the built-ins {part one}

When designing the family room section of the basement I knew I wanted a wall of bookcases, storage and media storage. We decided that at some point we were going to bite the bullet and purchase a wall mounted television so I made space for that as well. I wanted built-ins, I just didn’t want the built in price. I went to the IKEA site to see what I could find. I knew I wanted wood pieces that could be customized. The Hemnes line at IKEA is just that. This series is made of pine and painted either white, black or a lovely shade of greige (yes, that is a word).

I knew that I was going to have about 17 feet of wall space to work with so I picked the pieces I wanted and added up the dimensions. This took a little bit of figuring out. I went under 17 feet and decided that I would just add wall on either end. I chose a total of five pieces, a tv unit, two glass door cabinets with drawers and two bookcases. They totaled about 14 feet in width. 
Once the pieces came in and were put together we decided to space them out instead of building walls on either side. We were putting wood to cover the joints between each unit so those pieces of wood just became a little wider. 
The tv unit was also deeper in depth so the 4 units on the sides were bumped out a bit so they all sit flush in the front. Some pieces were added behind each of those pieces and then the sides were covered with more wood. The top of the tv unit was removed since the original width did not cover the strips of wood added in between each unit.  

Above the tv unit section are pieces to match the board and batten in the rest of the room. The tv will be mounted in the center of all that. The wires necessary for the television, cable, and whatever other things we will have like Wii, etc, will all run within the wall and come out from behind the tv unit. I didn’t want all that woodwork to be ruined by wires hanging down!

A soffit was built across the top, completing the built-in look. This is hiding all those wires and pipes. One long piece of wood was also added along the entire bottom, hiding the legs and cleaning up the entire look.

Everything will be painted with a coat of white semi gloss paint. That should be happening soon. After that it is just flooring and some finishing touches. I’m drooling just looking at this next picture. The entire built-in unit will hold books, board games, some decorative touches, dvd’s, and so much more! If I had actually had someone create a built-in I would have paid about 3 to 4 times what it cost for some well constructed IKEA pieces and wood strips! 

What do you think? Does it look like an original built-in?


  1. says

    I think it looks terrific, well done. I love built ins. It’s nice to see my ad on your sidebar sweetie. Thanks again. xo Please stop by and say hello at my Keepsakes By Katherine blog and I hope I will see you at Katherines Corner tomorrow for the hop :-)

  2. says

    WOW!! I love that you used more than just the Ikea shelves but the Hemnes with doors and drawers!! If you happen to remember, let me know when you post the final installment of this project, I’d love to feature it on one of the Bird Watching posts or Nest Files if you want–looks FANTASTIC!!!

  3. says

    OK I am in love!!! I don’t have a basement but a great room with a 20ft ceiling and I need to do something. I adore this. ADORE! I will be showing this to my husband and seeing if he wants to do this with me. It’s perfect for what we need. Well, almost. I would prefer the TV higher off the ground. I bet we could figure out a platform of some sort or double of a TV stand in some way. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Can I say this enough??

  4. Laura says

    Thank you so much for showing this! I, too, love it! Our ceiling is a bit higher than yours (8ft) and we want stained wood, instead. (It’s my husband’s ye olde library.) So, our challenges are a little different from yours. But thanks for the fantastic inspiration! :)

  5. says

    Beautiful! You aren’t kidding about the custom prices either. We are going through that right now, needing a bookcase 8 ft. high and 7 wide. Outrageous! We have an IKEA nearby so I may have to take another look at them…

  6. says

    I saw your comment on Centsational Girl – love this! Ikea is fabulous and I love how versatile their pieces can be. I made my own hack too, both with the Rast dresser and Markor sideboard

  7. says

    I love your built-in look. We’ll be moving soon, so I’m bookmarking your page for further reference. However, one question… how will/did you run the wires for your peripherals behind the wall? That looks like it would be a challenge to do after the fact.

    • says

      The wiring and plumbing were already in place before the IKEA pieces were put up. Any wiring we had that we wanted to hide was brought to that spot to avoid having to make holes in the ceiling. The pieces were laid out along the wall and then were boxed in at the top with molding. I can send you some more pictures of the process in the “during” phase if you’d like…

    • says

      Thank you! We did not prime the pieces before we painted. We sprayed the entire room, board and batten included, with Benjamin Moore Bright White. The top section about the board and batten was painted with Benjamin Moore Brandy Cream!.

  8. says

    Love this project – great work! Do you have more pictures of how you did the bottom/top/spaces between the pieces? I am wanting to do this to our study with a desk instead of a TV stand but I am not quite sure where to begin.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  9. maee says

    hi! did you paint everything with white semi gloss or just the exposed wood that you added? i am finishing my ikea hack and added some trim and “shiplap” feature to where the tv would mount. i am worried that it would be different shade of white with the hemnes.
    thank you!

  10. brandi says

    Hi, this is so nice!! We are trying to figure out a solution for our den. I love the idea of hacking the Ikea shelves but have always been worried about the ‘finish’. How do you get the Ikea shelving, the trim and the wall cover to look like one cohesive piece? Do you actually spray the Ikea shelving too?? If you do, do you do all of the pieces separate (drawers, etc) or do you do the whole thing assembled? If not, what DO you spray? Sorry for all the questions, but these are the things that have always held me back from the attempt!! Thanks :)

  11. Brooke says

    Hello Christina,

    I have to reiterate all the praise for this project. It looks fab! I love it so much I’m snagging your idea for our basement reno out here in Denver. (I first saw your project on houzz and said out loud to my husband, “THAT’S IT!”)

    Question: I saw this post is from 2012. I’m guessing it’s been about 5 years’ish since it was first installed. How have the IKEA built-ins held up to kiddos?

    Wonderful blog btw. Fantastic ideas.


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