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Billy Bookcase Hack with Library Ladder

I have always loved reading. Like, really loved it. Like, I have an at least 2 books a week habit, sometimes 3 depending. I pretty much always have a book stashed in my glove box, purse, night stand, back pocket, it’s a must for me. My mom always made a point of bringing us to the library when we were kids just like her mom used to bring her.

You know that scene in Beauty in the Beast where Belle discovers the library? There are a gazillion books from floor to ceiling and she goes flying around on the ladder checking them all out. Yeah, that was my dream when I was little, not the marrying the prince part (although the Mr. is pretty great) but having my very own floor to ceiling library where I whipped back and forth on the ladder, it seemed like the best idea ever!

A close up of a book shelf

And so I finally have made all my childhood dreams come true (ok well not all of them, I still really want a hover board like Michael J Fox had in Back to the Future, but I’ll keep waiting patiently on that one) and built my very own library complete with sliding ladder. The upstairs hallway seemed like the perfect spot for this, right outside our bedroom door.

A room with a book shelf

Ok, so when I say built, I had a little help from Ikea. I’m sure you all have seen Billy Bookcase hacks before on Pinterest. I’ve always wanted to try it and I was scared, but it really is as easy as it looks. Our ceilings are 9 ft tall so I grabbed 2 of the original Billy bookcases and 4 of the extensions packs. I stacked them all on top of each other securing them to each other AND studs in the wall. Then I just trimmed them out with inexpensive trim and my trusty nail gun to give them that built in look. That was the easy part.

A close up of a book shelf

A book shelf filled with books

Next came the ladder…

A long hallway with window seat

I happened upon this amazing beat up old ladder at an antique store I hit up sometimes (Duvals Antiques in Hastings, MI for you locals) and I was so geeked because the rustic finish was perfect on it. It was a 12 ft ladder so I had to cut it down, but it was love at first sight.

A book shelf filled with books

 And then this project sat, and sat, and sat some more. I wasn’t quite sure how to make my flying thru the air on a ladder ala Belle dreams come true, but it was going to happen. Enter my blogging bestie Allison over at The Golden Sycamore (go check it out her style is amazing!). She is a fellow Michigander who lives on the east side of the state conveniently close to an Ikea (lucky duck). I regularly make excuses to visit Ikea (because duh) and consequently Allison. We met at Ikea where I proceeded to nearly kill her with my shopping cart (not the first the time sadly) and she helped me load up all my Billy’s. As if this didn’t win her a gold star already, I popped by her house to see her latest projects and sweet kiddos, when I fell in love with the barn door she had just installed in her basement (check it out here). Her husband was nice enough to explain how he hung it all up and a lightbulb went off in my head! I could totally use a barn door sliding thing (technical term) to make my ladder slide.

I hit up our farm and fleet store grabbed the barn door sliding thing, plus wheels for the bottom of my ladder…

A close up of a ladder

and this doohickey hardware that works with the barn door. They are big long screws that screwed down into my ladder, with a little liquid nails thrown in for good measure.

A piece of wood

I knew I didn’t quite have the right tools to do this one on my own, so I hit up my Uncle Rick, who is busy building my brother’s new house down the street. He helped me screw the hardware down into my ladder and also cut the barn door sliding thing down to the right size for my bookcase. We screwed it into the ceiling joists with some lag bolts and tada!

A person standing in front of a book shelf, with IKEA Billy Bookcase

My very own Belle moment! I’m still messing around with the styling of the shelves. I truly want this to be a “library” so I have a lot more books on here then I would, say if I was just styling my downstairs builtins. So far, I’ve just used what I have around, but I’m sure it will evolve as time goes on and I accumulate more books….as I always am.

A close up of a book shelf filled with books

A close up of a book shelf

PS – Thank you so much for all the AMAZING comments on my last post, you all must love a Birch Lane throw and I can hardly blame you! With 200 comments I haven’t been able to respond to all of them, but I SO appreciate all your sweet words and the winner of the throw has been emailed. Thanks so much for reading this silly spot of mine on the internet -you have no idea how much you all brighten my day!

