Make your own mud room lockers…

Mudroom Lockers made from IKEA Bookcases - IKEA Hack

I really really love IKEA… I think I’ve said that here before, but it’s worth repeating.  The thing that I realized I like about IKEA is that most of their stuff is simple, making it very easy to adapt to different purposes.

Since my motto for the month on the blog is resourceful I thought I’d share with you how we made lockers in our mud room easily and inexpensively using bookcases I found at IKEA.

The photos are not great, it’s a very narrow room with terrible light and even with a separate flash is very hard to take photos of.

This is our mud room right after we moved in, it was not working for us. It’s a combo mud room/laundry room and is way to small for our family.

This is it before…. It’s just a hallway that leads from the garage into the house.  It drives me crazy and is the one thing I would change about my house if I could…
Now I will say, the laundry side of this room is still NOT working for me. It’s one of my big projects for  2011 to figure out what to do with it, but I have NO idea… open for suggestions on that one.
the mud room side thankfully is now working for us. I’ll show you what we did about a year ago, and it’s still working great.
IKEA Hack: Mudroom Lockers from bookcases
such a narrow room it’s really hard to get a good photo of it
Since the room is narrow and most “pre made” lockers are wide at the base, none of the ones that I found  online and in stores would work for us.  They would all just stick out too much from the wall and you could not walk through the room.
Then one evening while I was perusing my IKEA catalog I saw this… It’s the Billy bookcase, and it’s only $34 for the size I needed.  It would have been ideal to have someone come and build us custom lockers but it wasn’t in the budget at that time.
So what we did was buy 5 Billy Bookcases (it’s what would fit and there are 5 of us) and install them next to each other. I also installed a hook at the end for long coats that would not fit in the lockers.
Then instead of putting the shelves spaced evenly throughout the bookcase we left a space in the middle to attach a hook for backpacks and coats. It worked great because the bookcases have holes all up the side so we could put the shelves exactly where we needed them. If you had really small kids you could install the hooks even lower.
We then left 2 shelves on the top for things like lunchboxes & books.
how embarrassing, now you can see what shoes we all wear :)
and 2 shelves on the bottom for shoes.
If you want to tackle this project I’ll give you a few tips.
-After you have the bookshelves where you want them, screw them together. So you have one large piece, it will help with stability.
-The bookcases come with a precut notch in the back to make them lie flat against the wall, if your baseboard is taller than the notch you will need to cut the notch larger. It’s very important that they fit flat against the wall.
-The back of the bookcases are just particle board, not strong enough to hold a coat hook. You will need to buy a 1×4 piece of wood and cut it to the width of the shelf and place it behind the bookshelf. Then you will screw your coat hooks through the back of the shelves and into that wood.
-Use the anti tip kit that comes with the bookcases so no one will try to climb up and pull the whole thing onto them. (make sure you install them into a stud in the wall, we installed as many as we could just to be extra sure).
I had plans to use the bookcases only temporarily then get custom lockers made later, but it’s been over a year and they work so well that I don’t think I’m going to do that. I’d rather use the money for another project in the house.
 Mudroom Lockers made from IKEA Bookcases - IKEA Hack


See how the other side of the room turned out– check out the Laundry Room Shelving Post Here



Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. says

    Awesome idea! What a great solution for your family! Is there no end to the fabulousness of Ikea? Thanks for sharing your mudroom – love it.

  2. says

    Such a great idea. I can’t wait until we have a bit more space when we move. I am filing this idea away for future use. So inexpensive and really perfect. Accessible and simple and easy to use for all your storage needs.

  3. says

    one thing that a friend of mine had in her laundry room was a wall full of cubby cubes and each person had their own cube that had their clean laundry folded waiting for pick up, there was room for the detergent and baskets and so forth. What about something like that hanging on the wall. it would match what you just put up for the mud room area.

    fyi, I like y’alls shoes, they are cute

  4. says

    Oh I am so very excited. My husband and I were going to tackle my mud room last weekend but we ran out of time but this totally has me motivate. Wish Ikea weren’t 3 hrs away!!

    Thanks!!! Oh and glad you’re enjoying the UT Mtns!!!

  5. says

    Oh my goodness..Wonderful! How many times have I stared at Billy bookcases and never would I have thought to do something this clever! It makes me wish I had a mud room! :)

  6. says

    Thanks for the idea. I designed built-in cubbies for our mudroom in our last house. Our current house has no mudroom. The foyer contains the front door, garage door, two tiny closets & the basement door. The kids just weren’t using the inadequate system I had set up.
    We put together the Billy cubbies last weekend and installed them in the study….starting to look like we homeschool in there! The cubbies are great and the boys are putting their things away!!

  7. says

    Excellent, someone has already done what I just thought of doing! I initially intended getting rid of my Billy bookcase and creating a nice little mudroom with bench seat etc. but this is such a better idea and you’ve told me how to hang the hooks! Fantastic idea, thanks so much for sharing :)

  8. says

    I love this idea and would like to use it in our mudroom. But can you possibly tell me how the board works that goes behind the bookshelf? Doesn’t this make the entire thing stick out from the wall by the thickness of the board?

  9. Erica says

    I had a similar question to another follower: I love this idea and would like to use it in our mudroom. But can you possibly tell me how the board works that goes behind the bookshelf? Doesn’t this make the entire thing stick out from the wall by the thickness of the board?

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      The board does not run down the length of all of the lockers hooked together.
      The backing of the bookcases comes in 1/2” from the back side of the bookcase so there is a space there that you an put a board in.
      In each bookcase there is a separate board that is cut to the width of that bookcase. I hope that helps.

