Creating With the Stars Week 4: Home Decor

If you’ve been following along with the Creating With the Stars Contest, you know by now we didn’t win – we ended up in third place.

Womp, womp.

Just kidding – I’m super proud to have made it as far as we did, and third place is fantastic. Sarah, who won, did an absolutely amazing job and is beyond talented – it was a well-deserved win. And, even though the voters didn’t seem to be huge fans of the reading room we created, I’m IN LOVE WITH IT. That’s what matters right?

Let’s jump right in.

I’m not gonna lie – Corey and I waffled back and forth a lot over what we would do this week. We share the vast majority of our home here on a regular basis, so it was next to impossible to think of an area that wouldn’t be quickly recognized by you guys.

Then, we remembered that we have one room that has basically been untouched since the day we moved in – we use it to hold our two (giant) dog kennels, and I work out in it, but other than that it’s pretty unused. It’s rarely been shown here on the blog, and we figured once it was emptied out of the kennels (which would be a dead giveaway – not many people are crazy enough to own two giant dogs) it would be more or less unrecognizable.

Once we settled on giving this room a makeover, it was a pretty quick process to land on the idea of a reading room. I’m a huge reader and would love a dedicated spot in our house to hang out and read, and we’re both a huge fan of built-in, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, so we decided to run with it. We started off by emptying out the room…

And then it was time to get to work. We wanted it to have the feel of what you think of when you picture a traditional reading room, but we wanted an updated, more modern version of that. We decided to add some architecture with crown molding and trim around the room – and the first step was marking where we wanted it. Our decision was kind of arbitrary – Google told us that the standard height for chair molding is anywhere between 30″ and 36″, so we played around with it by holding up a piece at various heights. We decided to go against all of the rules and hang ours at 40″ – no real rhyme or reason, it just looked best to us…and we’re rebels like that.

Once it was all marked, I got to painting. We went with a pretty hunter green for the top half (Juniper by Valspar, if you’re interested) and a bright white on the bottom. At this point, our dogs’ kennels were still in the room (it’s a pain to take them apart, so we were postponing it), so I used ’em as a nice stepladder to help me reach the ceilings. Hey, I’m nothing if not resourceful!

Oh, and if you’re curious, let’s keep it real and share what the bedroom next to this one looked like for the duration of this project.

Yeah, it’s basically an unwritten rule of DIY that in order to make one room pretty you have to make (at least) one other one look absolutely insane. It happens.

Once the room was all painted, it was time to bring in the bookcases. We wanted to add a bit of fun to the back of them (the room so far was very traditional, and it needed a fun modern punch), so we decided to go with gold stripes. I did them 3″ thick, and I just taped off every other stripe with my trusty Frog Tape and spray painted the backs.

(Can you tell we had just finished photographing for Round 3 when these were taken? Accessories all over the place in our garage!)

After everything was all dried, we brought it into the room. We laid down a spare 1×12 board to give the bookcases a little more height – without it, the crown molding wouldn’t have fit, so we needed to bump them up just a bit. It’s not even noticeable in the finished product, it just blends right in and gives it an extra inch.

One of the tricky parts here was that we had an outlet and a light switch on the wall where the bookcases were going. We wanted the whole thing to look as built-in as possible, so we needed to cut some holes in the back of the bookcase. To figure out where to cut, we got creative and put some lip gloss on the switch (and the outlet) at the four corners.

Then we pressed the bookcase up to the lipgloss so it would transfer over exactly where it needed to be…

And from there it was super easy to cut a small hole and add the cover!

It’s a small touch, but it makes a huge difference towards making the whole thing feel more custom and built-in.

At this point, the bookcases were in and it was time for the finishing touches – like the trim! I won’t give a full rundown on how we did this (there are so many other people who could explain it so much better than me), but it was a pretty straightforward process – except for the crown molding, which hurts my brain and we won’t be doing again for as long as we can avoid it!

In addition to the chair molding and the crown, we added some picture molding around the bottom half of the wall – we wanted to amp up the traditional feeling of the room a little more and add some fun detail. It’s one of those touches that kind of layers into the room and isn’t that noticeable in the finished product, but it wouldn’t be quite the same without it!