Billy Bookcase Hack with Library Ladder

A book shelf filled with books


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  1. I am absolutely inlove with your style, i fee like i know you because i love the same stuff as you.
    You are a breathe of fresh air dear

  2. Totally love it! I love your style…will you please come to my house??!!! :) Have a great holiday weekend!

  3. Love this! Totally pinning this for our huge house remodel! What a great way to have all the books in the house in the same spot!

  4. This is so fun! What a great idea. I would totally do something like this in my house. If only I actually had time to read!

    1. Thanks Christin, I’m a night owl reader :) books are the reason I have dark under eye circles every day!

  5. Ohhhhhh Kelly!! It turned out amazing! I love the ladder and the fact that you just go sliding across that bookcase anytime. How fun! PS I miss you and Allison so much!

  6. thank you for posting this. I love a good IKEA hack! It looks wonderful and the ladder is perfect.

  7. Wow! Simply wow! And love it! That’s a dream of mine as well since I’ve got a library worth of books here and there around my home. Thanks for sharing it with us … And once again, I just love your blog and look forward to each post. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer so far!

  8. Kelly – I love the bookcase and ladder. Awesome idea! Where did you find the cute chalkboard that is one the shelf? Thanks again for showing us your beautiful home!

  9. Genius! Love your Belle library! One of our favorite Disney movies. Kathleen in Az

  10. Fabulous! You are so tenacious – you always stick with it until it gets done no matter how long it takes. One of the first things I did to our new house was have wall-to-wall bookshelves built across one wall of our den. Every time I walk by I swoon. Only other furniture in there is a cozy reading chair and ottoman and a desk. I just finished making a long seat cushion for the window seat in case someone else insists on invading my space. Enjoy your mini library.

  11. Kelly,
    It looks WONDERFUL! I too, have always wanted big tall bookcases. When i was dating my husband (39) years ago, wait what? Time sure does fly. Anyway, I walked into his aunt and uncles house and there smack in the middle of the living room was a whole wall bookcase. I like you, fell in love with it. We have a large room that we are still deciding on what to do with it and I keep imaging what you made. We are getting a new Ikea here in St. Louis sooo…


  12. I love this book case and ladder. Looks amazing. Seriously, when do you have time to read 2 books a week?
    Enjoy your blog. Can’t wait for my emails from you. Thank You.

    1. Well I am a fast reader but I’m also a night owl :) I typically read from 10-midnight or later every night!

  13. Hi,

    Neat idea! What have been some of your very favorite books for summer reading?

    1. Oh goodness let me think here, I just read Girl on a Train, Fangirl, and the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls.

  14. I love this! I have an entire room filled with 11 crappy Walmart bookcases on 3 walls (4th has the closet, a gallery of grandkids, & the door to hallway). One of the bookcase walls has a window, so that is where I put my desk, which meant I had to turn 2 bookcases sideways AR right angles to the wall. It creates a sort of nook on each side of the desk with the back of each bk case providing bulletin board areas (very handy next to a desk).
    Anyway, back to the bkcase layout. Where they turn sideways, they create little alcoves with one facing another wall of books & the other facing the closet. At any rate, I have always wished I could slide a ladder around the entire 3-walled space & you have given me faith that it can be done, although I think I would need curved tracks for the corners (kind of like the tracks for curtains that slide around hospital beds – does that make sense???)
    I am going to clear out the stuff that has accumulated & post a pic on ig. Mews978 is my ig name if you want to see it & suggest any ideas you might come up with.
    your bed moving story makes me think we are kindred spirits – I once got my desk stuck in the stairway & had to go get my daughter to come in through an up stairs door to wiggle it from the top while I wiggled it from the bottom. And as far as tools go, I have quite a lot, some still in their original boxes because I love buying tools, but they are veer where I am when an idea strikes me, so, for most of my life, I have done pretty much everything with a nail & the back of my stainless steel salad spoon (or a handy butter knife if I had to screw something instead of hammering w/the spoon).
    Hope you check my itty-bitty ig post. Thanks so much for reading this & for you great ideas.
    Ps I am going to make a book nook out of the close for the little people in my life. Sadly, I can’t remember whose idea it was to say thank you.
    Mickey Wood
    Nashua NH

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