Why Ikea is redesigning its flagship Billy bookcase

Ikea’s Billy bookcase has been one of its top-selling items since 1979.

DELFT, Netherlands — Ikea’s Billy Bookcase has been one its best-selling and most popular products since it first launched in 1979. But now, more than 40 years later, it’s getting a major rework.

The new Billy will use fewer plastic parts, while swapping out its ultra-thin wood veneer for foil paper, which Ikea says is more durable and scratch resistant while also allowing for more modernized colors. Pop-in snap fittings will replace the nails that had to be hammered into the bookcase’s back panel, making it easier to assemble.

The company’s goal is to make the bookcase more sustainable. The move also aligns with Ikea’s broader goal of being completely circular by 2030.

“By shifting from veneer to paper foil, reducing plastic use and making it possible to disassemble and reassemble, Ikea aims for Billy to continue to be an important part of people’s homes for many more years to come,” said Jesper Samuelsson, business leader at Inter Ikea Group. “This is an important change to Billy that goes hand in hand with the Ikea people and planet positive strategy to design our products circularly from the very beginning. By enabling products and materials to stay in use longer, we solve many customers’ needs and take steps toward reducing our impact on the planet.

“New colors and finishes, such as black oak, dark brown oak, brown walnut, oak, and birch, will better align with Ikea’s entire range and replace today’s available colors, except for the white finish, which will remain available with the same improvements.”

The new Billy will launch in the Asia Pacific region in July 2022 and the rest of the world in January 2024. Availability and range offers may differ depending on region, says Ikea.

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