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Ronnie and Georgia’s DIY cabinetry hack for under $1500

The Block alumni share their nine simple steps using the humble Ikea Billy bookcase.
The completed custom-look cabinetry painted in a chic grey with products styled on and The Block couple Ronnie and Georgia smiling inset.Image: Instagram via @ronnieandgeorgia

The Block superstars Ronnie and Georgia have shared a custom-look cabinetry DIY in an Instagram reel, using the humble Ikea Billy bookcase. What was once a narrow walkway in their home in now an open space with impeccable shelving that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to have built in. Yet these two achieved it for under $1500.

“We completely gutted this space and removed the passage wall to create a large living space,” Georgia tells Home Beautiful. “The Billy unit worked well for this project because its depth is only 300mm, ideal for narrow spaces.” Their ceilings are 2.8m high so they took advantage of this.

On the left is the 'before' shot of the space in Ronnie and Georgia's home which was a narrow hallway. On the right is the 'after' with the new cabinetry finished.
Before and after: On the left is the former narrow hallway and on the right is the new open living area with completed cabinetry by Ronnie and Georgia. (Image: Instagram via @ronnieandgeorgia)

For a finished result as chic as this, it would undoubtedly cost a lot more than they’ve done it for. With a little know-how you can achieve an incredible result yourself. Head to Ronnie and Georgia’s step-by-step instructions below and let us know how you go with your own renovation.

Ronnie and Georgia's completed cabinetry using Billy bookcases, with elegant arches painted in a warm grey.
You’d never guess this spectacular cabinetry was made by Ronnie and Georgia using Ikea Billy bookcases. (Image: Courtesy of Ronnie and Georgia)

Ronnie and Georgia’s 9 steps to custom-look cabinetry for under $1500

  • Step 1: Start with 4 Ikea Billy Bookcases with doors and 8 Billy Extensions.
  • Step 2: Build a plinth (1500mm x 30mm) to raise the cabinetry off the floor so you can add skirting in front of it.
  • Step 3: Place the Billy bookcase frames on the plinth, ensuring equal space on either side and secure them together with screws to keep the units level.
  • Step 4: Create arches using 20mm MDF and template the first arch off the unit to ensure the arch height is correct. Use a jigsaw to cut the arch, or a router would work well if you have one. The two end arches require extra width to fill gaps between the cabinets and the wall.
  • Step 5: Fix the arch frames to the cabinet using stud adhesive and a pin gun.
  • Step 6: Use prep paint to base coat the MDF arches then decide final placement of the shelves. Using Timbermate wood filler, patch and sand the holes for a quality finish.
  • Step 7: Prime the cabinets with one coat of BIN Zinsser using a microfibre roller. Removing the doors allows for easier application.
  • Step 8: Once dry, apply two coats of your paint colour. Ronnie and Georgia used Taubmans water-based enamel in Taupe Stone.
  • Step 9: Once dry, reattach the doors and style.
Ronnie and Georgia Billy bookcase after
The after shot of Ronnie and Georgia’s bookcase DIY. (Image: Courtesy of Ronnie and Georgia)

Cost breakdown

  • 4 Billy bookcases: $1156
  • 20mm MDF: $90
  • Primer: $120
  • Paint: $90
  • Timber putty: $10

TOTAL = $1466

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