Skip to Content

Ikea Hack- Billy Bookcase As Kitchen Pantry Storage

Learn how to use the budget friendly Ikea Billy bookcase as kitchen pantry storage, perfect for a small kitchen.

Do you need extra kitchen storage space, but don’t have a lot of room to work with? I had the same dilemma, so I turned to my favorite home organization store: Ikea! I’ll share the easiest way to make your own freestanding Ikea pantry -it’s an Ikea Billy Hack and it’s awesome!

This hack works perfectly as a pantry AND is cheaper than traditional Ikea kitchen pantry cabinets.

And if your wondering if it’s sturdy enough for daily pantry usage – I built this hack 7 years ago, and it still stands strong to everyday use in our kitchen!

ikea billy hack kitchen pantry cabinet

Introduction: Ikea Pantry Hack

I made this Ikea pantry cabinet hack out of a simple bookcase, because the traditional pantry cabinets in Ikea (and other stores) were either out of my budget, or they weren’t the freestanding pantry cabinets (with doors) I was hoping for.

In this post I’m going to share some nifty tips on how you can customize the Billy bookcase to make it look as close to pantry cabinets as possible.

There are a few different options with this shelf, so it’s good to know all of them before you start this project.

I’ll also talk a bit about pantries and what sort of things people store in them – and I’ll quickly go over some organization ideas of how I organized mine, if your curious.

And of course I share a step by step guide on how I made this Ikea pantry hack ( it’s an easy hack!). We made one nifty addition to make it easier to open and close the door, I’ll show that a bit later on.

But first, let’s start with the Billy bookcase, why it makes a perfect pantry and all the different options that are available for it – so you can make the perfect pantry storage for your kitchen!

Let’s go!

The Ikea Billy Bookcase as a Pantry

The Billy bookcase is a popular shelf in the Ikea lineup. It comes in multiple sizes and colors. The one I used for this hack is the tall and skinny version, in a white color.

The different color options makes it easier to match to many different kitchen decors and styles.

The Billy bookcase is one of the tallest Ikea bookcases, yet has a slim and narrow profile. This tall-narrow characteristic, makes it perfect for small spaces and make great corner pantries.

To make this bookcase look more like a pantry cabinet, you can buy a door that easily attaches to it. The door really transforms this bookshelf into a DIY freestanding pantry!

The price of the Billy bookcase including the door is currently $100, which is pretty reasonable for a freestanding pantry. I was quoted $1500 for a custom built pantry in the same space, so for me it was a way cheaper option.

Another nifty feature of the Billy is that is has a groove at the bottom, so that it goes neatly over your bottom wall trim and can sit flush against the wall, just like a kitchen cupboard.

ikea billy bookcase white

Here’s a list of some extra configurations you can get with this bookcase. It’s good to know your options while your planning so you don’t have to redo anything later.

Customizing your Billy Bookcase

  1. This bookcase comes with 5 adjustable shelves, but you can buy extra shelves if you need more storage.
  2. To make this bookshelf look like a kitchen pantry cabinet, Ikea makes doors for the Billy bookcase(like the picture above).
  3. There are multiple door styles you can get. There’s full glass doors, half glass half panel doors (I chose this style), and full panel doors. You can choose the door that fits your kitchen style.
  4. If your looking for a more built in pantry look, you can buy extra extensions to make this shelf go all the way up to the ceiling– we did this with our Billy Bookcases in our den since that area of our house has taller ceilings.
  5. If your looking for a wider pantry you can mix and match sizes ( the Billy comes in a wider option too) and install them side by side, to make a larger/wider pantry.

Next, lets talk a bit about pantries and what types of things you can store in them (I’ll also tell you what’s in mine!)

Kitchen Pantry 101

A pantry is a space or cabinet in the kitchen or eating area, that can be used to store extra kitchen supplies and food.

