Q: IKEA BILLY bookshelves with library ladder?

I recently purchased a lovely old Cotterman library ladder with a long track. Track feels heavy.

Credit: Stairwayshop.com

I’d like to attach the ladder to my extensive tall (extended) IKEA BILLY bookshelves but am concerned the particleboard won’t hold up. Anyone done this or any advice?

~ Melissa


Hi Melissa

I’ve definitely seen IKEA BILLY bookshelves with a library ladder — so classic!

All of them has the ladder fastened to pieces of solid wood fixed to a frame, rather than the BILLY bookshelf. As you suspected, particleboard BILLY is too flimsy to hold up a heavy track.

The BILLY bookshelves themselves should be fastened onto the wall. The backboard is not sturdy enough so you will need a combination of L and corner brackets to secure the units to wall studs (if on a drywall).

IKEA BILLY bookshelves with rolling ladder

In the photo below, Doug stacked short BILLY bookshelves on top of the tall ones with solid wood between the units. The piece of solid wood is where he fastened the rail. See the details here.

IKEA bookshelves with rolling ladder

The Makerista also has lovely built-in IKEA BILLY bookshelves with a library ladder.

IKEA bookshelves with ladder

Credit: The Makerista

In her version, the track goes on the wood frame above the bookcases.

built in frame

Credit: The Makerista

If you rather not hack your BILLY bookcases into built-ins you’ll need to figure out other methods to incorporate the ladder. Perhaps a stand alone wood frame for it?

Or, like Kelly, mount the ladder on to a sliding track on the ceiling. (Which may not work with your Cotterman ladder mechanism.) But still a lovely idea for others who may want a rolling ladder.

IKEA bookshelves with ladder

Credit: The Lily Pad Cottage

Hope it all goes well. Let us know what you end up with finally.

Happy hacking,


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