I love IKEA.
And I love a good IKEA Hack.
When I first set out to build the entertainment center for our family room, I will tell you, I did not have IKEA in mind, nor did I ever imagine myself coming up with my own hack (usually I just enjoy the inspiration of others). Truth be known, I wasn’t even planning to build anything at all. I simply wanted this entertainment center I spotted on Pinterest featuring Artisan Hardware.
I actually searched very hard for it. And then, when I couldn’t find it, I searched for something like it. Only that didn’t exist either.
A sane person would just move on. Find something else.
Meh. Sane is overrated.
And since I had completely and thoroughly wrapped my stubborn head around this idea of an entertainment center with barn doors, I was going to have to get creative. That is when the idea that I should just build it finally entered my head.
I happily shared this idea with Hubby. He was less than thrilled.
You see, we were already in the midst of building built-in bookshelves in our office at the time, and he did not want to take on another building project. Project mode does not take over Hubby’s body, mind, and soul–his very existence, for that matter–like it does me. He level-headedly suggested purchasing an entertainment center and just adding barn doors instead. So I looked online for something we could use.
Holy moly, entertainment centers are obnoxiously priced! Spending over $800 on something I was still planning to update did not appeal to me.
And then, by chance, I came across the Borgsjo Bookshelf with Glass Doors by Ikea.
And, I will tell you, my creative mind started spinning. I drew up plans to show the Hubs (with the hopes that since we weren’t going to have to build from scratch, he’d be more apt to agree to the project). Luckily for me, he went for it! I do love that man.
Here are my original sketches:
My plan was to buy two of the bookshelves and connect them together with a middle piece that would serve as the television stand. Then we would build a frame for the top that would hold the barn doors.
Because we do not live close to an IKEA, I wasn’t able to start this project right away.
So what does one do when they cannot start a project? They go online and browse their future project. I revisited the Borgsjo line on IKEA frequently. And that is when I began to realize that Borgsjo had some correlating pieces that might prove beneficial to my project.
The Borgsjo TV Unit, for example, could be used between the two bookshelves to house the television. ISSUE: The TV unit was lower in height and wider in depth than both the end bookshelves, so Hubs and I would have to rip them on the (dreaded) table saw in order to be able to incorporate swinging barn doors.
The other idea was to buy three Borgsjo Bookshelves with the idea of using the third one as two separate pieces for the middle. This would give us more shelving behind the barn doors, as well as keeping the television level with the upper shelves. ISSUE: Because we would not be building this bookshelf in its entirety, we would need to buy extra wood to give it one solid base and one solid top.
My sis was coming to visit from Atlanta, and could bring me what I needed from IKEA, but I had to make a decision on what to use for the middle. Usually, I have no issues with this part, but for some reason, probably because IKEA is not a hop-in-the-car-and-go-back-and-get-it kind of place for us, I didn’t want to make a mistake. Hubs finally convinced me to just buy both options for the middle, with the idea that we’d know more once we started building, and we could return the item we didn’t end up using.
We also purchased two sets of Borgsjo glass doors, and two sets of Borgsjo solid doors.
Now I read all of the time how people hate putting together IKEA furniture, but I honestly find their stuff so easy to put together. It may come from the fact that we’ve made quite a few of their pieces over the years, and have become accustomed to their directions, but Hubs and I can whip these babies out pretty fast.
We went with IKEA HACK | Plan 2 (using three bookshelves to build the entertainment center) but we cheated just a little bit. The original plan was to separate the third unit, then purchase two solid boards from Lowes to use as the base and top. It was rainy and yucky cold when we were putting this together (yes, I am a slow newbie blogger) and Hubs, being the lets-stay-comfy-in-our-own-house-and-keep-going kind of man, suggested using the base and top of the TV unit we had already purchased from IKEA. This meant, of course, that we wouldn’t be returning it and getting our money back. It also meant we had to rip the two pieces because the depth of the TV stand was much wider than the two end pieces. But it did alleviate me from having to mock up some matching legs for the middle pieces, and because I like to look as socially-unacceptable on DIY days (you know, pajama pants, Hubby’s t-shirt, no bra, mismatched socks, rats-nest of a bun on top of my head–fellow DIYers can understand that desire to just hop out of bed and get started) I was all for not leaving the house.
