Remove Unsightly Gaps Between IKEA's HEMNES Bookcases With This Junk Drawer Fix

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If you like a classic bookshelf look, you'll probably be a fan of the popular IKEA HEMNES bookcase, a tall, sturdy wooden bookcase that can house all your favorite books while adding an elegant feel to your space. The HEMNES bookcase has everything you want from a basic furniture piece: it has ample storage space, comes in several attractive finishes, and the top, sides, and shelves are all made from solid pine wood. Moreover, if you place two or three HEMNES bookcases side by side, you'll have the perfect wall-to-wall bookshelf. But despite the IKEA HEMNES bookcases being gorgeous pieces for a cute home library, they have one tiny flaw that can get in the way of your interior design vision. When you line up multiple bookcases, you'll start to notice an unsightly gap that detracts from the otherwise gorgeous study room idea. If you're struggling with that irritating bookshelf gap, there's a quick fix, and all you need is to go into your junk drawer and grab some electrical tape. 

As mentioned by TikTok creator @laurens.little.library, you can cover the gap between HEMNES bookcases — or any bookshelf, for that matter — with a strip of electrical tape. The TikTok user has the HEMNES bookcases in the black-brown color, so the regular black electrical tape can blend in and make the two bookcases look like one continuous piece of furniture. This DIY idea only takes a few minutes and will help give your bookshelf arrangement a much more cohesive appearance. 

Hiding gaps between bookcases

This DIY bookshelf idea will inspire any reader struggling with awkward furniture gaps. Start by lining up the furniture and getting them as close together as possible — there's no reason to work with an unnecessarily wide gap. When you have the bookshelves where you want them, you can begin putting down the tape. This trick will look best if the tape is one continuous piece, which, depending on the height of your shelves, could be a little challenging to manage. For the easiest application, pull about a half inch of tape out of the roll (but don't tear it off) and secure it to the very top of the bookshelf gap, folding it over the top to conceal the ripped edge. Then, gently pull the roll downward, pressing the tape down along the gap until you get to the bottom of the bookshelves.

Before you tear the tape off of the roll, use a small card — such as a credit card or gift card — to smooth out any air bubbles. Beginning at the top of the shelves, press the edge of the card against the tape and push out bumps so that the tape can lay flat. Once the tape is perfectly smooth, you can tear it from the roll and secure the bottom edge. If you're worried about having a rough edge on the bottom, use a pair of scissors to cut the tape from the roll.

Concealing gaps with a flair

The one downside to this hack is that electrical tape isn't the most attractive decorative piece. If your bookshelves have a high-shine black finish, the tape should blend in relatively well, although, for an extra smooth look, you should check for any frayed edges that need to be trimmed. On the other hand, if your bookshelves aren't shiny black, you'll need to do more work to get good results out of this DIY concept.

The first option is masking tape and paint. Use masking tape instead of electrical tape to cover the gap — for durability's sake, try layering two pieces of tape right on top of each other. Then, using paint in a shade that matches your bookshelves, carefully paint over the tape. Don't worry if a little paint gets onto the bookshelf, since it's a matching shade, it will blend into the original color. While it may take a few coats of paint to achieve full opacity, in the end, the tape will be barely noticeable and the gap will be neatly concealed. 

Your other option is to lean into the tape aesthetic and use washi tape as decor for your bookcase, like this KOVANO Floral Washi Tape on Amazon. Or, to really go all-out, use some leftover peel-and-stick wallpaper to cut a small strip that can be placed over the bookshelf gap. Either way, the gap gets covered and your bookshelves will have a bold, unique look.