My favourite 3 IKEA Billy hacks

It’s amazing what you can create with a bit of inspiration and the right materials. Of course it’s never without risk, but isn’t that part of the fun of trying something out? Will it turn out the way I think? Or am I going to balls it up and never want to tackle another DIY project again? Hopefully the project ends in an immense level of pride, satisfaction and something beautiful to add to your home at little cost.

I’m starting a blog series My Favourite 3, which will focus on one type of DIY each time showing different ideas. First up, my favourite 3 IKEA Billy bookcase hacks. IKEA’s Billy bookcase was dreamed up in 1978 by an IKEA designer called Gillis Lundgren who sketched it on the back of a napkin to make sure he didn’t forget about his idea. Now there are 60-odd million in the world.

A Billy bookcase is instantly recognisable as an affordable IKEA item and such a ubiquitous piece of furniture is nothing to write home about, but creative people around the world are getting jiggy with the humble Billy and turning it into a thing of beauty. Here are my favourite 3 Billy bookcase hacks:

1.  Wall hung shelving

Design Sixty Nine IKEA Billy Hack
IKEA Billy bookcase hack by Design Sixty Nine

This one by Malcolm of Design Sixty Nine just knocks it out of the park for me. Can you believe this bespoke-looking wall hung shelving is made from Billy bookcases and kitchen bridging units? Creating this wasn’t a smooth one-weekend project for Malcolm, but rather a project that evolved over time. Read about his process on his blog. If you’re thinking of creating custom looking shelves from Billy bookcases, you may well learn some pearls of wisdom from his clever ideas and detailed explanations. And his styling is absolutely gorgeous!

2.  Built-in library

IKEA Billy bookcase hack by Remington Avenue

I adore this built-in library complete with beautiful lights created by Mysha of Remington Avenue and I can’t enough of her impeccable styling! I don’t think anyone could guess that this gorgeous storage is mostly made from Billy bookcases! Find Mysha’s tutorial on her blog.

3.  Dressing room storage

Swoonworthy IKEA Billy Hack
IKEA Billy bookcase hack by Swoon Worthy

Showing how versatile the Billy bookcase is, Kimberly of Swoon Worthy uses 2 of them in her dressing room for storage of shoes and accessories, all displayed beautifully. She gave the Billy bookcases the look of much more expensive shelving units by beefing them up with wider timber and adding timber door rain guards as moulding (hey if it works, why not?!), painting them to coordinate with the rest of the dressing room and wallpapering the backs in a fabulous leopard print. Check out Kimberly’s tutorial on her blog and follow up with her very useful tips on how to paint IKEA (or any other laminate) furniture.

I’m sure you’ll agree these 3 very different ways with Billy bookcases are all nothing short of stunning! Have you attempted a bookcase hack? I’d love to know!


Bedroom makeover

Bedroom moodboard

Our bedroom had been crying out for some TLC ever since we moved in, and we have finally managed to give it a little makeover and make it a more serene space. For a simple makeover, this has taken an awfully long time because all new purchases, even the paint, were only made during sales. Tightened belts and all that.

Here is the estate agent’s photo and a ‘before’ photo of the chimney breast:

Before - Estate Agent photo
Textured walls painted in a dull peachy beige colour, alcoves in brown, fireplace ruined with silver paint… not attractive!

A few years ago, I’d won a competition for a sizeable voucher to spend at Living It Up so that was my trigger for purchasing one of their gorgeous beds for an amazing bargain. This bed is my favourite thing in my home, but the dull brown walls did absolutely nothing for it…

Shortly after we moved in… our lovely bed looking a bit sad in these unattractive surroundings

The first obvious thing was to change the wall colour, and we opted for a pale warm grey – Dulux Pebble Shore. I think in some settings, this colour can look greige/taupe but in our bedroom it shows up as a soft warm grey. It always amazes me what a difference paint makes to a space. The grey instantly made the room feel lovely and calm. Even the textured walls look less noticeable now.

