Love And Pride For My DIY Bench – First Solo Project!

The love and pride I feel for my FIRST DIY bench are immense! I’ve been more than happy and content to create the designs for our DIY projects. Now, I understand the satisfaction you feel when you use your own hands to bring a design to life! What a labor of love this has been! As my most requested blog post, I hope I can provide the details you’ll need to tackle this DIY bench for yourself!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of the included links. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

My favorite part of this project was the fact that it was a zero dollar update! The pine boards I used were all leftovers from previous projects. You can build this bench to any size, but I chose to use the full length of my pine board to minimize waste.

DIY bench with brown stain and black slat pieces.
DIY bench with brown stain and black slat pieces.

Bench Build

Underneath the bench seat, I attached a piece of pine board that I later screwed my slat pieces into. Aesthetically, this additional piece also hid other smaller pine boards used to secure the bench legs.

I used a miter saw for all my cuts
Bench seat: 49″ length x 9.25″ width

I found it easier to start with the right bench leg. I used a small piece of pine board to secure the right leg to the bench seat, on the underside. This allowed me to create a more seamless look by hiding the screw holes. I then applied that same technique to the backside of the left bench leg.

Right bench leg of DIY bench
Right bench leg: 18″ height x 9.25″ width
Pine board connecting the right leg to the bench seat: 7.75″ length x 1.5″ width

Backside of the left bench leg: 18″ height x 9.25″ width
Pine board connecting the backside of the left bench leg to the bench seat: 9.25″ length x 1.5″ width

With the 5 slat pieces, it was super helpful to first secure them to the base of the left bench leg. Then I secured that constructed portion to the left side of the bench seat, completing the left leg. I actually eyeballed the spacing between the slats. At this point, the constructed bench looked quite disproportionate and I’d begun to doubt my design. Little did I realize how much better it was about to become!

Left leg base: 9.25″ length x 9.25′ width
Measurements for DIY bench
Click on image for a larger view

Stain and Paint

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m OBSESSED with Sherwin Williams Iron Ore! When it comes to dark paint colors, this one is a winner in my book. It’s not black and it’s not gray, but rather a hybrid of the two with just the right amount of warmth! For the stain, I used my personal concoction of Natural and Early American. It’s definitely a trial and error sort of mix. I simply tested the stain on a piece of pine board until I was satisfied with the resulting color.

Stain – mix of Natural + Early American
Paint – Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

If you’d like to see how else I’ve used this paint and stain combo, then be sure to check out our stairs nook update and our West Elm inspired shelves! I glued the slat pieces on the top to maintain the seamless look.

Style

There are so many great details on this bench that I plan to keep the styling minimal. I want the attention to remain on the bench as much as possible. Although it fits perfectly against our slat wall, I do find the bench design to be too matching. Not sure where its permanent home will be but I’m envisioning either an oversized mirror or artwork above it.

Recommendations and Improvements

  • Feel free to use your choice of wood on this build. I used pine boards because I didn’t need to sand them prior to staining and painting. I only sanded the areas where I applied spackling paste. Also, pine boards stain really well!
  • I used the countersink drill bit because it allowed me to drive the screws further into the pine boards. I was then able to easily fill the holes with spackling paste, lightly sand and paint.
  • The 90-degree corner clamp allowed me to hold the bench leg and bench seat together so I could screw them in place. The quick grip clamps are great for solo DIY projects because they provide that extra set of hands you often need!

I’m still beaming with love and pride over my DIY bench! I’m so grateful for the overwhelming love and support I received on this bench! While this was my very first DIY project, it likely won’t be my last. I hope you decide to tackle this bench design and if you do, be sure to tag me on Instagram! The best compliment you can give us is to recreate one of our projects! If you have any questions, leave me a comment. Until next time friends!

Aminah Chung

Love How We Cozied Up Our Home Office – Fall Edition

I love how we cozied up our home office, just in time to welcome my favorite season! For me, fall symbolizes a slowing down period. With the crisp, cool air and falling leaves, this is when our family soaks up extra quality time. Living in Arizona, fall allows us to be more outdoors and I’m most excited to go for walks with my girls again!

