A tutorial on how to create a faux built in bookcase wall using basic shelving units (perfect if you rent).

Close up view of built in bookcase wall for feature image

** This post has been sponsored by Argos Home.

A few month ago, I shared my spring living room reveal. As much as I loved it, I always felt like something was missing. Like the room still needed something else to help finish the space.

That feeling of in-completion nagged away at me constantly.

But then it came to me one day, as I sat watching a show on Netflix (I think it was The Gilmore girls). The TV wall…. it was letting the room down in a big way. The wall was quite plain looking which meant the TV itself was becoming the focal point (and you and I both know, that that is not a good thing).

So what did it need?

Wallpaper ? No, I had already done that on another wall.

(Just a reminder – here is how it looked before)

Before image of the living room before the built in bookcase wall. Showing a brown leather sofa and gallery wall of hats

A bookcase wall perhaps?

One that looked built in, but actually really wasn’t? You know, because I rent. And I wanted that great big lump sum of money (aka the deposit) back the day I decide to move on.

View of the built in bookcase wall from the door in the porch area

The more I thought about this bookcase wall, the more I decided I really liked the idea . . . I was definitely inspired by projects like this one from PMQ for Two

Built in bookcase wall against a wall that has been painted Char latte by valspar


Well why not?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that I’ve trialed these particular shelves before – in my sons playroom in a previous home! I loved them then, and I love them now. They are deep (thus great storage wise) and very easy to personalise. I even carted them around with me for two house moves after that points for sturdiness too!

But to break it into specifies, here are some other reasons why I chose the Maine shelves

  • I know affordability is relative but I do think these bookcases are great value for money! The 5 shelf retails at £37.99 and the 2 shelf £14.99
  • They come in a variety of different colours and sizes.
  • Easy to assemble
  • Adjustable shelving
  • And as with most Argos Home Products – you can Fast Track these shelves for either same day or next day delivery or collection (which I’m sure you’ll agree is pretty awesome)

The only downside is that these bookcases don’t have a pre-cut ridge at the bottom which means they can’t fit right up against the wall if there is a skirting board. However for this project, this wasn’t a problem at all.

View of the built in bookcase wall from the shelving. Next to glass panels doors painted white


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, see full disclosure here

  • 4 x 5 shelf Maine bookcases
  • 4 x two shelf Maine bookcases
  • Valspar paint (Char latte)
  • Skirting board (336 cm in length – try and get one similar to your existing one)
  • white gloss paint
  • Metal Fixing brackets x 7
  • MDF or plywood wood (1.8cm 336cm x 27cm). We used 4 x 84cm planks and connected them together
  • Wood PSE timber 4.4cm X 4.4cm X 2.4m
  • screws
  • Optional: Wood mouldings (3.4cm x 0.6cm)
  • Wood glue


  • Sander
  • Foam paint roller and tray
  • Circular saw (if you are cutting the wood yourself)
  • Electric drill and screwdriver



Before I get into the tutorial – I need to give full credit to my husband. I was travelling during the installation part of this project. He stepped in and did everything (with my direction of course ha). So this ones completely on him (not me this time)!

1. Measure the width and height of the entire wall to work out exactly how many MAINE units you will need – and how you are going to display them. We calculated that we could fit 8 shelvings in total on our wall without obstructing doors or windows.

Mood board of space built in bookcase shelving area

2. Next, assemble the bookshelves using an electric screw driver (to save time). At this stage, you don’t need to nail in the backing as they will needed to be painted. These are how the 2 shelf bookcases look assembled

Two of the 2 shelf argos home units without the backing in place

And these are the 5 shelf units.

Two of the 5 shelf argos home bookcases without the backing

3. Use the paint roller to paint at least two coats of paint on the backing . Once dried, nail the backing in place. I chose the colour ‘char latte’ by Valspar (but other brands and colours are available) which was also the colour I intended to paint the wall behind the bookcases

Painted bookcase backing use foam roller and valspar paint

4. Now, it’s time to create the raised platform for the bookshelves to sit on.

The platform needs to be the height of the existing skirting board so that the bookcases fit snugly on to the wall. It also needs to be a 1 – 2cm smaller than the depth of the base of the bookcases (to accommodate the depth of the skirting board).

