TikTok's DIY Creates Built-In Bookshelves For A Stunning Reading Room

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Picture this: You just bought the house of your dreams, and hidden upstairs is the coziest nook. It has gorgeous light from the skylight windows and warm wooden floors. You can't help but imagine what it would be like to turn that tiny, serene space into your own personal library. There's only one problem. The walls don't exactly create perfect rectangles, making it rather difficult to pick out bookshelves. So, what do you do instead? Make your own built-in bookshelf to fit the space, of course.

Inspired by DIY expert Steffy Degreff (@steffydegref on TikTok), this project transforms any room with a custom-designed built-in bookcase, creating the library and reading room of your dreams. Using common board (softwood and whitewood are the most popularly used) and 2 ½-inch molding as well as her trusty power drill, circular saw, corner clamp, and her paint color of choice, Degreff made gorgeous built-in shelves that will leave any bookworm envious.

Before you start building, consider the color of your shelves. In this project, the color of the back of the bookcase is determined by the wall, so first paint the wall with the color of your choosing. Degreff used a forest green color in her DIY. Once the paint is completely dry, it's time to measure out the space and get building.

How to set up your own built-in bookshelves

First, ask yourself: What does the space you're working with look like? Is it one wall, an entire room, or are you building around a door like Steffy Degreff did in her TikTok? Measure out the sections you need to build, then plan how many shelves you want within each section. Degreff built six shelves from top to bottom, including one narrow shelf above the door to complete the built-in bookcase against the entire wall. Once you've measured, build the frames of each section to fit the space, like a rectangle shape on the bottom and a triangle on top.

Once the frames are in place, line up the common boards you've cut for shelves and secure them to the wall. You can secure the shelves by either using shelf brackets for mounting (available on Amazon for $7) or pocket screws with a drill. This works well for smaller, uneven spaces, such as a bookcase wrapping around a doorframe. Degreff then installed 2 ½-inch molding around the edges of her new bookshelf, also known as the face frame, to give it a sleeker finish. 

Once the molding has been measured and secured with a drill, it's time to paint. For a truly built-in look, paint your bookcase the same color as the walls. If you're feeling bold, go for a second color choice. If you also have a door to paint, just be sure to use this secret ingredient to clean the door before a fresh coat of paint.

Add extra support for heavy loads

Steffy Degreff created a stylized look on her shelves with a mixture of books and trinkets to give the space an eclectic, cozy feel. But what if you plan on cramming every little free space on your built-in shelves with books? Will the shelves support the heavy load? No one wants a sagging bookcase, and if it all falls apart, it could be dangerous.

Although the boards are held firm with shelf brackets or screws, you can add extra support by installing wall anchors; metal and toggle bolts are the best materials for holding heavier loads such as books. If you're working with long shelves that cover a good amount of wall space, support beams are known to work with a wider shelf and keep everything steady. 

You can build support beams using thin pieces of wood, such as 1-by-2s. Secure them to the back and sides of the bookcase under each shelf with wood glue and a nail gun, then use the same tools to anchor the shelves to the support beams. If you don't feel like doing all of this work by yourself, use this IKEA hack to DIY gorgeous built-in bookshelves.