Review of IKEA Billy Bookcase System
I have a slight addiction in buying books, books that a few years ago amounted to 500. 500 books scattered around the room, needing a home for themselves. A trip to IKEA solved that problem. What I liked about the Billy bookcase range was its modern look, the light colour (Beech - which is a light wood colour), and the height and width; it was big enough, to hold all my books without making my room look even smaller than it already was. The bookcase that I purchased was the siz shelved, thin bookcase, the middle one in the picture above. At £35, it was the cheapest bookcase within my requirements that I could find.
Setting it up
The book case comes in bits, flat packed. It is heavyish, but manageable, so long as you have an extra pair of hands to help you carry it into the house. If putting it up in an upstairs room, the best thing to do is to open it up downstairs, and carry up the different parts upstairs before putting it together.
There are many parts to the bookcase, the only tools you will need are a screwdriver and hammer, everything else is provided for you. Once I'd figured out what I had, the different bits etc, piecing it together took me about two hours. The instructions were easy to follow. It should be noted that it needs to be screwed into the wall, the bits for this are included in the pack. It also has space at the back, so that it can fit in against the skirtingboard.
Things to watch out for
There were a couple of problems that I faced after putting it together. The first of these was fixing the top part of the bookcase the wrong way around, while not a problem of functionality, it does look a little odd as the shelf is the wrong way around and therefore the edge is different in colour to the other removable shelves. As this particular part is nailed to the back of the bookcase, it would be problematic to change it as I'd have to take the whole thing apart, plus the other side will now have the nail holes in it. Moral of the story, always check that all the shelves that need to be fixed are the right way around before nailing it all together.
The other problem was the items they had provided to fix the bookcase to the wall. After about a month or so, I noticed the bookcase was tilting slightly forward, and realised that the screw had come off partially from the wall. The bookcase had at this time, not been jam-packed with books, so the items they had provided were simply not strong enough to hold it against the wall. I found I had the same problem with the second bookcase I purchased, so it wasn't just a fluke. This was easily fixed by buying the similar parts that were stronger, from B&Q, and I haven't had a problem since.
Previously I have managed to cram around 500 books into one bookcase, so it does hold a good amount of books. They were a mix of different sized books, though most of these books were the standard-sized paperback novels. Without cramming, it is possible to fit 40 to 50 standard-sized paperbacks on one shelf. There are six shelves, four of which are moveable.
This has been a very good product, nothing has worn out or chipped away or become creaky, like a number of IKEA products that need replacing after a year or two. I have owned one of the bookcases for around 7 years, and the other for around 2. Neither have needed replacing, if anything I need more of them!
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