Bedroom chimney wall - Arty Home.jpg
‘I’m a cloud stealer’ art print by HappyMelvin on Society6 // ‘Lost Vase’ by House Doctor in Blue/Gold // Mini metal plant pot from H&M // Blue geometric plant pot from TKMaxx (no longer sold) // Chair – vintage // Bluebell cushion from Imogen Heath
Bedroom - afternoon light
The afternoon light in here is beautiful when the sun shines. Then the cloud stealer print really comes into its own! ✨

I found a gorgeous Liberty fabric at M is for Make but they only had the last half meter of it left. I bagged it before it totally sold out, and used it to sew a cover for my bolster cushion.

Totally in love with this Liberty Manning fabric! 😍

We’re keeping the IKEA MALM bedside drawers that the previous owners left us with because we find them very useful for storage, and also because I don’t want to buy anything now that may have to be replaced after our house extension is done in a few years’ time as this room size is likely to change.

The curtain pole was replaced by a burnished brass one that I snagged for less than £20 in a bank holiday sale. The dark grey blackout curtains were from a previous home which thankfully fit our window really well. I just had to alter the drop on them.

I had a black Scandi lamp which I was a bit bored of, but spray painting it gold (I used Montana Gold – Gold Chrome) made me love it again and it is now sitting very pretty on the bedside table!

Finally, I added a bedspread and chunky knit throw to finish the bed.

Charcoal bedspread from La Redoute // Platinum basketweave throw from West Elm

Can’t get enough of the gorgeous texture of this throw! 😍

I’ll add more greenery and art over time, and a rug when I find the right one at the right price, but for now I’m so pleased with how the vibe of the room has totally changed with just a few changes. The reduction in baby paraphernalia that was cluttering up our room also helps. 😃

Bedroom makeover - Arty Home

Affordable art: Textiles as art

Filling your home with lovely art shouldn’t cost you a fortune, so I’m running this Affordable Art series where I talk about economical ways to personalise your walls. The first post in the series was about Art Calendars, and for this second post, I’m talking about using textiles as art.

Have you seen a pretty fabric you love but can’t think of where to use it in your home? Hang it on your wall!

Marimekko fabric as art
A painterly Marimekko fabric turned into hanging art by Anu from Nalle’s House
Framed fabric.jpg
@michellematangi on Instagram framed this stunning fabric for her bedroom
St Frank fabrics as art gallery.jpg
A gallery of beautiful framed fabrics is such a great alternative to prints! Image: St Frank

Many tea towels have fantastic arty designs and really feel too gorgeous to wipe dishes with. Considering that a tea towel is usually priced between £8-£12, that is incredible value for a great sized piece of art. You can usually use economical standard sized frames: either 50x70cm or A1 size with a custom mount, or make an easy hanging kit with wooden dowels and string.

There are countless designs of tea towels with themes of kitchen art, bar art, typography, bold graphics, animals, dinosaurs, sea life, humour, romance, maps, architecture, gardening, icons of the past or present… the list is endless! So if there’s a room in your home where you want seriously affordable art, look for tea towels! If the same design is available as a print on art paper, it’ll definitely be a lot more expensive! I’d get the tea towel :-).

Framed Tea Towels by Bianca French For Pineapple
How chic do these framed graphic tea towels look as part of a black and white gallery in the living room of Bianca of French for Pineapple?

The intro in this magazine article says it all really –

Framed scarf from Martha Stewart Living.jpg
Image: Martha Stewart Living

If you’ve inherited a gorgeous vintage scarf, or scored a pretty one in a charity shop, or even nabbed one with a modern painterly or bold graphic design in a sale, it might just be the perfect accessory for your wall… if you don’t plan to wear it, that is.

Framed scarf - bedroom.jpg
Image: The Design Chaser
Framed orange Hermes scarf above bar
Image: Elements of Style

Have you used a textile as art? Or framed anything else that’s unexpected? I’d love to hear your ideas!