Transforming Our Living Room with IKEA BESTA Built-Ins

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

A huge thanks to IKEA for sponsoring and providing product for this post! My favorable opinion of amazing home decor products is 100% my own. ? For more information, see my disclosures here.

Since the very first day we moved into our new house, I have been making tweaks to the living room. It’s right in the hub of our home, it’s where our family spends a lot of time together (especially during these Pennsylvania winters when it is too cold to be outside!), and from day one, it has always felt like the emptiest room in the entire house.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

our living room on the day we moved in

It’s easy to see why it felt empty. Along with being completely white (the builders paint the whole house this same color and then it’s up to you to change it), it was about three times the size of the seating area in our old living room, and we just didn’t have enough “stuff” to fill it up.

By the end of the first week in the house, I sent Donnie to IKEA to get the EKTORP love seat to match our couch and chair, and that helped a little bit. And when it got cold outside I brought in the chairs from our porch and put them in the living room, and that helped fill up the space as well. But it still felt empty to me. I knew it was probably because our “TV stand” at the moment consisted of a little LACK side table.

We were also in great need of storage. I had added a bin and a few baskets to hold things like our favorite DVDs and the boys’ gaming accessories, but much of our movie collection was sitting in the basement in a laundry basket because I had nowhere else to store it. And yet my room felt empty. Clearly that wall needed a little something.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

So I began searching high and low for an entertainment unit that would fit perfectly in our space and matched the look I was going for. But everything I found either wasn’t the right style or was too small to fit around our TV or wouldn’t fit the wall in the exact way we were hoping.

But then I ran across this post from my friend Lauren over at Bless’er House. She and her husband used IKEA’s BILLY bookcase system to create DIY built-ins for their playroom, and they looked awesome! “Of course!” I thought to myself, “I should have known that IKEA would have the answer!”

Transforming Our Living Room with IKEA BESTA Built-Ins

So Donnie headed off to IKEA to check out the BILLY system to see if it would work for us. He went prepared with our wall dimensions, TV dimensions, and every other possible dimension he would need. He found the BILLYs and spent about a half an hour with a notebook and tape measure in IKEA sketching out possible Billy shelf arrangements for our built-ins, but none of them ended up being exactly what we were going for.

As he continued to look around IKEA, though, he happened to stumble into the BESTA section, and it seemed like the absolute perfect solution for us. Donnie was able to use IKEA’s BESTA Storage Planner to recreate the dimensions from our living room and design a 3D mockup of our custom built-ins! (He later admitted to me that he felt a little like Joanna Gaines using the 3D designing tool. 🙂 )

ikea besta planner tool

Between Donnie and I, we are pretty picky, so I loved that we were able to move things around and try all different configurations until we came up with the exact look that we wanted. (This was a perfect example of IKEA’s concept of Democratic Design at work–every product they make has to meet their high standards in 5 areas: form, function, price, quality, and sustainability. The flexibility of the BESTA system gives us the perfect mix of form and function, and it is incredibly sturdy and high quality and will last us for years to come!)

Once Donnie finalized the design, he purchased all of the pieces we needed and loaded them up to bring them home. The total for all the parts was $738, which included all of the shelf frames, cabinet doors, drawers, drawer slides, and mounting rails. That is a significant investment, but compared to the entertainment units that I was looking at before we discovered BESTA (most of which were much smaller than our final design), it is an absolute steal.

Here is a list of the pieces we ended up using:

You can see IKEA’s current door options here; we used the HANVIKEN door fronts. Here are the measurements of the doors/drawer fronts we used:

  • 2 23 5/8″ x 25 1/4″ Doors
  • 3 23 5/8″ x 15″ Door/Drawer Fronts
  • 2 23 5/8″ x 10 1/4″ Drawer Fronts

We got the pieces home and started assembling the drawer and cabinet units. After using IKEA cabinets for our entire kitchen renovation in the townhouse, we are cabinet assembly pros by now! 🙂 We shared a full tutorial on the installation process + some fun trim work we added to get more of a “built-in look” here, but for now, suffice it to say that they have totally transformed our living room!

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

And when we added all sorts of pretty accessories? Even better!!

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

I absolutely could not wait to get in there and fill up all of those beautiful shelves! I was surprised, though, that even though most of the shelves were fairly shallow, they held a ton of pretty accessories. I kept walking up to my office, grabbing a load of tchotchkes, filling up the shelves, and then going back for more. (As an extra bonus, my office is now a lot less cluttered than it used to be! 🙂 )

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

Even though it is only the beginning of February, spring and warm weather can not come early enough for me, so I made sure to add a lot of my favorite aqua hues, along with whites and some shimmery metallics.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

I added in a lot of faux greenery as well (because that’s the only kind I can keep alive– hello, black thumb!) and it really helps to bring a fresh, springlike feeling to the space.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

RANARP lamp, KRAGSTA side table, and EKTORP couch and love seat

Many of our picture frames were still in storage bins from the move, and it was like a walk down memory lane pulling them back out again. I found this adorable photo of the Cs from a few years ago– I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten since then!

