Sunday, September 19, 2010

DIY: Painting Ikea Furniture - Bookcase Makeover

My humble Ikea Billy bookcases (purchased long ago on a single-girl-moving-out-of-the-house-with-parents’-help-budget) and TV bench have been screaming for a makeover for years. I wanted to try painting them white. I expected the process of painting something that is, well, cardboard, to be a hassle. It wasn’t. The only frustration that I really encountered was having to paint within a confined space that was already mid-renovation due to new flooring. Here’s the end result.

Here is the before photo (dated by the old stereo)

I love the look of bead board paneling. I had some cut to size at a hardware store to replace the original back panels of the bookcases. It was secured with nails and trim so that it would rest flush and secure against the shelving.

With the shelves and hardware removed, I roughed up the bookcases with medium grit sandpaper. Then, I applied 2 coats of Fresh Start primer, which was recommended by the lovely people at Benjamin Moore. It adhered beautifully and dried quickly.

I applied two coats of Aura paint from Benjamin Moore in Mascarpone with matte finish. It’s water-based with zero VOCs so it is not only phenomenal paint, but also environmentally friendly. For application, I used a 3/8” mohair roller.

I used Alex caulk to fill in the gaps then touched it up with paint. 

And then I added Zinnia knobs from Anthropologie, regularly $8.95, on sale for $2.95. 

And voila, my Ikea transformation was complete. 


  1. WOW!! You are one talented gal!! Wat a complete makeover!!! The book shelf looks great...Another one of your DIY projects???...oh ya you even have your sunburst decorative mirror hanging on the wall!! It looks F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S:-)

  2. ..And look...I see your garden stool!!!

  3. I'm about to paint up some Billy furniture and needed 'help' and fell upon this through Google! Question: Any paint denting, chipping or yucky side effects? How's it looking all these years after? :) Stephie PS: Looks awesome! Very fresh!

  4. Hi Stephanie! They are still holding out with no yucky side effects. Go for it! The back panel (which I replaced with breadboard) didn't hold the primer. Primer was definitely key. I'd love to see your pics when you're done! Good luck!

  5. Did you only use mohair rollers? Could you see the roller marks at all?

  6. Yep. That's all I used. Didn't see any roller marks. Of course, I was careful with pressure on the second coat.


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