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How to Transform Ikea Furniture into a Custom Built In Entertainment Center: The Ultimate Ikea Hack

Updated: Apr 26

A step-by-step guide to show you how we created a custom built in for our home with this DIY IKEA hack. For a fraction of the cost you can build your own custom professional looking built ins using IKEA cabinets and bookcases. We will share what IKEA products we used and how we put it all together. There were problems that came up along the way so read till the end to learn from our mistakes!

I'm embarrassed to share this before picture. It's hard to believe we only had this tiny TV cabinet for 8 years. You can see from the picture how much wasted space there was on this wall. In the 8 years since we moved into this house, we added three tiny humans to our family so we needed a lot more storage space! That's when I started seeing posts for these DIY IKEA built ins hack. We had the space for it but now I just needed to figure out what configuration we wanted and what products to get.

I would suggest you start by drawing it out. I drew out exactly how I envisioned it looking and sent the picture to my husband. I'm pretty sure his response was something like, "No." But when has that ever stoped me? I took measurements and aded them to my drawing. Next I went to the IKEA website and picked out the style of cabinets I liked for the base of the built ins.

We decided to go with the IKEA Brimnes cabinet for the base of the built ins. I like the look of the cabinets and they had a good height so the TV could be hung on the wall and not be too high up from the cabinets. For the top of the built ins we went will the BILLY bookcases. We measured again and again and again to make sure our configuration would work and then placed our order.

Once we received the order we started building the cabinets. Putting the cabinets together was fairly easy, but when we started screwing them to the wall we came across our first problem. Apparently our wall was not completely flat. There was a slight bump in the wall that caused the cabinets to not lay flat against it so there were gaps in-between them in the front. We took a planer to the back of the cabinets to shave them down in the spots that were against the bump in the wall. It wasn't easy and the back of the cabinets didn't look so pretty (they were going against a wall anyways), but we made it work.

Next we put together the bookcases. This is when we came across our second problem. Since I wanted there to be a shelf over the TV, we needed all of the bookcases to be taller than the TV. We went with the tallest BILLY bookcase and also got the height extension unit. BIG MISTAKE! It wasn't until we were putting the bookcases together that we realized the height extender only works with the smaller size BILLY bookcase.

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We improvised and found a way to make it work, but it wasn't easy. We had to create holes for the dowels to connect the pieces and hope to not split the sides of the extender. There was still a noticeable gap between the bookcase and the extender part. I filled it in with spackle that dries white and and did my best to smooth it out. We are not master craftsmen so you can see the seams if you look really close. Its hidden behind the decor items on the shelf anyways and its a small price to pay to be able to have the shelf over the TV. You could also just make sure to put a shelf where that seam is visible.

Once the bookshelves were built, we flipped them upside down and placed them on to the cabinets. We also secured them to the wall at the top using L brackets. To achieve the shelf over the TV we bought a BILLY bookcase to hang horizontally. We took the long side pieces and drilled pocket holes into them using a Kreg jig. With the pocket holes, we were able to screw the long boards to the bookcases it bordered on each side. We also wanted to add some additional stability to the shelf since it would hang over our TV. We secured the shelf to the wall using white L brackets. You really can't see them behind the decor items.

After we had the shelf over the TV hung we decided to add a few decorative elements behind the TV. Instead of just having the plain wall behind the tv we decided to get some wood slats in a beechwood stain. It adds a little interest behind the TV without standing out too much. We also love the look of lighting behind the TV, So we installed rope lighting to the back of the TV. It's fun ambient lighting and it can be customized for special occasions or holidays. It's a lighting feature that lets you customize your space!

With the main pieces together, it was time for the finishing pieces. To cover up the bases of the bookcases (that were now at the top) we needed some crown moulding. You can pick whatever style you like, but just need to be sure it is thick enough to cover the bookcase feet. We nailed the crown moulding in place with a nail gun and calked the seam where it met the bookcase front.

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Next we decided what configuration we wanted the bookcase shelves to be in. Once we had the shelves in place, we used spackle to cover up all of the other bookcase holes. This step is not necessary, but it gives it a more finished look. Then, to give the bookcases the appearance of being thicker and sturdier, we nailed 1x2 trim board to the front of all of the shelves and sides of the bookcases. Finally we replaced the plastic IKEA cabinet handles with modern metal pulls from the hardware store.

There were challenges with this project, but overall we are so happy with the results! We gained so much more storage space and the look really pulled the whole room together. We still need to get base boards to cover the bottom feet of the cabinets, but that is on hold for now. Of course after completing this massive project we decided the flooring in this area of the house needs to be replaced so we will do that before finishing out the cabinet bases. Let us know what you think or if you have any questions leave them in the comments below!


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