun weekend you had! I love it, you did a great job on the styling. I like the chairs white. I think If you added a cushion to both the chairs and bench under the window it wll bring in some more softness and still add a punch of color that you might be wanting. Great job Kate!

  70. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I love, LOVE teal and it is the perfect complement to your decor. Truly beautiful.

  71. hi kate, you are so talented and inspiring. i enjoy your blog so much!
    would you share where you got the bench shown on the bottom right of the last photo? thanks so much!

  72. You see the baskets with the wide weave you have on your bookshelves? I am looking for a rug like that. I think it would look amazing down on the floor with a flokati smaller accent rug or sheepskin layered/overlapped right where your feet meet the floor in the morning.

    These rugs, however, are either elusive, or only very high end and out of my budget! :( sadness.

  73. WOW!!! WOW!! WOW!! I love the way the bookshelves turned out. I can only wish one day I will have a room like this at my house.

  74. Love how you have decorated your shelves. We have similar type of bookcases that we’ve had for probably 20 yrs. that were from an O’Sullivan kit, similar to Sauder. They are that pressed wood, laminate and I’ve been dying to paint them white and paint the back of the shelves a bright color or add wallpaper to the back of the shelves. I noticed you spraypainted some vases..I’m finding you creative gals are not afraid of taking risk with spray paint! Can’t wait till Spring to attempt to tackle some projects of my own. Not sure if those bookshelves will take paint since they are laminate, but I think if I prime it with a stain blocker like Zinnzer, the paint may take. DH will probably fight me on this but they don’t owe us anything considering how long we’ve had them. May go to Habitat for Humanity store and look for some more goodies.

  75. Hi Kate, Thanks so much for responding about painting the backs of the shelves! I’m almost done painting our crazy huge room with extremely high ceilings (still trying to figure out how to get to some of those top spots). Hope to put the bookshelves together this weekend. I’ll send you a picture of my before and after!

  76. Love the built-ins! We have a wall about that size in our family room, but I have to fit a large flat-screen in the middle. Ugh! Will have to look at Ikea’s stuff to see if I can mix and match some of their bookcases to make something that will accommodate everything. Thanks for a great tutorial… (I read both articles).

  77. Hi Kate,
    I’m sure you said this somewhere in your replies but forgive me for asking again. (I have a newborn and I just don’t have time to read through all the comments.) I tried painting the back of the backcase and the paint beads up (using Behr paint and primer all in one). What primer do I have to use? An oil based one? I bought an all purpose primer and that beads up too so I had wipe it all off. Thank you.


    • Wow Anita I’m surprised it would do that! I used a latex paint by Benjamin Moore in the Ben Formula, no priming, and I had no issues. Wondering if there’s something in the Behr formula that’s reacting with the cardboard …. When in doubt, apply a coat of primer first (Zinsser’s water based formula 1-2-3 in the blue can) should work fine.

  78. I have a question about the switches behind the built ins (visible in the “before” photo)- did you cut out the backs of the bookcases to accommodate for them? Thank you!

  79. My husband is building this this weekend for me. Could you tell the paint color that matches the billy bookcase? I appreciate it and thank you for sharing such a great idea! Blessings…

    • Hey Shannon, I wrote about paint colors in the post, but here again are three close matches: the paint on the trim on the bookcases is Valspar’s ‘Dove White’. Valspar’s ‘Cream Delight’ and ‘Ivory Dust’ are also very close matches to the IKEA white.

  80. This is gorgeous and inspiring. I lined an entire small room with billy bookcases, including the extender shelves on top to make them taller (I have over 1000 books). Painted mt small room deep warm red, put together 13 bookcases by myself and installed the cool IKEA lights bookcase lights on the tops of the shelves (I’m a handy female). I have the library ladder they sell, too, which is cool. However, I used the warm brown shelves, so I cant get the real built in look you did : ( I think some baskets would look nice on top of your shelves – not they aren’t fabulous as they are!

  81. Im working on replicating this…my space almost same…minus one shelf…bookcases assembled and trim tomorrow. Thank you for this awesome post!!!

  82. This is beautiful. For my money, I’d paint only the curved pieces in the back of the chairs to match the back of the shelves.

  83. I found this on pintrest, I just ordered the shelves, can’t wait till they get here to start! I have a dark corner in my living room and this is just what I was looking for to brighten it up. Loved everything can’t wait to copy it!! Thaniks for sharing!

