For years I’ve been telling Kevin how I wanted built in cabinets in multiple spots of our home. At which point he starts doing the mental math on what it’d cost for someone to install custom cabinetry. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty pricy, in the multiple thousands of dollars range. Luckily, I have a fantastic alternative solution for you! Our basement (and my home office) built-in cabinets are actually just affordable, easy to transport IKEA products.

DIY Built In Cabinets from IKEA
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Preview of Our Finished Basement

In 2021 we finished our basement, making it a viable living space. Kevin framed the entire space himself, him and his dad wired all the electrical and then put the doors in himself. We’re both really proud of the work he did down here because it looks AWESOME! We did, however, leave the drywalling, painting and carpeting to the professionals.

Basement Landing

One of the first areas we furnished was the landing at the bottom of the stairs. This was fully done in basically one weekend not long after the basement was finished. Things were accomplished so much faster when we didn’t have kids!

The rest of the basement was furnished in hand me downs for about 1.5 years. It was our solution until we found the right couch and decor. Finally, in spring 2023 we fully furnished the basement living space but still needed cabinets for organized storage.

Basement Living Room and Storage
This is the very first look I’m sharing of our newly finished basement living space!

I’ve always had my eye on the back corner for built in cabinet storage, especially knowing we wanted kids. However, built in cabinets are pricy, as Kevin likes to remind me. But leave it to me to find an affordable solution!

The same IKEA cabinets I found for my home office were the perfect solution for our basement storage woes.

Designing Your Built In Cabinets

First things first, you need to have an idea what you’re looking for in your finished product. How many cabinets do you want or need? Do you want floor-to-ceiling storage or half wall cabinets? Or maybe a combination of both? The answers to those questions depend on your space and storage needs. Be sure you have a game plan, and more importantly your measurements, before heading to IKEA so you’re ready to make a confident purchase.

IKEA Built In Cabinets
IKEA Billy cabinets in the showroom

For our basement built in cabinets I loved the design in the showroom. It had taller cabinets on either end and short ones in the middle. We didn’t want glass doors though, since ours wouldn’t be ‘showy’ storage. As such, we opted to get two sets of smaller solid cabinet doors and attach them separately.

Pro tip: By attaching the top cabinet doors separately they’re not easily accessible to our little ones for a while. This allows us to safely store non-toddler friendly items like wrapping supplies, board games, etc. in them.

White Built In Cabinets

The best part of the IKEA Billy cabinet collection is their versatility. The tall ones are exactly double the height of the short ones, allowing you to use two sets of their short Oxberg model doors versus one long one, for example. They also have half cabinet pieces and extenders if you want to make them even taller. There’s probably even more functionality I’m not noting because it didn’t apply to us. They’re definitely worth a look! See the entire Billy bookcase collection here.

Deciding How Many Pieces to Buy

How many bookcases/cabinets you need will depend on your space’s dimensions. Measure precisely and cross check the widths of their different pieces to see what will fit best in your space. They even have little half-width pieces to fill into the bigger design if needed.

IKEA Billy and Oxberg Cabinets

In addition to the width, you’ll also need to decide on the height of your pieces. This is the smaller cabinet in my collection and these are the taller pieces. However, as mentioned, they have even taller ones, ones that are half the width, extender pieces and more you can add on to customize your shelving. Browse them all while cross checking your space measurements to see how you can maximize your shelving!

Assembling the Billy Bookcase from IKEA

Given my increasingly pregnant size, Kevin did all of the assembly on these cabinets. His feedback on the Billy bookcase assembly was overall pretty positive.

“It’s really easy, the directions are pretty straightforward. You’ll want a good amount of floor space to lay everything out but of all the furniture pieces I’ve built, the IKEA cabinets rank as pretty easy.”

