Hackers Help: How to IKEA hack this recessed area?

Recessed area for IKEA hack

I am considering using IKEA pieces to form a built-in storage wall in a recessed area in my Florida apartment dining room. Even with all the pictures and ideas out there, I can’t quite figure out how to design this on my own. Are there any hacker/designers out there (professional or not) to help? Does IKEA itself have this service (not kitchen exactly)?

The big piece of furniture sits in the spot. There is a soffit above, making the recessed area. The dimensions of that space are 100″ wide, 18″ deep and 79.5″ high to soffit.


~ by Barbara Van Itallie


Hi Barbara

The height and width is just perfect for BILLY bookshelves. You can comfortably fit 3 BILLY bookshelves [31 1/2″ x Depth: 11″ (D) x 79 1/2″ (H)] into the space with an excess of 2.75″ on both ends, which you can cover up with moulding/ trim.

The IKEA Home Planner 3D tool is not only for kitchens. It also has options for offices and bathrooms. So, do go explore it. It does have a bit of a steep learning curve but I find it really helpful in visualising space and fit. I quickly did a quick and simple layout for you with the BILLY bookshelves placed in the recessed area. Due to some constraints in the tool, the minimum depth I can go is 800mm (31″). But the gist of the layout is all there.

Floor plan – top view

BILLY built-in plan top view

Top front view – in 3D

BILLY built-in plan front view

Side view – in 3D

BILLY built-in plan side view

Now the fun part. Click to customize the color of the frame and door styles of the BILLY bookshelves.

BILLY built-in - customize doors

Steps to hack a BILLY built-in.

Barbara, this is a rough guide on hacking a BILLY built-in. Do consult a professional for more detailed work.

1. Buy 3 BILLY bookcases. Assemble them and do a dry fit in the recessed area.
2. Measure the gap at both ends of the bookcases. Remove the bookshelves from area.
3. Get your local hardware shop to cut lumber to size.
4. Drill holes and secure the lumber to both ends. Use a stud finder and the appropriate wall fixings.
5. Slot in the bookcases and screw the sides of the BILLY bookcase to the framed edge. Attach the bookcases to each other for a tight finish.
6. Add moulding/ trim to the timber, if desired. Caulk and paint to match.
7. Add doors to BILLY if required.

See more BILLY built-in projects:

#1 BILLY bookshelves to frame a French door

BILLY bookshelves around French doors

#2 BILLY bookshelves in an alcove

Billy in an alcove

#3 Not into BILLY?

Try PAX sliding doors instead for a closed up storage area.

Pax sliding door for alcove