Putting It Together
I apologize for the lack of pictures during the building process. We did take some. But between the time delay of building and posting, the multiple cameras I’ve used, and us getting a new computer, I cannot seem to locate all of them. They’ll eventually turn up, and I’ll add them, I promise.
Basically, we built the two tall bookshelves for either end first using IKEA’s directions. Then we built the third bookshelf, but did not stack the two separate pieces on top of one another, but placed them side-by-side. We connected these two pieces to the ripped base of the TV unit, and added the ripped top of the TV unit. We screwed all four pieces together.
I chose to add the glass cabinet doors to the inside bookshelves, but added solid cabinet doors to the outside bookshelves. The solid cabinet doors allowed me storage for things not-so-nice-to-look-at. I figured this would be beneficial since the upper half was already going to be used to display items. I used the glass doors for the inner cabinets; once the barn doors were open, the television would most likely be the main focus, so I thought adding some glass doors would give it a little more character.
Once we had the main part built, it was time to build the upper frame to hold the barn doors. This is an easy box frame. You will see it is a completely separate piece from the IKEA pieces.
Then we connected the frame to the studs in the wall. This was really important because it had to eventually hold the barn doors, and even though I had an idea for making very light-weight barn doors, we weren’t taking any chances!
Here’s a photo from my Happy House | A Year in Progress post. No barn doors. No crown molding. This was how it sat for a very long time.
Light-Weight Faux Barn Doors
I decided to make some light-weight faux barn doors. Using 1×4 boards, I made a basic frame.
I then used utility boards cut into 5 1/2 inch strips as the front of the barn doors. This is the same stuff I used for the faux shiplap in the office and the playroom bathroom. It’s very thin, very light weight, and very inexpensive ($12 for a 4×8 foot board that I had Lowes cut down into strips).
Here’s a look from the side. You can see just how thin the utility board is. This is what helps keep the doors lightweight. Seriously, they were very easy for me to pick up when all finished.
I used wood glue and a nail gun to attach the panels to the frame. Then I created the barn door “Z” using 1×6 ft pine boards. Afterwards, I painted both doors with Valspar’s Linen.
Here is a finished door, and the frame for door 2.
Barn Door Hardware
I did a lot of research on barn door hardware. There are plenty of tutorials out there that will help you create your own if you’d like. We thought about it; we really did. But I honestly did not know where we’d get a track long enough to span the width of the entertainment center.
I ended up finding barn door hardware at Home Depot. If I bought two sets, I’d have a track that was long enough, and all the hardware I’d need for the two doors. It was more than we really wanted to spend, but I am very lucky in the fact that I work at a great school with great parents; I ended up being able to use some gift cards received at Christmas and during Teacher Appreciation Week to cover the cost! Whoo hoo!!!
*I found this Barn Door Hardware Kit on Amazon just recently. It is a much better deal than what we paid, and long enough to span the entertainment center. You could also buy two of these Barn Door Hardware Kits; another great deal!
We added the track to the frame, and attached the hardware to one door. I immediately thought the hardware was too dark compared to the look we were going with in the rest of the house. I knew I did not want to keep the hardware dark. But I was terrified (I mean, terrified) to spray paint it lighter. So we sort of hit a standstill for awhile.
This occurs when I need to either learn to love something…or hate it enough to take a chance.
I finally hated it enough to take a chance.
I purchased this spray paint and painted all of the hardware. Then, to give it a little more rustic look, I dry-brushed a gel stain on top, then sanded it a little. This gave me the lighter hardware look I was going for, but still allowed the hardware to stand out against the gray doors.
The wheels, by the way, are actually black. I had my father-in-law cut me a few circles the exact same size as the wheels using the leftover utility board from the panels. I stained the circles, then dry brushed them with a champagne metallic paint. Then I placed the wood circles between the door hardware and wheels. There was enough space for the wood to cover the wheel without it interfering with any movement.
It just gave it a more rustic look which I loved!
I absolutely love that I was able to recreate the look from my inspiration! I love that everything came together in the end. And I love that I don’t have to stare at a television set in my family room (ha)!
Here’s a look at the doors open. Notice we used the glass cabinet doors for the inside shelving. Hubby also attached magnets at either end so the doors would stay put when opened.
So very super pleased with my finished project!
As always, thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.