The Billy bookcase pieces come with mounting hardware, or if you prefer like Kevin, you can use your own. He noted that mounting them was a bit harder than the assembly, but since we have little ones it’s an absolutely necessary part of installation. We always recommend mounting larger pieces to your wall, especially taller ones. You never know when it’ll save you from severe injury!

IKEA Built In Cabinets

Something else incredible about the Billy bookcase cabinets is that there’s a cutout on the bottom back of each piece. This allows you to install them flush against your wall without having to remove baseboards.

IKEA Billy Trim Cutout

They truly considered the average weekend warrior when creating these pieces! Not everyone knows how to remove trim to install cabinets/bookcases in their home, and with these there’s no need.

Adding Hardware to the IKEA Billy Cabinets

IKEA does sell hardware for the Oxberg doors but to be honest, it’s very basic. Since you have to buy it separately anyway, I suggest finding hardware you love (Amazon has TONS of affordable hardware) versus getting theirs. Most of the hardware in our house is from Amazon!

IKEA White Built In Cabinets

The Oxberg doors come with pre-cut hardware holes, so you can even go a while without putting any on if you’re waiting to find the right set. Kevin installed all of our smooth black cabinet pulls after the doors were already on because of this very reason.

Styling Our New Built In Cabinets

These clear storage bins fit perfectly lengthwise inside the IKEA Billy bookcases. The cabinets are about 11″ deep so the trick is to find something shorter in depth but still tall to optimize the amount of storage per bin, and ultimately, per cabinet.

Craft Supply Storage Idea

I have 12 of these bins in size large (exact ones selected here) and will get more as needed. You can comfortably fit four bins on each shelf with a little space leftover for items too big for bins. My inner cabinet organization has a little ways to go but for now it’s getting the job done!

Making the Built In Cabinets Kid-Friendly

Eventually we plan to install these cabinet locks because our toddler is already well aware about opening cabinets. However, we do plan to leave a couple of the floor level cabinets unlocked for toy and book storage.

Basement Storage Solution

Not only will our daughter love getting to use the cabinets just like mom and dad, but all of her toys and books will have a tucked away home in the basement. Win-win!

Decorating Around the Cabinets

Given our cabinets are intended to be a highly functional and trafficked space I didn’t want too much decor. The gallery tiles on the wall are from Mixtiles and fill the wall space nicely. Aside from the gallery tiles I added a few pieces of greenery that I already owned, costing me nothing additional there!

Mixtiles Photo Gallery

Pro Tip: The draping faux eucalyptus on the righthand side is also from IKEA for $6.99. Grab one while you’re there, or I also have this one in my living room that’s almost identical. Linked here!

Next Project: Hiding Our Breaker Box and Router

You may or may not have noticed this, but our breaker box and router are on the wall due right of our beautiful new cabinets. To me, they stick out like sore thumbs. So a front-of-mind project for me right now is hiding them but keeping them accessible.

Power Box Solution

They’re in a really tricky spot given the proximity to the cabinets. I’ve received a lot of great suggestions about hiding these so far. Most have entailed installing a door or art over them, but they’re basically right up against the cabinet and windows. I’m concerned adding any decor in that spot might look too smushed in there to me.

Basement Fuse Box

I’m not totally opposed to the idea of getting a matching cabinet door. However, it wouldn’t sit even to either set of cabinet doors on our unit so that solution gives me pause. My current front runner is to take the curtain rod out past the breaker box opening and hide it behind the curtains, but I’m unsure how well that’d work or look, either. The jury is still out on this one!

Basement Built In Cabinets Source List

Below is everything I am able to tag that’s been shared in this post. Happy shopping!

Thoughts on our new basement storage solution? Happy to answer any specific questions not covered in the article as well. Just leave a comment below!

I’ve been wanting built in cabinets down there forever so I’m beyond thrilled to have them installed! Especially with our second little girl on the way we needed to move things like crafts, games, etc. from the second floor down to the basement to make room for a new family member. The IKEA Billy cabinets were the way to go!

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