DIY Ikea Hemnes Built-In Bookcases

DIY Built-in Bookcases

This post is so long overdue it’s ridiculous.

I feel like I’m constantly apologizing for my tardiness on this site. Going forward, I think it’s safe to say we all just need to assume I work on at least a 3-6 month delay.

Anyways, last spring we started our built-in bookcases project in our living area. We had this blank open canvas of a wall to work with, and we always knew we wanted built-in bookcases. Our builder was going to need to charge us around $3,000.00 to do it, so of course like pretty much every other project in this house, we told him we would just do it ourselves. After some research, we decided to convert Ikea Hemnes bookcases into built-ins. Most people seem to use the Billy Bookcases which turn out beautifully, but Matt insisted on the better quality version using hardwood instead of plywood, and I wasn’t about to argue with something better!

Here was our blank canvas:

Before Built-Ins

Visitors would walk in and go, “So… are the walls white?” IT’S CALLED “CREAM”, PEOPLE! Actually, it probably has an even more beautiful name by Behr. And so what if it was just white? There are plenty of opportunities to add splashes of color and texture to the space, but I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby when we moved in so it’s been a slow going process. Anyways, this is where our built-in bookcases finally come in!

I am not going to do a formal DIY post because I cannot take any credit for, nor fully understand or remember how it was done since Matt did all of the work. I just came up with the idea and design, and he did the rest. Here are some photos of the process though:

Matt putting the bookcases together in the middle of our living area with Baby L looking on. Look how little he was!
Matt putting the bookcases together in the middle of our living area with Baby L looking on. Look how little he was!
We set the bookcases up to make sure they were in the right place and the TV would still fit. Matt made sure to spray paint the backing prior to putting everything together.
Spray Painted Yellow Backs of Bookcases
This is what it looked like after building and installing the bookcases, but before adding cabinet doors and baseboards.
Ikea Wardrobe Doors
Since we live in a 2-bedroom with an open living area, more hidden storage is always a necessity. So while Matt was in Ikea, he picked up some doors from one of their wardrobes to use as cabinet doors on our bookcases. He cut the panels down to the size we needed, picked up some hardware from Home Depot, and turned the bottom of our bookcases into cabinets!
IMG_6927
After he trimmed the cabinet doors down to size, he used the excess wood to trim the top gap between the doors and the existing shelf.

Installing Cabinet DoorsCaulking Holes in Bookcases

Then he just used caulking to hide any screw holes as well as seams when we put everything together. Again, don’t miss the little helper!

We also scored an electric fireplace on clearance after-season from Home Depot for just $99 that we envisioned building into the cabinetry and trimming with barn beams. Once we decided to host Thanksgiving at our home, it kicked our butts into gear to finally finish the entire project. This is what the original fireplace looked like, except one of the legs was broken, but it didn’t matter because we didn’t plan to use any of the existing mantel in our design:

Hampton Bay Derry Electric Fireplace in Cherry

Here are some photos of the process of building the new mantel:Matt cutting a piece of barn wood on the table saw.

Matt cutting a piece of barn wood on the table saw. You can see the bare fireplace sitting on top his work table.

The front of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams without the top on.
The front of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams without the top on.
The back of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams. Matt just adhered a piece of plywood to the entire back.
The back of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams. Matt just adhered a piece of plywood to the entire back.
This is the top of the barn wood fireplace mantel before being installed.
This is the top of the barn wood fireplace mantel before being installed.

And here she is in all her beauty!

DIY Ikea Hemnes Built-In Bookcases

Here is an up-close shot of the fireplace that I took at Christmas after making my own grain sack stockings.

Electric Fireplace with Barn Wood Mantel and Stockings

And because everyone loves a “Before and After”:

builtin bookcase before builtinbookcase after

And after looking at this photo, I just realized we added the sliding vintage door since then too! Here are some shots of that process too:

This is what it looked like closed before we added a secret message.
This is what it looked like closed before we added a secret message.
Matt had the brilliant idea to use stencil letters to put one of his favorite family phrases on the wall, and still allow the door to slide open and close.
Matt had the brilliant idea to use stencil letters to put one of his favorite phrases on the wall, and still allow the door to slide open and close.

Spray Paint Stencil Spray Paint Stencil Halfway Done

L working hard, and playing hard too.
L working hard, and playing hard too.

It feels so good knowing we have completed an entire project that doesn’t still need any final touches or anything! Slowly but surely we are getting there, so thank you for following us on our long journey to building our “dream home”.

 

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8 thoughts on “DIY Ikea Hemnes Built-In Bookcases

  1. hi there! what type of wardrobe door did you use for this and how did you cut them to keep the edge in tact? we are doing the same thing with Hemnes but Ikea doesn’t sell doors for that set.

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    1. Hi Suzanne! My husband says he bought the hemnes wardrobe doors (they may be originally used as sliders), cut the sides down to fit without going past the seam, and then added our own hardware. I hope that helps!

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  2. Having struggled to build bookcases from scratch, I will never again after seeing how beautiful yours came together. Can you tell me what piece you guys use for the top compartment. Trying to figure that out without success. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you Janet! I do not see it on the website but it was a bridge that was sold to connect two bookcases. My husband bought two and installed them together to be long enough to cover all 3 bookcases. He had to cut the one down to fit, hence the smaller hole above the TV. Hope that helps!

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  3. Looks great! We’re doing the same thing. Got 3 hemnes bookshelves and the extension for the top. How did you guys deal with the edge/lip that the hemnes bookshelves have up to so it fits flush against the wall and so that in the end it all looks like one built in and not stacked?

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    1. Thank you! The bridge and bookcase lips are the same depth so when placed on top of each other it naturally blended together. If there were any gaps between bookcases or the walls we filled with white calking. Good luck!

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