Barcelona Studio Apartment So Cosy After This 2-day Hack

bookcase room divider before

A lovely bed nook with the BILLY Bookcase as a room divider.

I hated being able to see my bed from the “kitchen” and vice versa, so needed a cheap way to hide it!

Here was how it looked when I first moved in:

The Before

bed - before
sofa - before

Quotes for a partition wall came in too expensive, plus it’s a rental, so I decided to use the BILLY bookcase as a room divider.

Related: See this guy’s striking IKEA makeover during lockdown

IKEA items used: 

1 x BILLY Bookcase, white, 80x28x202 cm
3 x BILLY Bookcase, white, 40x28x202 cm
MATILDA Sheer curtains, 1 pair, white, 140×300 cm
1 x IRJA Curtain rod set, white, 140 cm

Other materials and tools: 

6 x metal braces
12 x small screws
Primer – white
Paint – white
White polyfilla
3M sticky wall hook
plastic coated curtain wire to desired length (the one with the loops at each end)
1 x screw hook

Steps to DIY an IKEA bookcase room divider

First, I primed and painted the backs of the bookcases as I’d be able to see them from the bed.

A New Accent Wall?

There are a lot of possibilities with the BILLY backs — think of them as a wide empty canvas. You could easily transform it into an accent wall with adhesive wallpaper or a fluted wall with dowels. Or cover it up with fabric or cane webbing. I kept it simple with paint but may add to it at a later date.

Then I constructed the bookcases and configured the shelves. I put them in position and used metal braces along the top and middle to join them together and stabilise them.

metal brace

The Bed Looks Better Already

I placed my bed in place for a dry fit and it looked so much better. It gave my bed a level of privacy and separated the “bed nook” from the kitchen and dining room. And I gained a whole lot of storage space. Win!

BILLY bookcase room divider
Partition in progress
A curtain partition for a ton of warmth

To close up the bed nook, I planned to hang a pair of curtains at the opening.

My next step was figuring out how to hang the curtain wire between the wall and BILLY bookcase divider.

I decided to thread the curtain wire through the IRJA curtain rod. This helps it stay rigid rather than sag in the middle. The rod also makes it nice and slide-y for the curtains.

BILLY bookcase room divider

Then, I stuck a strong 3M hook on the wall, and screwed an eye hook into the bookcase on the opposite side.

The MATILDA curtains came with tabs but I didn’t think they’ll look good in this bookcase room divider. So I removed the curtain tabs, folded over and sewed into a rod pocket instead.

Next, I hemmed the bottom to the correct length.

Lastly, I popped the curtain on the rod, hooked each side and voila! A cosy bed nook that doesn’t distract your eye when in the rest of the flat 🙂 

The finishing touches

Whilst staying in, I have been filling in the empty dowel holes on the bookshelves with a little white filler, smoothed down with a credit card.

BILLY bookcase cover up holes
Covering up the dowel holes

They can be popped out with a nail if you want to rearrange the shelves in future.

A Little Pop of Color around the Room Divider

The last step was the best. I added lots of green to the room divider and a few pieces of artwork above the sofa. I also got a new dining table to replace the old green and red floral table.

Keeping the colour scheme muted with a few choice accent colours made a huge difference. Previously I had a pink fork-print fabric cover next to the oven. Cute but it had to go. Same with the green and red floral table.

Now the pops of colours come from my plants and largest piece of furniture, the teal sofa with a few new matching pillows.

BILLY bookcase room divider
How long and how much did it cost?  

Two days to prime and paint (optional), plus a few hours of construction.

Total cost:  146 EUR plus 50 EUR Delivery from IKEA, 30 EUR on sundries. Total: 226 EUR

What do you like most about the hack? 

It’s so simple, relatively cheap, makes the other side feel more like a living room and can be easily moved or reconfigured!

What was the hardest part about this hack? 

Nothing hard, filling the little holes has been blissfully mundane and repetitive.

What to pay special attention to? 

I made sure to put heavier items on the shelves at the bottom for more stability.


~ by Jess

You may also like this bookshelf room divider

This is Lily’s very first IKEA hack — BILLY bookshelf room dividers — and it’s a nice one. Clever use of BILLY bookshelves to section out a ‘sleeping area’ and create storage. Definitely a snuggle-worthy corner.

She says, “I’m renting this large one space studio but didn’t like the idea of having my bed in the living room as well as in the kitchen.”

So I came up with the idea of bookshelf room dividers. Read more.