Basically if you’ve run out of storage space in your kitchen cupboards, then a freestanding pantry cabinet will really come in handy.

ikea kitchen pantry shelves

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclaimer

Here’s a list of things can be stored in kitchen pantries:

  • beverages
  • food (cans of beans, pasta sauce, spices, baking supplies, pasta)
  • dishes (cups, plates, bowls, glasses)
  • household cleaners
  • linens
  • other kitchen items

Our Pantry Organization

I made 2 Ikea freestanding kitchen pantries in this project. In our first, we store food like cans, bottles, soups, kids snacks, rice and pasta. I used baskets to organize my food items.

Functionally, the basket organization makes it feel like it like those popular pull out pantry shelves. The pantry organization bins glide out pretty easily and makes it quick to grab items or to put something away. Plus they look pretty!

I used these baskets, but Walmart doesn’t seem to carry them anymore ( I bought these around 7 years ago). If you really want something similar I found some wire lined pantry baskets on amazon.

ikea pantry cupboard hack

In our second corner pantry cabinet we store items like spare glass food containers, small appliances, and cleaning supplies.

Having these 2 Ikea pantry storage shelves really helped organize our kitchen and gave use some extra room and storage space.

And using the pantry organization bins helps organize all the food items and makes getting to them much easier.

Now that your armed with all that info, here’s how to hack one together yourself…

Ikea Billy Hack : Bookcase As A Storage Pantry

Materials Needed

  1. Billy Bookcase with Door
  2. Optional: Food Organization Baskets
  3. Optional: Pull handle bars (Home Depot)

DIY Pantry Instructions

1. Plan out where in your kitchen your pantry to go. In our kitchen we decided to keep them as corner pantry cabinets on either end of our eating area.

2. Assemble your Billy Bookcase according to Ikea Instructions (its pretty easy, for Ikea furniture). Here’s what the completed shelf will look like (without the door).

ikea billy bookcase white all finished

3. Put your bookshelf pantry against the wall and make sure you use the safety kit (included with the Billy Bookcase) to anchor the shelf to the wall.

This shelf is very tall and narrow, so it will tip if you don’t anchor it. Here is what the anchor’s that came with our Billy end up looking. Note: we did this Ikea hack project 7 years ago, so they might look different now.

4. Install the Ikea Billy door to the shelf once its standing and secured to the wall, as per Ikea Instructions.

5. This part is optional but we feel having pull handles on the Billy door makes it more convenient to open/close the pantry. We bought our handle for $5 from Home Depot and used a drill to screw them in.

6. Optional: you can organize your pantry shelves with baskets. I find it easy to slide them out and to quickly grab items I need or even to put away. As a bonus, they look decorative!

7. If you’re looking to label anything in your pantry (like glass jars or containers) check out this tutorial for how to make clear pantry labels with packing tape

Here’s some more pictures of our finished Ikea freestanding pantry cabinets.

kitchen pantry ikea Billy bookcase hack
ikea hack kitchen storage
ikea hack kitchen freestanding pantry
ikea hack kitchen pantry billy bookcase

kitchen pantry cabinet ikea billy bookcase hack
Our second freestanding pantry on the other side of our banquette

And there you go, you can now enjoy some extra kitchen storage space with this Ikea Billy hack! Made out of a cheap & popular bookcase. Happy hacking!

Oh, and if you are curious to see some more Ikea hacks, like that banquette bench in between the pantries in the pictures above, check out these other posts:

If you enjoyed this Ikea Billy hack, please pin it!

ikea hack kitchen pantry cabinet

And until next time, stay nifty!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Monday 3rd of August 2020

Do you think you could attach two of the narrow book cases and create a long/deep shelf? If you did not put the back on one of them and created some way to extend the shelf length??

Jasmine K

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Hi Erica, That's a good question, I have never thought of that! In theory you probably could, but you would need to find a way to connect the two together, in a extremely secure manner, as these Billy shelves need to be bolted to the wall otherwise they topple over. That said, in light of the safety concern I would say that it is probably not worth the risk. Another option if you're looking for a deeper pantry is to use the Ikea Kallax and add in the hinged doors. Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more questions!

Cheers, Jasmine


Monday 22nd of July 2019

I LOVE all your IKEA hacks!! The desks & pantry are great!!

Feeling Nifty

Monday 22nd of July 2019

Thank you Janet :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the Ikea Hacks!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.