Love how we cozied up our home office with some pillows, throws and dark greenery.

2020 has been a year for the books, am I right? Given the chaotic year we’ve had so far, I think it’s even more important to create motivating and inspiring workspaces. Hubby works from home and so, my goal for our office space was to create an environment that fosters growth and mental clarity. With the help of some new furniture pieces, gifted from Inmod, I think I managed to achieve our home office goals!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of the included links. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

Add wood tones

Adding wood tones is one way to bring some fall vibes into a space. Our home office is very light and bright so I love the rich contrast of our new coffee table and end table in this room! The natural oak finish on both pieces is so lovely and I’m a big fan of the Scandinavian design. Their stain and scratch-resistant features are an unbelievable, added bonus, particularly when you have accident-prone children and husband!

Add textures

Love how we cozied up our home office with some pillows, throws and dark greenery.
Taylor Sofa – Charcoal Gray || Pillows

The quickest and simplest way to transition through the seasons is by switching up your throws and decorative pillows. When it comes to styling with color, yellow in all its glorious shades, is my favorite. I love the richness and warmth of this mustard throw! It pairs beautifully with my assortment of black and white pillows, creating a comfy and inviting sitting area. If you’re on the fence about making the switch to pillow covers, then check out my Decorative Pillows blog post, where I list my pros and cons of both pillow types. A fabric sofa naturally lends to coziness! We chose the Taylor sofa in charcoal gray because of its clean lines and subtle details. It’s the perfect balance of simple and modern comfort! Even our coffee table decor is adding textures and layers to the overall aesthetics of the room. These selected pieces include a ceramic vase, a concrete candler holder and slate coasters. Add more dimension to your styling by using items with various heights, widths and textures!

Add dark greenery

Shelf Styling – BEFORE
Shelf Styling – AFTER

Instead of traditional fall florals, I chose to include darker greenery in my decor. This is just one more way to enhance the moodiness of our office space. I also refreshed our bookcase by swapping out a few decorative items. Do you struggle with shelf and bookcase styling or are just curious about my shelf styling process? Then check out my Bookcase Styling blog post where I walk you through my process!

Love how we cozied up our home office with some pillows, throws and dark greenery.

Welcome to my favorite view of our home office! There are so many beautiful details to love in this corner. Do you spy my little cuties on the wall?! Our color block accent is serving as the perfect backdrop and adds more dimension to our office space. If you’re interested in learning how we created this geometric accent wall, then check out my Color Block blog post.

Home Office – BEFORE
Love how we cozied up our home office with some pillows, throws and dark greenery.
Home Office – AFTER

I love how we cozied up our home office for the fall season! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of our office space! On the opposite side of this view is our actual workspace and maybe one day I’ll share that view as well. For now, continue to digest all the yummy, cozy details of our home office fall refresh! Have you decorated for fall or planning to? I’d love to know what you think about our home office update! Until next time friends!

Aminah Chung

Bold Design In A Small Space – How To Achieve It!

Creating a bold design in a small space may seem challenging, but it’s very possible my friends! I’m going to walk you through our recent stairs nook update, sharing exactly how we transformed this useless space into another functional area in our home. I’m beginning to believe that home builders include these wasted square footage to taunt us! Am I right? For years I’ve watched this little nook space. I’ve felt irritated that it existed and frustrated because I didn’t know what to do with it.

Inspiration

Those feelings are long gone because while repainting this little corner, inspiration struck in a big way! I decided to combine 2 design features we recently used in previous projects. When dark, moody shiplap meets the simplicity of a pocket desk, the end result is pure MAGIC!

Materials and Tools

We started out by building the middle section of the pocket desk/shelf using Pine Board. A 90- Degree Corner Clamp comes in handy for supporting the board pieces prior to securing them together. This section was installed first to help create a leveled foundation for the shiplap install. I couldn’t imagine completing the shiplap install, only to then find out all the pieces were slanted! Eek! If you’re looking to reduce your project time then I highly recommend Primed Shadow Gap Shiplap, simply because the spaces are already built-in and the primed feature makes painting a breeze.

