DIY Built In Bookshelves Around a Fireplace

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

All the details around the project I FINALLY convinced Jordan to let us do in our living room – built ins around our fireplace!

DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace


DIY Built In Billy Bookcases

Since I’ve fallen back in love with reading, I was starting to have books pile up that I got from our local second hand bookstore here with no place to go and they were starting to get sad.

So what’s a girl to do except beg her husband once more for the project she’s wanted since they redid this dang kitchen?

white paint roller on door

The problem is that since the black was out of stock and I was tired of waiting, I had to paint these god forsaken things and if you don’t know, painting Ikea furniture is annoying.

But it’s done and so now I’m here to tell you how we made them look built in!

I am sure there are many ways to get built in bookshelves around a fireplace, and it’s going to depend on your space, but we were able to fit 3 bookcases on each side of our fireplace with the glass doors on them as well as a row of the shorter single bookcases on top.

DIY Billy Built Ins



This isn’t going to be a super in depth tutorial because all the exact steps we followed are from my friend in real life who also happens to have done this once, Chelsea from Making Home Base so you can read everything they did exactly on her site!

man cutting wood on the edge of his truck

Our first step was to cut our 1×2 and 2×4 to size to fit under 1 of the larger BILLY bookcases and one of the smaller ones on each side of our fireplace.

black ikea billy bookcases held together with clamp

Using our sturdiest wood clamps, we squoze (<– technical term) them together while we used wood screws to screw it in place.

We made sure to screw the whole unit into the studs and attach the anti tip kit to make sure it’s really going nowhere.

Our baseboards are 6 inches and so we wanted these to sit over them since the BILLY bookcases have the notch in the back to go over baseboards.

white glass door for ikea billy bookcase open

After 500 years of painting, we put the doors on just to make sure they were going to line up the way we wanted them.

I took them off and continued my painting process.

woman's hand holding leather door pull with brass hardware

My biggest tip when trying to customize furniture is ALWAYS change out the knobs and hardware.

There are so few times I use the knobs that actually come with furniture and this time was no exception.

black ikea billy bookshelves glass door open

Since there were already holes pre-drilled in the BILLY bookcases, I didn’t fill them and instead used these as guides to add our new leather pulls.

DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace

The last step was to add in the trim work and paint it black to match the rest of the cabinets and MY DREAMS OF DIY BUILT IN BOOKSHELVES AROUND A FIREPLACE came true!

DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace with glass doors

I’m truly not here to gloat, but I take most of the credit for this.

Jordan’s hang up was that he didn’t think it would look good if it stuck out further than the fireplace.

Update on that: It sticks out further than the fireplace and still looks very physically attractive.

DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace

We have had this firewood holder for a couple of years and now I’m so glad that we get to have it and use it.

When we redid the kitchen, we decided to add a gas line to the fireplace since we were going to be getting a gas range as well and it’s a great decision.

You just pop in the real logs on top of the gas fire starter and it’s the easiest way to get a fire going quickly.

closeup of bookshelf decor in DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace

The biggest thing about these shelves is what to put on them. Because I can’t just do random vases and decor items because I also need to decorate the shelves with books I read.

I apparently have a thing for hands, seeing as I bought these at two different times from two different stores.

For some reason the hand vase (which I love) is actually white, but no matter how I took this photo, it kept showing up gray. So just know that.

Having bookshelves around the fireplace now finally means that I not only have a place to store my books, but a reason to shop for bookends, but as I quickly found out – they’ve gone WAY up in price if you want them to be aesthetically pleasing.

Stylish Modern Bookends Under $50


I was super sad that we didn’t get a mantle in time for Christmas this past year, but hopefully we will be able to get one soon and install it because I feel like it will just add the final touch to this project.

DIY black built in bookshelves around fireplace

Either way I’m still super stoked that we have built in shelves in our living room.

I feel it’s the perfect addition to the sides of the fireplace and with the black contrast adds a great main focal point to the room.

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