A Simple Hack to Make a BILLY Bookcase More Useful in a Kids’ Room

published Apr 19, 2023
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Ikea Billy bookshelf with kids toys and games.
Credit: Anjali Prasertong

When it was time to do a “big kid” makeover on my then-5-year-old son’s room, I wanted to buy a couple of BILLY bookcases to add more storage space for his growing collection of books, board games, LEGO sets, and Star Wars figures. With its clean lines and affordable price, IKEA’s Billy bookcase is a great choice for kids’ rooms, but I realized its configuration — while great for books — wasn’t ideal for storing and displaying items of varying size. Luckily, there was an easy $12 fix that made Billy the perfect bookcase for my son’s big-kid room.

It’s simple: For each of the bookcases, I bought an extra shelf, which IKEA sells for $12 to $20, depending on the finish. It might not seem like one additional shelf would make a huge difference, but with my kid’s voracious Lego-building habit, an extra shelf meant we could configure enough space to display his creations and minimize dead space between shelves.

Credit: Anjali Prasertong

The extra shelf also makes for more kid-friendly storage of items that are stacked horizontally, like board games and puzzles. Instead of a towering pile on one shelf, they are stacked in shorter piles, divided by a shelf. If my son needs the game at the bottom of a pile, he only has to extract it from beneath one or two other boxes — which is much easier, especially for younger kids, with less risk of a pile of eight puzzle boxes tumbling to the floor.

Of course, there is also plenty of room for books, which have started to take up more shelf space as my son has gotten older. I have no doubt that these bookcases will serve him well into his high school years, and I’m already wondering if he’ll want to add some OXBERG doors to hide his teenage secrets at that point. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the flexible, affordable shelf space that keeps his most prized possessions front and center.

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