90-Degree Corner Clamp
Middle section of pocket desk:
2 – 17.5″ x 3.5″ || 1- 24.5″ x 3.5″

Attempting any wall treatment around the stairs can be tricky. I’m also convinced that we do not have a single straight wall in our home! Airing on the side of caution, we literally measured, cut, and installed each shiplap piece ONE at a time. The actual install was super easy with the help of our trusty nail gun! Another fantastic tool is our miter saw which allowed us to create all our beautiful, angled cuts! Lastly, we filled and sanded all the imperfect areas, leaving a lovely smooth surface that was ready for painting.

Painting

I can honestly say I didn’t think twice about choosing a paint color for this nook space. If you’re ever looking for a bold color to create a beautiful contrast, then Sherwin Williams Iron Ore will always be my FIRST pick! It was absolutely necessary for us in creating this bold design in a small space! We used a paintbrush to paint the corners and a mini roller to paint the rest of the shiplap which resulted in a smooth, even finish.

Staining

How do you find the perfect stain? I like to play mad scientist and mix several options until my dream color is birthed! My personal favorite is combining Varathane Early American Stain with Minwax Natural Stain. I think this combo produces the perfect, rich brown that really enhanced the natural wood texture and details of the Birch Plywood. We also tried something different and added a gloss protective coat on top of the pocket desk, to help eliminate stains and scratches. Fingers crossed it works out!

Birch Plywood for top and bottom of pocket desk: 2 – 18.25″ x 24.5″
Bold design shiplap wall with pocket deck reveal
Paint color: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

The Reveal

I can’t tell you how many times I walk upstairs now and just admire this little corner! It is so striking against all the surrounding white! The final design is the perfect balance of beauty and functionality. I styled this space using minimal decor elements that enhance our design without overwhelming or compromising the overall look. I’d say mission accomplished on creating a bold design in a small space! Even the budget was small because our final cost for this project was less than $60!

Bold design shiplap wall with pocket deck reveal
Bold design shiplap wall with pocket deck reveal

I hope our transformation of this blank canvas into another gorgeous, functional space in our home, inspires you to look at these areas differently! See them for the potential they hold and rise to the challenge of creating more usable square footage in your home.

Bold design shiplap wall with pocket deck reveal
Bold design shiplap wall with pocket deck reveal

I did a quick little switch of the greenery to get you thinking about Fall. I’m quite partial to yellow and its contrast against the moody shiplap makes my heart happy! Never be afraid to take bold risks in your designs! The result just might surprise you in the best way!

Be sure to check out our DIY Pocket Desk and Master Bedroom Reveal to view this nook space design elements on a larger scale. Now tell me, do you have any odd nook spaces in your home? Have I convinced you to tackle them? Until next time my friends!

Aminah Chung

How To Make A Simple And Affordable DIY Desk!

If there was ever a time for a super simple and affordable DIY desk, it’s NOW my friends! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 7-year-old daughter will be online learning for the first quarter of the new school year. We have the option to reevaluate our decision quarterly and switch to in-person learning when we feel more comfortable with her safety at school. We are now in WEEK 2 of at-home learning and let me tell you, please send help and/or WINE! I love my girl, obviously, but I’m certainly not qualified to be her educator. I’m also learning that my patience level could use some work! They say what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger, so I guess I’ll be coming out of this situation a damn WARRIOR!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of included links. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk layout and construction.

Hubby and I decided to make this a POCKET DESK for the added storage functionality! I laid out all the cut wood pieces to really envision the final result! The top portion of this DIY desk was built using Birch Plywood (desk top) and Sande Plywood (desk underside), while the legs were constructed from Pine Board. The plywood gave us the perfect desk depth, without having to join wood pieces, while the pine boards gave us great legs!

DIY Desk Construction

Desk top: 1 – 48″ x 20″ birch plywood
Desk underside: 1 – 48″ x 20″ sande plywood
Desk back: 1 – 48″ x 3.5″ pine board
Desk sides: 2 – 18.5″ x 3.5″ pine board
Each desk leg: 2 – 24″x 3.5″ pine board || 2 – 18.5″ x 3.5″ pine board

We used 2 different types of plywood to reduce our final cost. We also placed the back of the pocket desk about 0.75″ away from the edge. I love this little added detail, but it certainly isn’t something a 7-year-old would appreciate! We kept each piece of wood in place with wood glue and then further secured them with screws.

