Hemnes Ikea Hack

Hiring someone to build a custom built-in for our particular space would have cost us over $5,000! While having someone else do the work sounded appealing, it was cost prohibitive and there was a lot of custom work involved in our space. To save thousands of dollars we decided to build our own solid wood entertainment center with an Ikea hack using their Hemnes line of furniture.

To establish a holistic home there must be organization. My husband and I knew there was more we could do with our movie room space to organize it and add functional storage space. We are a book loving family and the books pile up quickly around here. We had seen some pictures of beautiful built-ins done with Ikea furniture. That’s when our Ikea hack idea was born. We knew this approach would be the key to building our solid wood built-in affordably.

Why We Chose Hemnes Rather Than Billy Bookcases

Initially, my husband was adamantly against doing an Ikea built-in. The only Ikea furniture he had seen were the Billy items I had in my college years that were made of particle board and weren’t sturdy and broke down. He wasn’t willing to put time and money into particle board furniture that wouldn’t last the long haul. That’s when I told him Ikea carries a solid wood line of furniture called Hemnes that is very sturdy, well built and will last. We went to see it in person and then he caught the Ikea hack vision!

Our Space Before

This was our movie room! It’s not very appealing, right? We had mismatched furniture everywhere and no rhyme or reason at all. This space was tricky to work with because of the crawl space (and cover) on the back wall, the ledge on the right side and the bottom, back of the wall has an inch and a half ledge that sticks out.

Once we decided that an Ikea hack was the way to go we grabbed our Ikea catalog and recorded the measurements of the Hemnes furniture we thought we would use. Then, we sketched out drawings of our vision and the best way to organize the area. After several renditions of what we wanted the room to look like in the end, we were ready to go to Ikea and purchase our furniture.

The Ikea Hemnes Furniture We Chose

For our space we needed:

2 Hemnes Bookcases – without glass doors – to save money. We also chose not to buy glass doors because our boys are young and rough and we could foresee them breaking!

5 Wall Bridging Shelves Originally we were going to get two 72″ Wall Bridging Shelves and three 58″ Wall Bridge Shelves. However, when we arrived at Ikea they were out of the 58″ size! We live hours away and had looked at their inventory before our trip but they sold what we needed the day we got there. We had to get creative so we bought the longer wall bridge units and chose to cut them to fit the middle space we needed them for.

The total cost for this furniture came to $934.97 with tax.

Extra Building Materials We Needed

Outside of purchasing the Ikea Hemnes furniture, we also needed some other building materials. To complete our project we needed:

  • 2x4’s
  • 1x2’s
  • Screws
  • Plywood
  • Two different kinds of trim for the unit. We fabricated our own crown molding with trim pieces too. We did this to save on cost and make the molding fit to our ceiling which is not straight.
  • White paint
  • Silicon caulking
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood putty
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint Brushes
  • 90-degree co-axle cable fitting so we could still utilize cable should we need it eventually.

The total cost for all the extra building materials came to $336.17. In total, for our entire solid wood entertainment center built-in we only spent $1271.14. Upon completion, we put six full days of work into the built-in.

Our Entertainment Center Ikea Hack Building Process

First, we started by assembling the furniture we bought, except the three 72″ wall bridges that needed to be cut down before being assembled.

Due to the crawl space on the back wall, we needed to ensure that one section of our built-in was removable so that we could still access the crawl space. In order to be sure that the top two wall bridge, closest to the ceiling were secure, my husband needed to build a sub-structure.

When building the sub-structure he had to accommodate the crawl space cover that we would need to be able to remove as well as the one and a half inch ledge that juts out at the bottom of the wall.

We also had to decide if we were going to allow access for the heater vent or close it off. I did a Facebook poll to see what people thought about keeping the vent and building it into the entertainment center. The vote was unanimous to keep it. I am really glad we did. Not only does it add character but allows us to utilize the heater vent that warms our room.

Once the substructure was completed we placed the 72″ wall bridges on top and proceeded to cut down the other 72″ wall bridges to fit in the middle between the two bookshelves. We had to cut the wood and the thick cardboard backing that lines back of the shelves to fit the space.

After trimming the wall bridge we were able to secure one to the top, in the center, under the two longer wall bridge shelves. Then, we started building the substructure for the bottom center shelves (trimmed wall bridges) to sit on.

This is what the trimmed wall bridge shelves looked like once they were finally placed.

The next step for us was to build the custom DVD shelves to the right of the unit. We had this extra space that we wanted to make sure to use in a practical way. It worked out wonderfully to build the area to hold some of our DVD’s.

Due to the shape of our space, we had some areas that needed some custom fitting. We also needed to do something with the gap between the two upper wall bridges. We decided to utilize the heat that was already in the ceiling and allow the heat to vent out of that gap.

Finished and Unpainted Solid Wood Entertainment Center Built-In

It looks bowed in the middle because but it’s not. Something was freaky with my camera.

The Entire Right Side Shelf is Removable

Due to the crawl space that is on our back wall on the right side that we needed access too, we were required to build a modular section that was removable. The complete bookshelf (with trim) is capable of being pulled out to access the crawl space. It was important that we considered where the trim was placed on the shelf so that when the shelf is pulled out the trim doesn’t fly off or hinder the shelf being removed.

Caulking All the Gaps

Filling in all the gaps with silicon caulking is a really important step to ensure that our Ikea hack looked built-in and finished. Although it was a bit tedious it was well worth the time because every gap was filled and ready to be painted over.

The Final Step: Painting

We chose not to paint the Ikea Hemnes shelves and leave them the eggshell white color they were. It saved us time and money. For the trim, we painted all of it a higher gloss white that matched our baseboard and trim (on the right ledge) already in the room. This made the look cohesive.

The gap left between the trim and the shelf in this picture (above) is there on purpose because this is the shelf that is removable. If there was no gap then, when the shelf, is removed it would have the potential of pulling off the trim. When the unit was completely finished, painted and caulked the gap is hardly noticeable.

The Hemnes Ikea Hack Built-In All Trimmed, Caulked and Painted

Before and After

Save Money Fabricating Your Own Solid Wood Entertainment Center Built-In with Ikea Hemnes Furniture!

Be encouraged! You can save a lot of money doing your own built-in with the Ikea hack approach. Their Hemnes line is solid wood and will last for years and years without breaking down. I promise, not only will you be satisfied because you saved a load of money but you will feel rewarded with a beautiful piece of custom built furniture that specifically fits your space.

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Jennifer | Feasting On Joy

Hi! I’m Jennifer

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