The IKEA Billy Bookcase hack to create more space in your laundry room instantly


Written by Mia

Jun 8, 2021 | 0 comments

Greetings homeowners!

How are you going with your laundry room makeover project?

Continuing my ongoing series, from planning your makeover  to organising your laundry drawer and beautifying your space, I’ve got an interesting new hack for you.

While making a lot more space in your laundry room, it does not involve breaking down walls or installing expensive new cupboards. I promise!


A few months ago, when redoing my laundry room, I realised I needed more storage space for my “tall” hanging. In staying true to my nature of repurposing before buying brand new, I took a good look around my home. 

Voila! – a Billy Bookcase from Ikea in my home office, which I no longer needed.

IKEA-fans are no strangers to the Billy Bookcase – the simple, practical and timeless bookcase that took the furniture world by storm.

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia – It is estimated that every 5 seconds, one Billy bookcase is sold somewhere in the world! There are approximately 60 million of these, or one for every 100 people, in the world! Not bad for humble bookcase, hey?! 

Knowing that I didn’t have to shop around for a cupboard, relieved, I got to work. This article is a result of my experience. 

Presenting, the IKEA Billy bookcase hack to instantly create more space in your laundry room:

  1. The bookcase had two short doors to store the “not-so-pretty” items 
IKEA Billy Bookcase hack
  1. To repaint, or not – Do you need to repaint it to match your laundry room theme? Since my colour scheme was going to blue, grey and white, I decided to paint if for a fresh look. 
  2. Make it conducive for painting – Lightly sand (medium/fine grit) the laminate to create a dull effect – you will achieve great results this way. However, you can skip this step if you don’t have an electric sander.
  3. Pick your poison (or paint, rather) – I love chalk and clay paint as it has amazing opacity, and delivers a beautiful velvety, chalky, matt finish. It is easy to work with and goes on almost any surface. I got mine from Made by Paint who have 43 beautiful colours to choose from. 

I used “Cotton White” for the entire unit and “Footpath” for the door trims. My go-to person for paints is a local furniture restoration store run by my lovely friend Jo who sells paint, transfers, and door handles. You can check her stuff HERE.

Note that mineral paint gives a glossy finish (but can be distressed as well); whereas Chalk paint needs a sealer as the texture is dull and can scratch easily.  Thus, I recommend the mineral paint if you want to do a two-coat process.  Milk paint gives you great results but requires more elbow grease as you need to apply the sealer and polish.

Usually, two coats of paint are sufficient. However, this will depend on the material you will paint over. Use a good quality brush and you just may get away with two coats even on the toughest surface. 

  1. Quick repairs – The backing board on my Billy bookcase was damaged. I covered it with a marble effect contact paper which you can get at KMART.  
  2. Beautify the doors – To instantly spruce up my doors I used a Décor Transfer from Re-design by PRIMA. Again, I purchased it from my local homewares store. There are clear, easy-to-follow instructions on the pack. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
IKEA Billy Bookcase hack
  1. You need to use a sealer (highly recommended for longevity) – also from the same paint brand – to help protect the paint finish from getting scratched.
  2. Some sparkle on your doors – Add pretty handles.

Aaaand, you’re done!

Instead of spending money on a brand-new cupboard, not to mention the time spent looking for one, block out a couple of hours over next weekend and you’ll have your own storage space tailored to your laundry room theme. 

If you have any questions, as always, drop me a message on Facebook or Instagram and I’ll be happy to help you out. 

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