Stain and Paint

DIY desk stain is a natural finish.
Stain – Minwax Natural Oil-Based Interior Stain

Paint – SW Pure White

I was drawn to the swirl patterns in the plywood. I chose to enhance this pretty detail by simply using a natural stain! I’m a huge fan of wood and white combo and so you’ll notice strategic inclusion of white paint throughout this desk design! I can never say this enough, frog tape is your best friend!

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk in 2 tone combo of wood and white paint.

We’ve been slowly repainting our interior walls in SW Pure White. This bright white color was so perfect for our DIY pocket desk! The contrast is very striking in all the right ways! As an alternate design to the pocket desk, you could create more of an open look as seen above. I really don’t think you can go wrong with either choice!

DIY Desk Reveal

Simple and Affordable DIY Desk fully built and styled.

I’m beyond OBSESSED with how this DIY pocket desk turned out! Hubby and I are all about subtle details and this desk definitely delivers that! It pairs beautifully with this 2-tone chair! I had to style our latest furniture piece at least once before it made its way into our daughter’s bedroom, never to be seen or heard from again! I’m happy to report that so far it’s still in excellent condition. No visible crayon or pencil marks … yet anyway!

Ready to learn how much this desk cost us?! Including taxes, we spent $88.38 on materials which was so worth it to create this modern piece! If you’re looking for a simple and affordable DIY desk to build, then I hope you consider this option! If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, then be sure to check out our Modern DIY Slat Wall!

I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have on this project. Comment below and let me know what form of schooling you chose for your kiddos. This was a very difficult decision for our family but we feel at peace with our choice. There’s no wrong answer here, only choices and solutions that best fit your own family! Until next time my friends!

Aminah Chung

Modern DIY Slat Wall – Ready for a Weekend Project?!

I’m back with a simple but cool DIY slat wall project! Our inspiration for this accent wall came from Pinterest which shouldn’t be a surprise! Literally some of our greatest ideas have stemmed from an image discovered on Pinterest!

After our recent completion of the One Room Challenge, I was all blogged out. We took some time to really enjoy our freshly updated master bedroom and take in all the hard work that was put into our new space! If you have no idea what I’m talking about then check out our Master Bedroom Reveal blog post!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of included links. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

60″ total width || 12 pieces of 1″x 2.25″ wood boards || 3″ spacing between each piece of wood

DIY Slat Wall Design

Looking for a quick weekend project? Then this DIY slat wall is just what you need! I love instant gratification, so any project that can be completed in a couple of days is alright by me! We tackled this project a few weeks back, in the midst of the One Room Challenge because it gave us a quick sense of accomplishment. This wall is actually part of a spare bedroom update we’ve been working on for some time. It’s important to have a visual of the project you’re attempting so Hubby created our desired layout using Adobe Photoshop. This allowed us to select the perfect wood width and spacing ratio.

I’ve set this crazy goal to NEVER recreate the exact wall twice in our home. Now it’s always a fun challenge to find new ideas that are still consistent with the clean lines you all have come to know and expect from us! This DIY slat wall totally fits our style and it’s so darn simple!

The Preparation

DIY slat wall preparation. Measuring and spacing the wood boards.
Taping the space for the DIY slat wall in preparation for painting.

We chose 3″ Douglas Fir wood for this accent wall. However, be advised that the actual width of these wood boards can be as small as 2.25″ which was the width of the pieces we purchased. According to our calculations, we needed 12 wood boards, each 2.25″ wide and spaced 3″ apart. These measurements would completely fill the 5ft wall space we’d dedicated to this project. Some of the wood boards are cut at a 45° angle but you can get as CREATIVE as you want with the cuts! Have some fun and truly make this design your own!

Painting and Slat Wall Install

Painted the area for the DIY slat wall in a dark gray paint color.
12 Wood board are installed 3 inches apart to create the DIY slat wall.