  84. I love love love your bookcase ! Just what I need. I’ll be going to IKEA next weekend here in Iceland !

  85. Kate-
    We did the bookcase bult ins in our basement and I am SOOO excited!! Thanks so much. It looks wonderful and it cost one only about 20% of what professional custom built ins would have cost us. Thanks you so so much!! Tracey

  86. This is amazing, as is the post prior explaining how you’ve done this with ikea billy cases! Honestly, I never would have though to paint the inside of those shelves a contrasting colour. I love it. Anyway, was hoping for a little hint as to how you got the lines so neat for the colour a the back, since it seems you did not paint it before assembly. Thanks.

    • Hi Sarah, to get a straight line, first make sure you’ve removed all the shelves, then use a good angled 2″ paintbrush and a steady hand, works great!

  87. Looks great! I’m painting the back of our built-ins BM Fiji and would love to know the wall color you have in the room. I’ve been struggling with trying to find a good gray/green/something color for the walls.

    • Hey Amy that’s Benjamon Moore ‘Camouflage’, it’s everywhere in my house!

  88. Can you tell me what paint/colour of gold you use to paint the two bookend vases?

    • Hi Kim, I’m pretty sure I used Krylon’s ‘Gold Leaf’ it’s a beautiful gold spray paint!

  89. Finally talked my husband into doing this in our study! Always wanted built ins, but not the price to have them built. It looks amazing! Thanks so much for the awesome inspiration!

  90. Question for you- what kind of paint did you use to paint the back of the bookcase? When I painted mine it just peeled right off. Did you have to prime it first??

  91. Love the look–you just used the bookcase backing that came with the bookcase? Would it have been better to paint it first before installation?

    • Hi Susie, that’s what we did! We painted the back with Glidden Duo Primer + Paint combo in green lane, let it dry then added it to the back to complete the assembly of hte bookcases. :)

  92. Okay, I’m officially stalking your blog! You are the business! I’m hooked!

  93. I am totally planning to steal…I mean COPY… this idea in my soon-to-be new house! I love to read and have always wanted built-in bookshelves cover an entire wall in my house for my own mini-library! Beautiful work!

  94. I’m interested in the two chairs at the table. Where did you get them, do you know the manufacturer/designer?

    Thank you.

  95. My mind is blown! Those shelves look amazing! I can’t wait to have a house so that I can do neat things like this. Love your blog!

  96. Awesome job! What paint/color did you use on the trim pieces to match the color of the book shelves? Did you paint the entire unit or only the trim pieces that you added?

  97. Can you tell me the manufacturer of your dining room table or where I could find one that is similar?

  98. I love this!! I sooooo want to try it, but I am soooo not the handyman girl! :(((

  99. I noticed you’re not putting anything on top of the Billys. Is there a reason other than aesthetics? Did you contemplate the Billy extensions? Thanks!

    • No hack sorry Jessica, they were a thrift store find, can you believe it? Wish I had a set of four, sadly I only have two!

  100. Awesome job!! We are in process of figuring out shelves (7 years in process!). The tv is the biggest obstacle for not doing something like this. What did you do with yours–I noticed it was in the BEFORE pics.

    • Hi Jen, we moved the TV out of the space but we left the cable connection if we ever want to add a smaller flat screen again.

  101. gosh…u’re such a gifted painter, kate.. u’re the perfect example of talent+decorating skills..

  102. Hi!
    I am new(ish) stalker… scratch that… susciber and I’m going through all of your older posts and I just have to say I LOVE this one! I am considering doing this around our TV in our family room but I’m just curious if you’re still happy with these after having them for some time now? Do you have any bowing with the sheves? I’ve never even owned a piece of Ikea furniture (our Ikea has only been here a year in Denver) and I don’t know about the quality or longevity of it. Any input would be SO appreciated! Love your blog– thanks for sharing your talent!

    • No bowing Jordan, ours has a combination of heavy books and decorative objects and they still look great!!

  103. Hey there! We did a similiar project the sumer of 2011 and have redirected our attention to the bookshelves. We’re painting the room, so the color behind will have to be changed. My husband thinks we need to fill all the holes that are there to move the shelves. He says it’ll give it a more “built it ” look. What’s your thought on that, as I see you have left them.
    We didn’t use IKEA, because don’t have one here. But, just some wal-mart bookcases, that aren’t too different.

  104. I love the whole concept of this project, but the part that made me comment is that we call ’em “boob lights” too!! How can you not? ;)

  105. This is amazing! You did a spectacular job on all of it, shelves, painting, decorating. I too have wanted a wall of bookcases forever. We bought our home 6 years ago and I have been contemplating on many, many things and putting a wall to wall bookcase in my living room around my bay window has been an idea. I too have looked in the Ikea book, but with the visual you have given I really think I can make this work. Thank you so very much for your posting and keep up the fabulous work!

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