Our family room is utilized the most in our house. It's a play room for the tiny humans, a TV/movie room, chill zone, family hangout, basically we are in this room all day everyday but it has also been a space where I have been trying to figure out design wise would work best for us. We have moved countless furniture pieces in and out of this room to try to suit our needs. Used other bookshelves that didn't really work. Stacked toys against the wall to try to "organize" the chaos but nothing really seemed to work well for us. We decided to finally have our old nasty carpet removed and our cement foundation ground down and polished to this beautiful new concrete floor that was SO much easier for clean up and honestly it is gorgeous and we love it, but now.... what to do with this big empty wall?
This room is a pretty good size room and out 14ft sectional from our last house fits nicely in here. Great for snuggling up for movie night plus plenty of room for toy storage but where in the heck were we going to store everything without the anxiety of it still being out in the open? After staring at this wall, we decided that building built in's is how we were going to make this space more functional for us. We weren't looking for anything super fancy cuz lets be real, we aren't fancy people. Hence, the Ikea billy book case hack began. I didn't want to build anything from scratch because I am still learning and this was going to be a huge project for me. I measured out the space and knew I wanted a giant window seat for my girls to play in and read in, they love reading and pretending the floor is lava.
I rough sketched it out to see what we wanted and what it might look like.
You can see the floor here ^ before it was finished but I was already thinking of things to do to this space.
Once everything was measured out, it was time to research and get lost in the abyss of pinterest to see what I wanted and what would work best for us and this space. We landed on the Ikea billy bookcase series. We purchased 3 of these and 1 of these. Somehow they were on sale which I didn't even know Ikea had sales so we were able to save a little bit of dough.
Because the ceiling is so high in this room and the window sits a bit higher than a normal height of a bench/window seat, I knew I had to raise the bookshelves up off the floor a bit which is why I framed out a base using 2x4's.
By doing this, the bookshelves sat up higher off the ground and I was able to frame out the bottom with a 1x6 base board. I attached each shelf to the 2x4 base to secure them to the ground and used the brackets that come with the bookshelves to secure them to the wall. These things aren't going anywhere. Once I had them all attached and the spacing was what I wanted I framed out the window seat.
For the window seat and the gaps in between bookshelves. I used 1/4-1/2" MDF sheets to make them actually look "built in" by doing this the entire piece looked like it was truly built in. I also used MDF to make the top seat for the window nook and then cut it in half so I could add hinges to it.
I don't have a great picture of it but our window is offset and sticks out from the wall so the portion that I used for storage was what you see here ^ the framed out area. It's not very wide but it has a lot of height. The area to the right was a mini window seat, the area on the left is the framed out area that we will use for storage for toys and blankets.
Once everything was framed in, it's time to fill all the gaps, nail holes, and seams as well as caulk any larger areas that don't necessarily need sanding. Remember, caulk isn't a sandable material. I also added a 1x6 to the top to frame it all together. I am still contemplating if I want to put crown molding up there or to just cap it with a flat sheet of MDF to more more plants on top of it. Problem is, it's so high so and I am not trying to climb up there every other week to water plants.
I figured out where I wanted the shelves to be and filled in all of the other peg holes so it really looked finished and seamless
Now, time to sand EVERYTHING and paint. I sanded down every nook and craney and this took a lot of time. This step is so important if you really want everything to be seamless and especially for the bookshelves themselves because you want the primer and the paint to adhere really well to it. Once everything was sanded and wiped down, I painted it all with an oil base primer and I put 3 coats on just to be safe but probably would have been fine with only 2 coats. Once that was all set, I painted everything white, this is where the ugly gets really pretty because now it all truly looks like one piece of furniture rather than the 100 different pieces I actually had to mcgiver.
The only thing left was to actually fill the shelves up! This was interesting because we mostly only have kids books which I am not mad about and the biggest reason why we wanted to build this entire piece but as far as filling everything was going to be a challenge. We try to live as minimal as we can so I really had to pull items from alllll over the house to fill the shelves which is mostly why there is a bunch of random stuff here. I did have a collection of reallllly old books that have been passed down to me so this was a great opportunity for me to put them on display.
I have everything saved in my highlights as well on my instagram page.
While it is definitely not perfect and there are a lot of imperfections, things I could have done better, things I could have added or subtracted, I am SO happy with how it came out and it has allowed us proper storage that works better for our family, plus side, it's beautiful to look at. The nook gives the tiny humans a fun, cozy little area to read, play and imagine in which makes my heart so full. Eventually I will work on trimming the ceiling where the drywall meets the beams but that's a whole lot of cuts and pieces of lumber that I just don't want to pay for or mess with right now and roman shades for that window (plus another on the other side) would probably bankrupt me so we are passing for now.
Until another project,