Mini Accent Wall – Our FIRST DIY!

Gather ’round boys and girls, today I’m sharing the story of how our first DIY came to be, and it literally only took us a few hours! So picture this, a wonderfully peaceful Saturday afternoon of lazing on the couch with Hubby. I was casually scrolling through Pinterest when this gorgeous photo caught my eye! I was in sheer awe of its simple beauty. The accent wall’s color, shelves and decor all worked together in perfect unity.

I was so inspired by the design and naturally, my wheels started turning. There were so many thoughts running through my mind like, where could we recreate a similar wall and would a dark, moody color fit with the existing aesthetics of our home and how would we mount these floating shelves? My Hubby is quite handy with repairs around our home. He is always willing to learn so I had the utmost confidence that this was a project he could handle, even though we’d never attempted any DIYs before that day. However, knowing he could do this and him actually agreeing to do this project were two completely different things. Being with this man for almost 17 years, he has taught me that there is no harm in asking for the things you want. The worse that could happen is you hear no. Problem is, this gal doesn’t like to be told no, but my desire to tackle this project was much stronger than the uncertainty of this not working in my favor.

I showed Hubby the scroll stopping photo and very nonchalantly commented on how great this little wall feature would look in our home. He studied the photo for a moment and to my disbelief said, “let’s do it.” He didn’t just mean let’s do it sometime in the near future, oh no, he meant let’s do it now! It took me a second for the shock to wear off and then I was in full planning mode. We chose the wall right off of our garage entryway because it was the perfect size and offered some eye candy from our kitchen.

We obviously needed a few supplies, so off to Home Depot and Lowes we went. Home Depot sold the hobby boards we needed for the shelves, while Lowes sold Sherwin Williams paint. Instead of going with a true gray, if there is even such a thing, I wanted something a bit darker and moodier to contrast against our white kitchen. I’d found a few color options on Pinterest but went with my gut on our color choice. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Sherwin Williams Iron Ore!! Choosing this color was pure luck, but it’s a decision I have come to love in so many ways and soon, in so many projects!

Building the shelves were much easier than expected. The hobby boards we purchased were already the ideal length (2′) and depth (4″) for the shelves. Hubby then simply cut 2″ pieces for the front of each shelf that was secured using wood glue. This technique allowed us to not use nails and therefore, avoid the not so fun task of patching holes to hide the nail heads. Since I already loved the natural wood color of the shelves, I chose to emphasize the color by applying a natural wood stain. Mounting the shelves were also pretty easy. We used 2 strut brackets, and of course, I selected the gold option because I wanted the hardware to be apart of the decor.

So, about 3 hours after having this random idea, we had ourselves a beautifully moody accent wall with contrasting natural wood shelves. Not bad for a couple of rookies and just like that, our first DIY project was completed, very successfully I might add. I love having another little corner to decorate and redecorate! Currently, I’m using this accent wall as a photo gallery, but I’m excited to mix things up in the future!

I think once we broke the ice and tackled our first DIY, the idea just didn’t seem so intimating anymore. Since then, we’ve completed vertical shiplap installation in a nook space and created a modern color block wall. One of the goals of this blog is to create and share simple DIYs in our home. We truly hope you find inspiration in this little wall feature and in our other completed projects. Tell me, have you ever done a DIY project? What was your first?

Aminah Chung

Étagère Bookcase Styling – Office Space

“Your home should tell the story of who YOU are and be a collection of what you LOVE.”

– Nate Berkus (Interior designer)

I found this quote on Pinterest and it resonated with me, so much so that I wanted to share it. Interior decorating is a form of art, and like art, it’s subjective. There is no right or wrong way to decorate a space. Whether you choose decor items out of love, inspiration or for their sentimental value, regardless of the reason, own it and embrace it. I choose to follow my own instincts, while loosely incorporating any applicable decor guidelines, and I hope you do too!

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I consider myself to be a pretty simple gal and if you’re anything like me, you had no clue what an étagère was until this blog post, am I right? During my hunt for an open bookcase for Hubby’s office, I landed on Kat’s Instagram account where she was showcasing a beautifully decorated bookcase. It was while trying to source similar bookcases that the word, étagère, popped up. Unlike traditional bookcases that were crafted to store heavier books and items, an étagère refers to a set of open shelves that are used for lighter storage and display. Its design allows for a space to maintain its open concept. Now that you’ve read my version of the definition, I’m sure it sounds like most decorative bookcases you’ve seen, and you’re right! You likely already own one too! You can always throw the word around if you ever want to sound a bit fancier! In this blog post, I’ll be taking you through my process for styling our étagère bookcase.

Step 1 – Blank Slate

Whenever I’m about to restyle a shelf or bookcase, I find it extremely helpful to remove all existing decor before starting. Having a blank slate removes distractions that could otherwise sabotage or hinder the new, restyled look you are trying to achieve. It simply allows for a smoother process.

step 2 – gather your decorative items

Having all my shelf decor gathered in one spot allows me to work seamlessly without having to stop for a scavenger hunt for any of my items. I’m also able to better assess whether or not all the individual pieces will create a cohesive look. While I consistently stay true to steps 1 and 2, the rest of my process usually varies depending on the particular shelves or bookcase I’m styling. I’m also keen on adding various heights, widths and textures to create more character and depth.

step 3 – greenery

Throughout this process of setting up Hubby’s office, I needed to remind myself many times that this was mainly HIS space! As such, it was important to me that he felt comfortable in this room. I wanted the choices I made to reflect his style. That being said, the man loves GREENERY and so I tried to incorporate as many as tastefully possible, without looking like a scene from Jumanji. Essentially the plants were the main course, while all other decor items were the side dishes. You’ll also notice I chose different textures for the vases and planters, i.e. ceramic, bamboo and glass. And if you’re wondering, yes these are all faux plants, even that tall beauty in the corner. We’ve tried the real plant route but sadly, neither one of us acquired a green thumb. I’ll happily settle for some pretty REAListic faux plants!

step 4 – metallics

Metallic decor is a great way to add more contrast to your shelf styling. I included gold and silver pieces with open designs to maintain a minimal look while keeping the focus on the bookcase. They also lend a masculine touch to the space.

step 5 – white decor

I bought this bookcase for its gorgeous brown color which, when contrasted against the black frame structure and details, is simple perfection! That being said, I chose to include a few more white decorative items because they are just so striking against the brown shelves. The composition of the brown, black and white works so well aesthetically, wouldn’t you agree?

step 6 – books

Books are highly recommended in shelf styling. They’re a great way to add both width and height. These are usually my last addition since I typically insert them either as shelf fillers or under smaller decor items to elevate them.

I was very intentional in the decor I selected for this bookcase. Each piece, while beautiful in its own right, served to emphasize the color and details of the bookcase.
I’d love to know your process for styling a shelf or bookcase. Are there any rules you like to follow?

Aminah Chung