Picture of the wooden platform against the white living room wall

To achieve the same look we created, your platform needs to be 336 cm in length. You can either cut the wood (either MDF or plywood) to size at the hardware store – or use a circular saw . (We used 4 x 84cm pieces of wood, as that was what we had at the time)

5. To create legs for this platfom, cut the timber wood with a mitre saw to equal lengths of 10cm.

Image of timber would cut to equal length for the legs of the built in bookcase platform

You will need 5 legs per wooden plank. One on each corner and one in the middle

Wooden platform placed atop a cork board table with feet in place

If you have a laminate flooring border, don’t forget to alter what will be the back legs of the platform. You can use a jigsaw to remove a part of the bottom (see below)

Wooden feed clamped to a cork board table and small 90 degree angle cut from the wood

Image of one wooden feet placed against the laminate flooring

6. Secure the wood plank to the feet with wood glue and screws (make sure to pre-drill a whole before inserting the screw). If you are using more than one wooden plank – repeat this step for all of the legs.

use a drill to pre-drill a hole into the wood plank and feets

Image of screw on wooden platform with pre- drilled hole

Connect each of the 4 planks together using metal anchors (these anchors will come packaged with the Maine Bookcases ) to the underside of the platform. NOTE: If you have young children who might climb on furniture – its always a good idea to anchor bookcases to the wall.

Metal wall anchors placed between wood planks

Your platform should end up looking like this.

Side view of the wooden built in bookcase platform in place on the living room wall

And the book cases should fit on perfectly as below.

Bookcases placed atop of the wooden platform

7. Cover the front and sides of the platform with skirting board (you can either use one long board or two smaller ones connected in the middle) . Cut the ends of the new skirting board so it fits closely on to your existing board (again allowing for the laminate floor border if you have one)

Skirting board placed on the floor

8. Secure the skirting board to the sides and front of the platform with wood glue and nails. Paint the visible parts of the platform in white gloss once the glue has dried

Wooden unpainted skirting board in place on the wooden platform

9. Finally, place the bookshelves on the platform.

The smaller bookcases in the middle and the taller shelves on the end.

Built in bookcase wall without shelves in place

Connect the bookcases together by screwing in metal brackets to the backing for added stability. Now is also the time to insert a small hole for any cables or wires (if you plan to have a tv on this bookcase wall)

Image of metal brackets in place to the backing of the built in bookcase wall

10. Insert the inner shelves. I chose to place mine in at different heights as I liked the idea of asymmetry. Optional, but you can also use white moulding strips to cover the lines where the shelves connect as seen below

And thats’s how we created this built in bookcase wall. You might have also noticed that I painted the wall from white to the same colour as the bookcase backing. I wanted contrast – and I think this wall colour really helped to achieve that!

Image of built in bookcase wall against a wall painted with char latte by valspar

l love that even though this bookcase wall might seem like its part of the wall – it’s not.

Side view of built in bookcase wall

If we were to move again, we would just need to separate the shelves and move the platform as nothing is permanent about this design (See below – where we moved the shelves back to paint the wall ). NOTE: If you have young children – its always a good idea to anchor bookcases to the wall.

View of the built in bookcase wall from the sofa

I’m a huge fan of these wicker baskets from Argos Home. I’ve added them in mainly to store my sons everyday toys that he often likes to play with in the living room. They slot perfectly into the Maine Bookcases.

View of the built in bookcase wall

So what do you think of this renter friendly built in bookcase idea? Do you think it’s something you might attempt in you own home?

***This post was sponsored by Argos home. I received products and payment for my time creating this post. I only partner with brands I LOVE and think you will LOVE too! All ideas, photos and opinions are 100% my own.

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