Ikea Hack – Bookcase Unit – Part 2

before and after, Decorating, DIY, hack

How to hack a Kallax or two….

So it seems ages ago that I started on the Ikea Hack, which you can read my plans on here.  I spent 3 afternoons at my sisters building away, and it took ages to get around to photographing it due to flu, distance and time!  However, here it is finally.  Apologies in advance for the photos not being totally crisp, but the room has very little natural daylight so my flash was needed a lot…


We went down to Ikea and spent ages looking at the bookcases they had available. On reflection, we decided to forego the breakfront effect and go for a freestanding simple piece that could take all of her LP’s, books and more.  LP’s are deep, so they fit best in this type of storage system.  Kallax units seemed the best as they are extra deep.

As you can see they are very modern and graphic.  But they baskets are nice made from rattan and palm leaves, and give a future option for storage.

So we bough one 16 x cube Kallax and one 4 x cube horizontal Kallax.  We then headed home and I put them all together (top tip, electric screwdriver…)

Putting the Units together and joining them

The larger Kallax went underneath and the horizontal one was put on top.  This made the unit a good height.  Obviously it needed to be secured into one safe piece, so on the rear I used fixing plates at regular intervals to keep it secure.

Once that was done, we also added  simple 2 x 4 wood batons to the base at each end and in the middle so we had extra height for the base board we wanted to be attached.  I also added felt pads so that the piece can be easily slid on the wooden floors without catching and causing damage.

Now this was done we measured the sections we would need cornice for; top and bottom would be the same piece but inverted.  On the front of the piece is a double width horizontal section of front shelf where the two Kallax units meet, and so we measured this to make sure we got decorative moulding to cover it. You can see this wide section below.

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Finally we measured vertically the two side strips to find the needed amounts of  mouldings for those areas.  If you really love cutting mitred angles, you could actually get trim for every single vertical and horizontal element, but no way Jose for me on that one!

As the Kallax has no back to any of its units, we decided we had two options: a) attach a back made from plywood, T&G or similar material, or b) paint the wall behind where the unit would stand.  The latter seemed far easier, can be easily changed and saved money.  So we positioned the unit where it would stand and marked out the wall behind it and painted it a great Charcoal grey.  This will make items in the shelves really pop.

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Then it was off to the timber yard…I love this place!  We found some of the trims we needed here, but then had to go to another large DIY store to get the vertical trims we needed that would be the exact widths we were looking for.

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That day we primed and painted the trims so they would be ready for attaching the next day.

Adding trim

Starting with the top cornice, we measured the front and two side returns.  At this point I used my mitre block totally the wrong way and treated the trims like they were ceiling cornice (ie: upside down and angled in the block).  DO NOT DO THIS!!!!!   I wasted lots of trim until I figured out the correct process.  Instead, treat the trim like skirting board.  In the mitre block hold it on the side away from you, right way up.  Use 45 degree angles to cut right angles.  Here is an excellent detailed video which shows you how to do this.

Then it is a simple process.  The cornice was attached with No More Nails instant grab, and secured with a couple of panel pins whilst it dried.  You can see the right hand side here is awaiting its section.  I made a mistake on one cut on the front piece and had to glue it back together and fill it, but once sanded and painted this will not show.

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Then add on the base cornicing in exactly the same way but by turning the pieces upside down.  Then the top and bottom cornicing have identical and pleasing proportions.  I made mine about 2mm too short on one length so we filled it with wood filler to correct the join on the corner.  This cornicing then also covered the wooden struts we had attached to the base, and so baskets can be easily slid in and out if they are used without catching on the plinth cornice.

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Then I added the two vertical side sections, and once they were secured onto the unit I measured the wide horizontal area.

To cover this I used two identical strip mouldings with an additional piece of quartered bead in the middle so that the whole area would be covered.

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The horizontal section is two pieces of one style of trim with a quartered dowel beading in the middle.  Finally, using decorators mate fine filler, any small gaps were filled.

So this is the finished unit ready for its final paintwork to the wood trim. At this point I also secured it to the wall at the top rear using L shape plates, one end attached to the unit and the other attached to the wall behind using rawplugs into the brickwork.  There is no way this unit can possibly be moved or fall on anyone unless it is unscrewed from the wall behind it first.

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And finally…

We then finished off the piece with sanding down any filler, and paint on all the trims.  When it was dry, we filled it with hundreds of books, vinyl, CD’s, DVD’s and so on.  As the cubby holes are so deep you can do 2 layers of items, and LP’s fill a cubby hole perfectly.  There was even room to leave a couple of cubby holes empty for ceramics.

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My sister is a lover of all things ethnic:

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The shelves look really good, and the trim and cornicing makes them far less ‘Ikea’standard.

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Now that I have got to grips with angles and trims, I think I shall do one in my own house next…



2 thoughts on “Ikea Hack – Bookcase Unit – Part 2

  1. Wow!
    My first ever angry comment… !!!so sorry that Guy thinks it’s hideous, and amazed that people write such horrid things online


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