See how this DIY-er transformed an IKEA Billy bookcase into a luxury cabinet – it’s stunning

Some MDF, moulding strips and paint took this unit from plain to insane

Finding the perfect piece of furniture can be tough going, especially if you've got high-end taste on a high-street budget. However, this IKEA Billy bookcase hack has inspired us to get creative with our favourite IKEA buys.

For more inspiration visit our DIY and Decorating ideas channel

Clever DIYer Jennifer Rothbury transformed her Billy bookcase into a stylish cabinet complete with fluted wood, soft curves and slinky handles. 'I'd been looking for a unit to go in a little gap outside of our bathroom for ages, to store our linen,' Jennifer says, 'and IKEA's Billy bookcase was just the right size.'

The Instagrammer (you can find Jennifer here) loves showing off her hacks and revamps to followers. 'I tend to get most of my ideas from Instagram or Pinterest, or I just pull together different design ideas I’ve seen and try to make them work on a piece of furniture,' she says.

room with white jug in white cupboard

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

'My aim is to always have a unique piece with a more expensive feel, but for a fraction of the cost that you’d pay in a high-end shop!'

Jennifer started by buying a Billy bookcase with Oxberg glass doors, which was just the right width and height for the space she wanted it for. 'I built it all, but left off the doors,' she says, 'as I needed them flat to be able to work on.'

After lightly sanding down the laminate frame and shelves, Jennifer primed all of the cabinet ready for painting.

Buy now: Billy bookcase with Oxberg doors, £95, IKEA

Creating the arch

hand holding black pencil and white thread roll

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

Using a piece of 6mm MDF, Jennifer measured out the door width and height, then created an arch that would attach to the top half of the cabinet doors.

'Find the mid point of your arch, wrap a piece of string around your pencil and away you go,' she explains. 'Then cut the arch out, using a jigsaw and you're left with two half-arch pieces.'

Buy now: MDF board, £16.97, B&Q

Attaching the MDF

wooden door with curved mdf and gorilla glue

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

The next step is to attach the two curved pieces of MDF to the Billy doors. 'I used Gorilla Glue, which sticks them on firmly' says Jennifer.

Buy now: Gorilla Wood Glue, £7.50, B&Q

Add moulded strips

door with moulded strips and gorilla glue

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

With the top half of the cabinet made, it's time to turn your attention to the bottom. 'I cut some moulded strips to the right length and sanded the edges,' Jennifer says.

'Then I glued them on to the bottom part of the doors – I used nine pieces of ribbed mouldings in total, although I cut them all in half, so it made 18 pieces in total. I also weighed the wood down while the glue dries to keep them in place.'

Buy now: Decorative Pine Reeded Angle Moulding, £4.23, B&Q

Get painting

door frame with moulded strips and white chair

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

Once the glue was dry, it was time to prime and paint the doors. 'I had some paint left over from another project, so I used that,' says Jennifer.

Buy now: Craig & Rose 1829 eggshell paint in Dried Plaster, £16.50 for 750ml, Homebase

Add the handles

door frame with golden door handles

(Image credit: Jennifer Rothbury)

Luxe gold handles were added to the doors to give the unit an opulent look. 'I bought two knurled brass T-bar handles from Plank Hardware for £17 each,' says Jennifer. 'They gave the perfect finishing touch.' Our guide to how to fit a door handle has some helpful tips if you want to try this yourself.

Buy now: Knurled T-bar handles in solid brass, £16.95 each, Plank Hardware

The doors were hung and you'd never believe this finished unit cost Jennifer just under £196. 'I've done quite a few IKEA hacks over the past year and would say this is my favourite so far,' she says. 'It's fairly straightforward to do and made a real change from the original unit.'

Related: See how a DIY fan created a stunning modern patio for just £38 using a stencil and paint

Have you got a clever make that you'd like to show off? Get in touch - we'd love to see what you create.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at