If you’ve been following our Instagram journey for a while now or have read some of our previous blog posts, then you already know what paint color this is! YES, Sherwin Williams Iron Ore … AGAIN! It’s my equivalent of the perfect white paint! Once you find it and you love it, it’s so hard to use any other color! We decided to paint the wall first, then install the wood boards using a polyurethane adhesive and our trusty nail gun.

DIY Slat Wall Reveal

Paint wood boards to complete the DIY slat wall look.
DIY slat wall is complete. Both the wall and the wood boards are painted in dark gray.

After taping the necessary areas to protect the rest of the wall and ceiling, Hubby used a paintbrush and painted each wood board. Living in Arizona, most homes have textured walls which I’m not a big fan of. However, this DIY slat wall project is the FIRST accent wall completed, where the textured wall added another design layer to the finished look. There’s almost a leather-like quality to the wall which I’m LOVING so much!

Project Recommendations

If you’re attempting this project, you may want to consider painting the wall first, then painting the individual wood boards, all prior to the actual installation. Another option would be to install the wood boards first, then paint the wall and wood boards all at the same time. Choose the solution and order that works best for you. When painting, I highly recommend using a mini roller frame with mini rollers for a much cleaner finish. It’s also important to note that since we used the same color throughout this project, and particularly a dark color at that, we did not see the need to fill the nail holes or caulk the sides of the wood boards.

Please consider these additional steps based on the paint job you have planned for your DIY slat wall. Lighter paint colors may not be as forgiving as my SW Iron Ore! There you have it, friends! Such a SIMPLE and AFFORDABLE DIY slat wall. Did I mention this project was completed for under $75?! It’s also very possible to make this a 1-day project but with our 2 demanding girls, both weekend days were absolutely necessary!

You all loved this accent wall so much that it is currently our most LIKED photo on Instagram! Even more than our master bedroom makeover! It was, therefore, only fair that I share the details of this well-loved DIY project! Would you tackle a slat wall like this? Be sure to let me know if you ever do! What are some of your favorite accent walls? I’m quite partial to color blocks, shiplap, and other wood paneling! Until next time my friends!

Aminah Chung

One Room Challenge Week 8 || Master Bedroom Makeover || REVEAL DAY FOLKS!

It’s the end of Week 8 and our Spring 2020 One Room Challenge participation is coming to an end. I’m so happy Linda Weinstein created this event! It gave us the encouragement and motivation we needed to buckle down and complete our master bedroom makeover!

This post contains affiliate links and I will earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using any of them.

Master bedroom makeover mood board.

If you’re now joining us and you’re unfamiliar with this event, here’s what it’s all about. Each Spring and Fall, 20 Featured Designers are selected by Linda Weinstein and the ORC team for a 6-week challenge where they each take us along on their room transformation! Feeling inspired? Guest Participants, like yours truly, with a blog or Instagram account can register and join in on the action. This year, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the challenge included an additional 2 weeks of work time which was so helpful for newbies like me and Hubby!

Before

A before image of our master bedroom showing our bed and nightstands.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane! I still can’t believe that just 8 weeks ago, this was OUR bedroom! Looking back at this photo, I have a true sense of appreciation for how far we’ve come and all we were able to accomplish as a TEAM! For more details on individual DIY projects we completed as part of our master bedroom makeover, check out the following One Room Challenge Weekly Updates :

Week 1 || Week 2 || Week 3 || Week 4 || Week 6 || Week 7

After

I’m experiencing many EMOTIONS right now my friends! I’m beyond EXCITED to share our master bedroom makeover with you all and I’m so incredibly PROUD of the time and work Hubby and I have put into this project! I hope you LOVE it as much as we do!

Master bedroom makeover reveal photo showing black shiplap, a photo ledge with framed prints, new bedding and nightstand decor.

I’m OBSESSED with how well our DIY shiplap wall turned out! I think the dark, moody vibe is absolutely perfect, and just what this space needed! Sherwin Williams Iron Ore has never let me down and it delivered once again!

Faux Window Trim

So believe it or not, our initial plan for this wall with the large window was just to add some shelving. We figured with all the other updates we were doing, this wall could be kept simple and minimal, however, our plans quickly evolved!

