BILLY may be the king of built-in bookcases but don’t be quick to dismiss the other IKEA bookshelves that can work just as beautifully.
Matthew’s choice is the LIATORP half-panel-glass-door combo. The delicate shapes and details of the IKEA LIATORP series evoke a sense of country living. The door is beautiful with its grid glass panel.
A search on the IKEA website offered up very few items in the LIATORP range, a sure sign that it’s on the way out. Nonetheless, the LIATORP doors are still available, making them the perfect finishing touch to Matthew’s custom DIY bookcase.
Matthew says, “I have always liked built-in libraries. Plus, we have cats at home and needed to keep some things out of their reach. I love the views of the library when I sit on the sofa in that room. It gives me a harmonious and calming effect.”
Build the custom bookcase frames
Matthew first constructed cabinets out of white laminate boards, spanning the width of the wall. The two LIATORP doors were fitted into the two center cabinets. He attached the door panel to the frame using the supplied hardware. The Internet has many tutorials on how to build a bookcase from scratch.
Secure bookcases to each other
He then secured the bookcases to each other and built two bridging shelves above the LIATORP sections.
Add trim and molding
Matthew used trim and top molding to cover the edges and create the built-in bookcase look. The molding is glued to the edges of the laminate boards with mounting adhesive. The cover molding was the same size as the edge of the laminate boards (19 mm). See the image on the left below.
Lastly, he caulked all the joints and painted the entire built-in with a universal white, matt, water-based paint for a uniform expression. It blended the white laminate board with the doors.
He used Balakryl, one of the best-selling paints in the Czech Republic, which he explains “is almost odorless, dries quickly, and you can apply another layer after a few hours. The wooden molding needed three layers of paint, and the laminate boards and IKEA doors needed more than 5 to 6 layers. I recommend applying the paint with a foam roller. It is possible to achieve a similar effect as if the paint was sprayed on. It is not necessary to sand the surfaces.”
He used IKEA storage boxes and storage organizers to arrange the shelves to reduce visual clutter peeking through the door panels. The bookcase added lots of storage in his living room, even a space for the TV. Complete the display shelves with decorative items.
Open section for the cat tree
He left it open for a cat tree in one of the sections.
Make extra shelves for the LIATORP Bookcase in 3 easy steps
I have a LIATORP storage bookcase. It has two fixed solid pine shelves for stability and four adjustable shelves, but I wanted extra shelving for my books. The problem was IKEA did not sell additional shelves for the LIATORP.
Hunting around IKEA, I found the BERGSHULT shelf a reasonable match in style to the LIATORP shelf. The BERGSHULT shelf is longer in length and slightly shorter in depth. But you won’t see the difference once the books are on the shelf. I’m thrilled with my simple hack!
Step 1: Use a LIATORP shelf to mark the exact length on the BERGSHULT shelf and cut it with your saw.
Step 2: The LIATORP comes with wood supports for the original shelves. I won’t be replicating these. Instead, I will use regular shelf dowels. However, the dowel pin holes in the LIATORP frame are smaller than my pins. With a 5mm drill bit, I expanded the holes in the LIATORP sides to fit the shelf pins. I had spare shelf supports from another project, so I used those, but any shelf support pins will do.
Step 3: Insert the pins and place your new shelf on top. (The towels were to help slide the bookcase in place, it’s a heavy item!) My new storage shelves are the two at the bottom.
HOW LONG AND HOW MUCH DID IT COST?
2 x BERGSHULT shelves at around €13 per shelf; it took about 20 mins!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE HACK?
It was straightforward and effective; I got two extra shelves and made better use of the bookcase.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT THIS HACK?
Making sure I cut the shelves to precisely the right length and perfectly straight.
WHAT TO PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO?
Use some masking tape on your drill so you don’t drill right through the side of the bookcase by mistake.
~ by Eleanor
Can LIATORP doors work on BILLY bookcases?
Apparently yes. Erik, who previously gave us a discreet computer cabinet, does it again with this BILLY-LIATORP fusion.
(Ed: The size of the BILLY frame and LIATORP doors may have changed over the years. Please verify the latest measurements before attempting to merge these two products.)
He says, “IKEA is one of my favorite places; being a Swede, it’s one of the few places to grab a Flavasoft for a decent price. I needed an inexpensive way to make my office look nice, clean, and, hopefully, stylish.
I liked the look of the white LIATORP bookcase with doors, but they did not come in black-brown and were also very expensive compared to the BILLY system. Then, I essentially mated some As-is LIATORP doors to a BILLY, creating the look of the LIATORP for a low price.
Spray painting to color match
I found all of the following in the As-is Section, but this could also be assembled with raw components. The LIATORP glass doors are much more elegant than the traditional BILLY doors; I found these for $10 each in the As-is section in new condition. They come in white and not in the Black-Brown finish that I needed. I used a quality espresso-colored spray paint and gave them one light coat.
Followed by a heavier coat in black with a Satin finish. I feathered it in a manner that the brown lightly shows through in places giving it a black-brown appearance.
The center desk is a GUSTAV Desk in black brown The desk usually is $299, but I found one in the As-is for considerably less, There was a good chip knocked off one of the front corners, but I rotated the desktop to place the damaged edge away from view.
Installing LIATORP doors on BILLY bookcases
The base of the bookshelves are standard BILLY shelving units. I used the black shelf units with various amounts of damage, but they were easily hideable with the doors. The black units I found were preferable to the black-brown, which were more expensive.
The LIATORP doors are a bit larger than the BILLY Doors, so I used three sets of brass hinges from the hardware store for each bookcase. I let the doors hang over the edge of the BILLY frame. Then I fastened the brass hinges behind the door and against the outside of the BILLY; they remain out of sight and work functionally.
The bookcases do need to be fastened to the wall as the glass doors make them front heavy and prone to tip. Use fasteners suitable for your wall to secure the unit to the wall.
In the future, I will add some glass BILLY bookcase shelves, LED lighting, and a small bit of crown molding to the top of each unit to give it more detail.”