by checklist

ikea shelf hack to bar for blog post

Inexpensive IKEA bookshelves “hacked” and repurposed to become a stowable home bar

Everyone has purchased those big box bookshelves at some point in their lives. You know what we’re talking about; the flat box some assembly required bookshelves made of laminated particle board. What do you generally do with those when they’re no longer suitable or needed to store books? Use them to store electronics? Throw them away?

Let’s look at several ways to repurpose those old bookshelves to create something new. We enjoy seeing homeowners repurpose and upcycle items when they can. We enjoy being part of the process even more!

Take a look at some of these amazing ideas for old bookshelves:

  • Bench – Just because a bookshelf normally stands upright vertically doesn’t mean it always has to. Flip it on its side, install supports as needed, and add a custom cushion to the top to create an amazing bench with storage below.
  • Headboard – This is another great idea that requires that the bookshelf be flipped onto its side. Paint it whatever color it needs to be in order to complement the bedroom decor, and enjoy having a new headboard.
  • Table – Remove the cardboard backing and place a butcherboard or old countertop on top. Add supports as needed, and the old bookshelf becomes an amazing new table for two.
  • Sofa Table – Horizontal bookshelves often make beautiful sofa tables. They have compartments to use for decorative purposes, and are the perfect height.
  • Planters – Lay the bookshelf on its front and reinforce the back with plywood. Flip it over so it is lying on the newly reinforced back, and the shelves act as separators for various plants. Protect the finish and the plywood by using planters, and your new planter box will last for years.
  • Dollhouse – A short bookshelf can become a dollhouse with very little effort. Paint it or apply wallpaper that the dolls in question will love, and start moving their furniture in. This is also a great place for cars and trucks, like Hot Wheels, to park or go to the garage for repairs.
  • Wine Cabinet – Install wine glass hangers and use your favorite bottles as decoration.
  • Closet – Remove the shelves and install a couple of hanging bars to hang clothing. Alternatively, you could leave a shelf or two in both the top and bottom, and hang clothing in the middle.
  • Desk – This is the perfect opportunity to create a hidden folding desk. Use hinges to attach a piece of plywood to one of the shelves. The hinges could swing up or down depending on the style you prefer.
  • Bed or Child’s Bedroom Furniture – Cover the entire bookshelf with plywood and cover it with a mattress or cushions.
  • Shoe Storage – Simply move the old bookshelf into the closet and put a strip of wall trim along the edge of each shelf to keep shoes firmly in place.
  • Door – Attach the bookshelf to a pantry door or a closet door, effectively creating your own hidden doorway.
  • Children’s Play Kitchen – Most children enjoy having their own kitchen play set. Create your custom play set by cutting out a spot for a sink and some burners. Really get creative and add some shelving for old spice bottles and unique knobs from your local hardware for the stove controls.

We have several other great ideas in mind, but you get the idea – an old bookshelf can be reused in a variety of ways. If you have an old bookshelf and would like to turn it into something completely customized for your home, call us at 347-695-1882 to discuss your ideas. One of our handymen or handywomen will schedule a consultation with you to bounce ideas and make plans.