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

VIRSERUM photo frame, SOCKER plant pot, FEJKA faux plant

I am giddy over all of the extra storage space as well! We have three cabinets total– the two shallow ones on the sides, and then the very middle door under the cable box is actually a cabinet. We just gave it the same hardware as the drawers to make things look more cohesive.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

Our movies have been rescued from the basement, and we had enough space to store the boys’ movies and games in one drawer and the grown up movies in another.

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

The lower drawers are super deep, and I even have some extra space to store even more items if I need to. (Maybe this means I need some new workout DVDs… 😉 Sidenote: Mini weights make excellent bookends.)

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

So that’s a wrap! I think the BESTA built-in unit makes such a huge impact on the space, and I’m definitely not feeling like everything is so empty anymore! We are well on our way to that cozy living room of my dreams, for sure. 🙂

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

Should we take a look at the before and after? My favorite part!

DIY, Home- IKEA BESTA, How to Design and Install the IKEA BESTA System, DIY Built Ins, Custom Built Ins, Custom Trim, Trim Work, IKEA Hack, Add Trim to Built Ins, Crown Molding, Baseboards

Get more ideas for customizing IKEA products in these posts:

How to Design, Install, and Add Trim to an IKEA BESTA Built-In System

How to Create Home Office Storage with the IKEA BESTA System

Creating an Organized Office with the IKEA PAX System

Adding Crown Molding to IKEA SEKTION Kitchen Cabinets

Have you installed the IKEA BESTA system anywhere in your home? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

A huge thanks to IKEA for sponsoring and providing product for this post! My favorable opinion of amazing home decor products is 100% my own. ? For more information, see my disclosures here.

55 Comments

  1. Wow Abby! What an impact the Besta system added to your living room! I love the bright, fresh look of your decor on the shelves. All that shelving can be daunting to style but yours looks amazing. Everything is coming together so well! Can’t wait to see how all your spaces continue to unfold.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Tracey! It was a fun project! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Jeanette Greynolds says:

        Wow..so beautiful and inspirational

        1. justagirlabby says:

          Thanks so much, Jeanette! <3

          ~Abby =)

  2. Abby, very good design, good solution! Me and my husband both also love IKEA and recently got BILLY bookshelves for our living room

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh I’ve seen some great setups for the BILLY too! I’m sure it looks gorgeous! Hope you’re having a great week, Alina!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Gorgeous! I love it and all the little accents!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Kathy! It was a fun project! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Wow Abby! What a transformation! My fiancé and I will be moving into a new build sometime in the next year (hopefully without a huge delay), so I will be starting with a blank slate like you did! It helps so much to see you fill up your spaces and transform everything! I am definitely taking note 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Kelsey! Best of luck with your build– it is such a fun process! Have a great night!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Sara Mitchell says:

    Your living room is beautiful Abby and the Besta system really ties it all together. All of that storage is amazing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Sara! We are loving it! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Wow! IKEA FTW! It looks amazing and is just what your room needed. The amount of storage is impressive!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Laura! IKEA always seems to have the answer! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Love love love seeing this post! Knew I recognized those EKTORP soars. Glad to see you enjoying IKEA products, makes us ikea engineers happy! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Hannah! And thanks for all you do to make these awesome IKEA products possible!! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Briana Kim says:

    Love the transformation! We are considering adding media built-ins to our living room as well. Can’t wait for your tutorial on how to add the trimwork!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Briana! I’m looking forward to it, too! <3

      ~Abby =)

  9. Megan @ Adventure & Home says:

    Ohhhh I love the trim work you added! It looks totally custom! I can’t wait to see how you did it. I love when my workspace gets less cluttered, so that’s also a dream come true! Haha. Have a wonderful weekend and keep warm!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Megan! I’m loving how it turned out! Happy weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  10. LOVE it! Such a clean and functional solution! Can you post your shopping list for this combination? Thanks!

    1. Donnie Lawson says:

      Thanks Tiffany! When you use the design tool it generates a shopping list. I don’t have it anymore.

  11. Rachael Bucey says:

    WOW. Everything in this room pops. I am in love with your accent colors, since my home also consists of neutrals with pops of navy, turquoise, yellow and metallic gold. I love that your IKEA option is so affordable…and could be a knockoff for a Pottery Barn buy! Thanks for sharing! I will keep this in mind when I have more space to play with 🙂

    XOXO Rachael
    https://aduchessandablog.blogspot.com/

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Rachael! Have a great weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  12. Abby,

    I also love this living room! It’s bright and pops with understated color. Just my style. Comfortably, too! My husband and I are in the midst of selling our home and our existing outdated formal furniture and looking forward to purchasing more comfortable relaxed pieces for our next home in the next two months. I am curious as to your sofas. What are they? They look as if you could melt into them! That’s what we are looking for! Please direct us to where we might find these. Thank you! We do know a trip to Ikea is in our future but are the sofas there too?

