Transforming IKEA bookshelves into a Speakeasy DIY Bar

diy bar bookcase bar hack
Photo Credit: Rachel Martino

IKEA furniture is known for its affordable, modular design – but one creative has taken it to a whole new level by transforming some common IKEA items into a hidden DIY bar.

Rachel Martino of @DreamloftStudios, hacked together a speakeasy-style home bar using BILLY bookcases, LOMMARP cabinets, and a lot of ingenuity.

At first glance, the cabinets appear to be elegant arched display cases with closed storage below. The magic happens when she pulls the bottom section to reveal a bar cabinet. The bar cabinet is movable, so you can place it in front of the bookcase or anywhere in the room if you so wish. We love how this ingenious design disguises the functional bar until “Happy Hour” comes around.

The Hidden Bar Hack

Photo Credit:

The base of the bar consists of three LOMMARP cabinets. Two are connected as a movable unit and outfitted with six heavy-duty caster wheels on the bottom, allowing the entire bar cabinet to slide out from under the bookcases. The third LOMMARP cabinet remains fixed under the wall-mounted BILLY bookcases above. All 3 cabinets are covered with a marble countertop for an ultra-chic finish.

Rachel got creative with the BILLY bookcases, flipping them upside down and securely attaching 2 of them to the wall. Her contractor then mapped out the arches on 1/2-inch plywood and cut them to fit. She added decorative trim along the curves for visual interest. A plywood toe kick at the bottom hides the bar cart’s wheels.

To transform the bookcases and cabinets into a cohesive bar design, Rachel sanded and primed them with a shellac-based primer. She then painted the pieces a bold pink hue called Bridal Bouquet by Behr paint. She finished with multiple coats of polyurethane to protect the new paint job.

Clever handles were installed underneath the countertop, allowing Rachel to pull the entire bar cart out from under the bookcases with just a few tugs. When not in use, the bar discreetly disappears back into the wall space.

Worth the price

While not a cheap DIY project, the total costs came up to way less than the $12K she was quoted for this custom design. With some affordable IKEA furniture and creative problem-solving, Rachel crafted a hidden home watering hole that works hard as a storage display cabinet by day and a bar counter by night.

Beyond the clever transformation, Rachel also outfitted the bar with luxe details, like wall sconces, acrylic pull handles, and gold orchid drawer knobs.

Her followers loved it. “Absolutely love multifunctional furniture and spaces. This is so beautiful!” says one commenter. Another says, “Being so creative is a superpower. I could never come up with anything like that.”

Rachel’s innovative idea has also inspired other DIYers, including Kirsty Griffiths, who created her own version using glass BILLY shelves. The display bookcase really stands out, thanks to the added dimmable LED strip lights and self-adhesive wallpaper.

More IKEA DIY Bar Hacks

DIY bar cabinet
Photo Credit: Paul Estall

Don’t have space for a full-fledged dry bar? Try this hide-and-peek bar cabinet hack using an IKEA IVAR cabinet.

DIY Bar with BILLY bookcases

DIY home bar with BILLY bookcases
Photo Credit: Lanthus

Lanthus’ gorgeous DIY home bar from tall and short BILLY bookcases, fulfilled his goal of building himself a moody home bar to entertain friends regularly.