Monday, February 3, 2014

KILBY Bookcase Hack

So recently, my husband and I took our very first trip to IKEA. Well, actually my husband had been there a few times before, but it was all new and very overwhelming to me.

We were at the store in search of a couch, which we acquired (more on that soon, I promise), but we also needed some bookshelves. I don't know if they were featured in any of my boring apartment pictures, but I've got boxes and boxes of books just laying around the apartment with no where to put them.

Even though we've been here for over 6 months, the boxes everywhere make it look like we just moved in.

More bookshelves. Specifically, the KILBY bookcase that we found for a steal ($25) at IKEA. 

The new problem? 
It's kind of well, ugly as all get out. See for yourselves:
The KILBY bookcase from IKEA

What in the name of interior decorating is with that ugly grey backing? It seems to be the only difference between the KILBY and the much more expensive BILLY is that ug-o grey back.

New solution? 
No problem, we'll hack it and make it pretty.

Enter two cans of Krylon Island Splash spray-paint. Only my husband and I are crazy enough to be spray painting outside when it's 20 degrees. We had one of those plastic table-cloth covers and we laid it over the back of our balcony so that we could spray away without worrying about making a mess in our rented space.

It took several coats of paint (we had to run out mid-project to get the second can of paint), and was frustratingly uneven for most of the job. It's been a long time since I spray painted anything, and for some reason I completly forgot how difficult it can be to get everything to come out smooth and even (even if you're using a glossy finish paint). But in the end, everything turned out even better than I had expected.

Check it out:

I call it the KILBY SPLASH

I love our IKEA hack! It adds such a wonderful splash of color to our drab apartment! 

So what's next? We're supposed to be getting a couch and well... stay tuned!

So what do you guys think? Would you "hack" a bookcase like this? Have you? What's your favorite hack? Let us know in the comments!


  1. That bookshelf needs significantly more shelves. You see all the space between the top of the books and the next shelf? That's space for ANOTHER SHELF. More book space. All the book space. BOOKS!


  2. That's a fabulous solution, Caryn! I got two Kilby shelves earlier this year (well, in early 2014!). I hated the backing, too, so I just put my two Kilbys up without the backing. My wall is pale yellow, so it looks pretty showing through the shelves. I liked the Kilby because of its smaller dimensions than the Billy, and also the great low price. One difference between it and the Billy is that on the Kilby you can see the screws on the outside of the side panels - it's definitely made more cheaply than the Billy in that respect - but, who cares about that! I agree with the poster's comment above about the need for more shelves. I actually bought a third Kilby right after I got my first two, just to get the extra shelves. Figured it was only $25 and it would make the bookshelves much more useful, which it I have a narrow shelf for small paperbacks and stuff. I used the leftover Kilby pieces for various projects. Bad news though - I just came back from Ikea New Haven, where I journeyed in the snow specifically to pick up another Kilby. Well, guess what: Ikea has discontinued it. I stumbled upon your blog because I came home and immediately googled the Kilby to find out more about the discontinuation! They now have one slightly smaller than the Kilby for same (Kilby) price, and it only comes in white and black. I didn't get it, because I wanted it to match my other Kilbys. I might be forced to get a birch Billy, which will be a lot bigger but at least the color will be similar. I hate it when Ikea does that!!! They did that a few years back with a dresser I have, too. It's always the popular items they seem to discontinue. I suspect that when something is selling well, they see it as an opportunity to increase their profit margin by discontinuing it and make something similar but more cheaply. which the customer is then forced to settle for. Hence the new shelf that is the exact same price as the Kilby, but smaller. I wish I had gotten another Kilby last year when I had the chance! Take care! :) - Kate in CT

    1. Hey Kate! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! We went back to IKEA a few months ago to pick up more bookcases, and were also saddened to discover that the KILBY had been discontinued :(. We ended up picking up 2 of the "GERSBYs", which is that plain white bookcase you mentioned. We did the same trick of painting the backs. One's orange and the other one's purple. This time though, we went to Lowe's and picked up those little sample pots of paint (they'll mix one in any color you like) for ~$3.99 (and it covered 16 sq. ft.). Rolling the paint on was soooo much easier than spray-painting, and cheaper, actually.
      I was worried I wouldn't like 'em, since they were kinda plain and ugly looking, but they're beautiful and funky with their painted backs. My husband (who tends to over-engineer everything) wanted me to point out that IKEA furniture isn't too stable, and is going to be at its most stable and safe with the backing on.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Enjoy your day, and Happy New Year!

  3. In the last two weeks I found two Kilbys discarded at the curb for refuse pickup. I felt the need to rescue the first one at the curb on a street in Manhattan. A few days later I picked up an antique for a customer of mine in Brooklyn and low and behold . . .another Kilby thrown out and at the curb in front of the antique store! Of course I rescued that one also. Both were complete and in excellent condition. I am removing one of the backings and placing one in front of another with the shelves at the same height so that I have a deeper storage shelve unit.

    Kevin K-- BoxcarNY Transport Service