  10. Dawn says

    I do not have a mud room but I did create the lockers (3) in my garage. I followed your directions exactly. After installing them, I screwed the cabinets together, put the 1×4 pieces of wood in the back to hold the hooks (Home Depot cut the wood to size for me) and secured it to the wall with the IKEA kit provided. My kids love it! Thank you so much for posting this!

  11. Angela says

    I love this idea! we bought the BIlly bookcases tonight to give this a shot! I have a question though… what do you do about that “fixed” shelf right in the middle? It’s right in the middle of where we want the big vertical space for coats to be

  12. Clara says

    We made these but used under shelf hooks that hang down like those I
    n school lockers. Just screwed them to the bottom of shelf, no need for a board!

  13. Denise says

    This will work in my mudroom – and I don’t have to wait for hubby to build it! I’m wondering how the material stands the test of time, being that it’s particle board and melamine. How do you keep wet boots and mitts from ruining the shelving? Is it chipping or warping at all? Thanks!!

  14. April says

    I wanted to thank you for this awesome post! Those Ikea bookcases fit my space exactly. Our laundry/mud room dimensions are very similar, except mine is more narrow, with the washer coming right up to the door molding. Plus I have a door to my back yard out the back. I was able to fit 7 of the lockers with about an inch to spare (I wish I could have 8). And the depth was absolutely perfect. You saved me a fortune in custom cabinets. I searched and searched for a solution to making a place for my 6 kids to put their stuff (besides all over the floor), and this was perfect! We had to rip out some hideous/useless cabinets to do it, but that was worth it. I was also able to put one in my front coat closet in this awkward spot where a vent comes up or something and created dead space. So now I have all this really useful shelving there! Thank you thank you! I love the internet/pinterest :)

      • April says

        I’m back with another question. I saw your laundry side update. It looks great! Mine needs one as well, but I’m not sure what I want. I don’t want a front loader, and we won’t need new machines for a LONG time, so stacking won’t work for us. I have considered shelving like that though. Here is the real question I have. My laundry room door opens into lockers 1 and 2 and straight across is my washer, which is comes all the way up to the door molding, so the walkway is basically 3 feet. Very narrow space. That door drives me crazy. I’ve considered taking the door off the hinges and having it open, but it’s fairly messy in there most of the time (thanks to not having a laundry system I like). I like closing that door :). But I hate that the door likes to close on my bum when I’m loading the washer, or moving clothes to the dryer. To get to my Dyson (exactly the one you have mounted on your wall by the door), which is hanging n locker #1 along with my broom, mop, spray cleaners, etc., or to get to the first kid locker, I have to close the door and risk getting whacked by whatever kid is hot on my trail. If the person who designed this house had thought clearly, a pocket door could have been put in. To put it in after the fact would cost me about $1000 and a lot of mess. There is no room for any kind of sliding barn door. The only idea I have come up with is take off the door and put up a curtain door, kind of like the French use to cover under a sink. The downside would be my kids potentially ripping it down while playing some absurd game of peekaboo. Do you have this problem with your door being in the way?? Have you come up with a solution? I mean besides keep my laundry room clean and taking the door off?

        • says

          No, I love the door being off. I don’t really care if someone comes over and sees the mess.. if anyone gets that far into my house they know me pretty well anyways and wouldn’t expect it to be super clean.

          • April says

            So you have your door off? My laundry room is at the back of the house, but you walk right past it to go to the basement stairs. It is also directly in front of the door from the garage and next to the guest half bathroom. The one other solution I’ve found is double swinging doors, ala the Brady Bunch. I’m going to first try taking off the door, but then, I might try this. I kind of love the idea! Sharing in case it piques your interest as well. Sort of the best of both worlds, I’m hoping. I’ve found bi-fold doors that fit the space perfectly for sale on Craigslist for $30. The hinges are pricier, and then there is the labor that we will have to pay for. This is not a skill set we possess. Still mentally cursing the designer of this house for not putting in a pocket door…

            In case you want to see how our locker room copy cat turned out, I posted this same question on Houzz, and someone there suggested the swinging doors. I included two panoramic pictures. Thanks again for the brilliant idea! People just don’t believe me when I say they are Ikea bookshelves.

          • April says

            I went and took my door off right now and feel better already. That outside door window lets natural light into that hallway.

  15. Mandy Whitehurst says

    In the middle of this very same project. Assembled the units but have a few questions about attaching.
    1) Where did you screw the units together?
    2) Regarding the 1×4 cut to the size of the shelf to go behind for screwing the hooks into, did you use one long piece the length of the whole unit or did you cut separate pieces to go behind each Billy. I’m wondering how you accounted for the 3/8 in. recess between back of unit and wall. Thanks!

  16. Erica says

    I built a two locker unit tonight – thanks for the awesome idea. I was wondering if you could elaborate on how you screwed the units together. I not a particularly handy or imaginative person so the more details the better!

  17. Kia says

    So what size were the shelves that you picked? Someone said that you could use the under the shelf hooks at the top, could you also just use the shelves on the sides and then not have to worry about putting a board at the back? Thank you

  18. Michele says

    Ok, getting ready to get 4 of these, can someone comment on the fixed shelf issue in the middle?
    Does it have to be in the middle? Thanks!

  19. judy says

    How wide are these shelves? 11 inches? Does it come way out in doorway? My laundry room looks similar with only about 3 inches to wall behind the door. It looks great..exactly what I wanted to do. Thanx ..just concerned about space.

  20. Ranessa Krause says

    Hi Melissa,
    This is a brilliant yet inexpensive way to revamp our disorganized mudroom.. thanks for this post!
    I’d want to ask though how did you guys exactly screwed the billies altogether?


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