    Thank you!

  13. Your living room is amazing! We love IKEA, and when we moved into our house 12 years ago we bought and installed ourselves kitchen cabinets. We didn’t really understand kitchen layouts, and made a few mistakes that we are finally researching how to fix. What do you say to people about decorating shelf space? My first reaction to the shelves would be to fill it up with books or things, and then it would most likely fill up with junk. I showed my husband the pics of before and after, and he doesn’t understand your use of design elements on the shelves… What does your husband think of the TV unit?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It’s really a personal preference. We like the shelves to be decorated and to have the more “practical stuff” covered up but you could always put movies, games, etc on the shelves. It’s really about how you want to use the space! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  14. Sandy @ Shady Meadow Cottage says:

    I love what you did with your entertainment center. It looks great! We’ve been wanting to do something similar. I’m going to have to check out IKEA. Thanks for the idea.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Sandy! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  15. It all looks amazing; colorful, cohesive, warm and inviting! Beautifully done – and a high 5 for Donnie and his graphic design skills; It’s so much fun watching your home together !! Thank you for sharing !!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Kristine! It has been such a fun journey so far! And yes, high five for Donnie! Couldn’t do it without him, for sure! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  16. Amy Parnell says:

    How nice!!! It looks fantastic! I feel totally inspired to finally do the same. I’ve been talking about taking the plunge with a similar IKEA unit. Thanks for the nudge!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Gotta love Ikea! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, Amy!

      ~Abby =)

  17. MamaMurrey says:

    The shelves are really lovely. My favorite bit is the lavendar plant way up on the top shelf.

    If you got one more drawer front, you (excuse me, Donny) could hinge it on the bottom with magnet closures on top, and cover up the techy stuff in the middle hole under the TV.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much for the suggestion! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  18. They look fabulous Abby! It adds tons of built-in style character!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, sweet friend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  19. Hi, Abby!

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog! I signed up for your blog course and am very excited to get started. So far, I just have the domain, but I’m working on it!

    I am a little embarrassed to say we moved into a new house about a year and a half ago and I still have a lot of decorating to do. However, now I feel like maybe I’ve been waiting for a reason. : )

    Thank you so so much for letting us into your homes and the wonderful instructions. You’re a great inspiration!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much, Michelle! Glad it was helpful! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Abbyyyyyyyy! This looks awesome! Thank you so much for the shout-out too, friend. I love seeing how your new home is coming together. Hugs!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Of course, sweet friend! Thanks for the inspiration! Happy Monday! <3

      ~Abby =)

  21. What a beautiful entertainment center!! I just love the way you styled the bookshelves and aqua is one of my favorite colors as well! I’d just sit and stare at it all day! lol! We have been thinking of doing something similar and has been on our list of projects to do for the house for some time now. So far this year seems to be the year we are finally starting some house projects I’ve been so desperate to do! 🙂 First up though are the kids’ rooms, but I am pinning this for inspiration! Thanks! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Glad it was helpful for you, Ann! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  22. Another beautiful project. Love IKEA. I’m currently living in an IKEA desert unfortunately (several hours freeway driving to the closest one). *sigh*

    And loving your boys movie selection, btw. Ha! Looks a lot like my video drawer.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! Big Harry Potter fans over here! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  23. Katie Jones says:

    What a dramatic change – love the accessorization! And a gal can never have too much storage. Nice work! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Katie! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  24. Karla Ireland says:

    Looks great! I have a mish mash of shelving in my office space. I’ve always wanted to do a built in system. I think I need to check out the Besta system instead. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Karla!

      ~Abby =)

  25. Great post and illustrations Abby. I live in Europe and I love IKEA products. However I haven’t seen the specific BESTA built-ins. I’m wondering if they carry them only in US. Anyways, thanks for the ideas you present for us here.

  26. Oh My goodness Abby!
    I swear if we end up getting our new house you may feel that I am copying your house space by space.

    I have been struggling for the last two months trying to decide how I wanted to set up the farthest living room wall. It’s extremely, long, narrow and white EVERYWHERE. And there isnt another wall to put the TV on. I LOVE this layout. I love the IKEA cabinets and your decor.

    I think I may seriously just spend my next few days stalking your blog for new house inspiration.

    You have amazing taste. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! Stalk away, Tina! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words! Good luck styling your new home… I’m sure it will be beautiful! Have a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  27. Mitchell Page says:

    This looks great and very inspiring. Do you think the TV space will allow for a 65inch TV though?

    Dimensions 58 inch wide by 33 inch high

    Thank you!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Hi, Mitchell! Those are actually the exact dimensions of our TV. IKEA’s mockup system only offered up to a 60″ option, so that’s what we used, but our actual TV is 65″, so it would work perfectly. I hope this helps!

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