Mid-century bookcase with brass swing-arm sconce in a modern bedroom.
Mid-century bookcase with painted back

This week, I decided to revisit a previous DIY theme with an Ikea Hack for my bedroom. I love the idea of creating a nook around your bed as if it were inset, and tall bookshelves flanking the bed do the trick beautifully. I even installed some gorgeous brass swing-arm sconces on the inner-side of each bookcase to add some mood lighting to the room. It creates the perfect nook for reading before bed, and the books are so easy to reach now! I used this project in my bedroom makeover, and I’m so pleased with the results! All it took was a simple bookcase and the help of some paint and some fabulous mid-century style wooden legs.

Tablelegs.com kindly offered me two angled cleats and four legs to use in the project, and I absolutely love how they look! I went for the angled look because it adds some retro vibes and a little energy to the piece. I also painted the back a peaceful blue color to strengthen my bedroom’s atmosphere and add a custom touch. I ended up flipping the bookcase because it made more sense with legs that way. Also, don’t fear this DIY! It is 100% drill-free. I screwed the legs (and the sconce) straight into the wood with a screwdriver (after tapping a bit with a hammer). The wood is pretty soft, you just need to apply pressure as you twist the screws in.

Ikea Hack Mid-Century Bookcase
Mid-century bookcase on wooden legs
Mid-century bookcase with brass swing-arm sconce in a modern bedroom.
Ikea hack bookcase with painted back
Mid-century bookcase with painted back


Materials for this project were provided by Tablelegs.com, but all images, text, and opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!


  1. Kevin! This is SO GOOD! I say, “I’m going to try that” a lot, but I REALLY want to do this! You made it look so easy. Love the graphic you made for the instructions. You just a genius!

    Posted 7.9.15
  2. The difference painting the back of a bookcase makes it seriously night and day! Also the difference of adding those mid-century legs on the bookcase is a night and day difference as well!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    Posted 7.9.15
    • Thanks Josh! I love how all the easy custom updates add up for a big difference!

      Posted 7.9.15
  3. Julie R wrote:

    This turned out great! And one of the best things, for me, is that it is a minimum-tool project…that’s such a bonus! I also love the blue paint, which elevates the look. Nice job!

    Posted 7.9.15
    • Thanks Julie! I was so relieved when I found how soft the wood was… Drill avoidance is so helpful!

      Posted 7.9.15
  4. Beth @ designPOST interiors wrote:

    You always create something I love! Your styling is so effortless too! So glad to know about this source for legs too!

    Posted 7.9.15
    • Thank you so much Beth! I was so excited to find that leg source, and I’m glad you like the project!

      Posted 7.11.15
  5. Scarlet wrote:

    As someone who grew up with ‘mid-century modern’ in my parents’ home, I’ve developed an active dislike for its spare-ness, and go more traditional when I decorate. I look at your bookcases and think that a piece of crown molding across the top (bottom) and around its sides, and some rolled edges on the shelves, would look fabulous. It’s not quite the style you’re looking for as crown molding is more traditional, but some rolled edge molding on the shelves might look OK with it.

    Posted 3.14.16
  6. Jayma Brubaker Gobrogge wrote:

    Love the look. Don’t forget to anchor the bookcase to the wall, kids like to climb.

    Posted 6.29.16

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