In addition to shelving, we repainted the wall in Sherwin Williams Pure White. Just to keep it interesting, we also created this faux window trim using Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. I’ve always loved the added dimension window trims create, but I knew that wasn’t a project we’d be embarking on … not now anyway! The painted trim was the next, best thing and I scoured Pinterest looking for inspiration but found none. So remember my friends, you saw this PAINTED (FAUX) WINDOW TRIM here FIRST!

Cozy Corner

My plan for this corner was to add warmth, layers, and coziness. I wanted to create a little area suitable for reading, working or just hanging out with a cocktail.

I think we achieved our goal for this space. They’re so many beautiful details I adore here and I look forward to many comfy moments! I actually shopped my home for these pillows because the ones I ordered from Crate&Barrel didn’t arrive in time. I’m living for them in this space so maybe I’ll just leave them be!

Color Block Mural

I know in the home decor world, displaying one’s TV is a hot topic! Personally, I have no qualms showcasing my 75″ TV, however, she needed to be dressed up first!

When we decided to paint a color block accent wall, our original plan did not include the space behind our TV. However, after painting the first half of this 19 ft wall, we soon saw how incomplete this space looked. Extending the color block wall behind our TV was a smart decision. Now our TV isn’t the only interesting thing in this view! And yes, that is a mini-fridge! I like to keep my ice cream close!

Color block accent wall as part of our master bedroom makeover

Night Stand Decor

I intentionally kept our nightstand decor minimal and yes, we have no lamps! Our bed has a built-in light that provides the perfect ambiance, so although we could have purchased lamps for aesthetic purposes, we chose practicality … this time! These little, ceramic trays are perfect for your TV remote, phone, and jewelry. We keep a couple of coasters in ours for those WINE down evenings!

Gallery Hallway

Hallway of framed art prints as part of our master bedroom makeover

I’m so glad Hubby suggested we create a hall of frames. As much as I enjoy looking at these white walls, the black and gold metallic frames break up the white and provide some ease on the eyes. I’m also digging the black and white, architectural prints we selected! It appears we’ve created our very own little art gallery!

Cube Shelving

I love collecting decor pieces of various textures and styles! Vases, books, and greenery are some of my go-to styling items that have never let me down. These cubes have so much styling potential and I look forward to playing around with them in the future!

West Elm Inspired Shelving

DIY horizontal shelf as part of our master bedroom makeover.

DIY vertical shelf as part of our master bedroom makeover.

One of my favorite DIY projects from our master bedroom makeover is the West Elm inspired framed shelving Hubby created! The frames are painted while the actual shelves are stained, creating an illusion of metal and wood. I’m seriously OBSESSED with these and I love their overall clean, modern look! I must have more of them in our home!

DIY Modern Blanket Ladder

Brown and white blanket ladder as part of our master bedroom makeover

Hubby felt this particular view of our master bedroom needed some contrast against the dark shiplap wall. He came up with the brilliant idea to create a blanket ladder, but of course, a traditional blanket ladder wouldn’t do. He angled the top and bottom rungs of the ladder which added so much more dimension and character! The half-dipped finish was the icing on the cake! A beautiful union of stain and paint!

Bedding

Green and gray bedding as part of our master bedroom makeover.

We can’t ignore one of the most important upgrades in our master bedroom – the BEDDING! I’ve been having some of the best sleep of my life on our new bedding set! I searched high and low for the perfect, affordable olive sheets, and would you believe they were on Amazon this whole time?! That’s not even the best part. I paid $34 for the king sheet set and no, a zero isn’t missing! Our Belgian Flax Linen duvet cover, in frost gray, pairs perfectly with the olive sheets. A little pop of brown leather was all that was needed to complete the look!

Closing photo of our master bedroom

I cannot believe it’s a wrap my friends! It has been an honor being apart of the One Room Challenge community. I’m so GRATEFUL for the love, support, and encouragement we’ve received along the way! THANK YOU for following our journey and I hope our master bedroom makeover was worth the wait! Be sure to check out the reveals of the Featured Designers and other Guest Participants of this event! Until next time!

Aminah Chung