As you can see, we also added a cute, modern wingback chair from Ikea that the dogs were instantly drawn to, especially Ranger. I’m surprised we got them to stay out of it long enough to take the final photos!

Once the trim was complete, it was time for the fun part to begin – bringing in the accessories!

Most of the stuff on the shelves we already had laying around our house, but we had to do a little shopping to completely fill it out. Luckily, we’ve got a HomeGoods in our town and they came to the rescue with some of my absolute favorite things in the room.

Isn’t that elephant the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? And that pillow? I’m obsessed with it.

We also added some DIY-ed accessories, like the “READ” letters, which we made from some cheap-o cardboard letters from the craft store. Just add a coat of black craft paint and brush a light silver coat on the top – instant faux metal letters (you can see more on how I create them on this old post)!

Our other big DIY project for this room was our tree stump table. I’ll be doing a more detailed post in the next few weeks, so if you’re interested, be sure to check back!

And that’s how we turned an empty, boring room into a reading room that I plan on using on a daily basis. I’m so excited about it and can’t believe how different it looks now! Love, love, love.

Anyone else have a reading room in their house? How about that final round of the competition? The projects were incredible, right?!


  1. Sandi says:

    What a wonderful space! And crown molding? Insane. The math to do the angles is killer. Great job. I love that you and Corey accomplish so much together. Now take a well deserved breather after all these weeks of raising-the-bar fantasticness!


  2. Kelsey // It Takes Two says:

    Umm that lipgloss trick is awesome! I am definitely going to have to remember that, I’m sure it will come in handy for something someday.

    Actually, this whole room is awesome. We have a small, unused bedroom in our house and it was going to become my “dressing room”, and then a laundry room…and now I’m thinking it should be a reading room.


    Amanda Reply:

    Aw, thanks! We’ve loved having it so far! And I have to attribute the lip gloss trick to Corey – it was his idea. :)


  3. Jennifer S says:

    I love it! I thought it was the best space and voted for it without knowing it was yours! It looks amazing! I think my favorite part is the gold striped backs!


  4. Jen says:

    I was so disappointed to see you didn’t win the competition, but getting a new awesome space in your house is a win of another kind! I love this space and you all did such a great job. I want to come over and curl up with a good book myself!


  5. Krissy says:

    I voted for this one! I loved it so much, and I loved how unique the idea was. Yeah, you could have just redecorated a bedroom, but you guys created a whole new space. LOVE IT! Congratulations! :)


    Amanda Reply:

    Thanks, Krissy!


  6. Lauren A says:

    This is my absolute favorite project that you’ve done :)

    It’s amazing. I really want to have a library once we move into an actual house.


  7. Jess says:

    That paint color is amazing! I still think you had the best project, even if you didn’t win!


    Amanda Reply:

    Thanks! We looove how the paint color turned out!


  8. Amy says:

    I voted for y’all! (without knowing it was you!)
    I love love LOVE this room, seriously i kept drooling over the picture!
    Y’all did such a great job!
    I’m hoping to have my “reading room” next year…the bookcases i want will require me to save some $$. Did y’all get yours from ikea?


    Amanda Reply:

    Yup! Just the regular ol’ Billy bookcases – they’re nothing fancy, but I think they look great! :)


  9. Jill says:

    I LOVE this room. I covet that pouf. I saw it at Target but couldn’t handle buying it full price but by the time it went on sale it was gone! Whomp. Haha.


  10. Jessica says:

    This turned out great! Oh how I would love a reading room… Where did you get the bookcases?


    Amanda Reply:

    They’re the Billy bookcases from Ikea!


  11. Kerri says:

    I love your reading room! The bookcases turned out super awesome! The whole room has a great look!

    Sorry you didn’t win – but congrats on placing third. I loved seeing all your projects these last few weeks :)


  12. Brooke says:

    I’m still in shock you guys didn’t win. You definitely put in the most work overall! Seriously, that’s an entire room transformed. Built-ins aren’t exactly easy, And for that matter, neither is board and batten and crown moulding! You guys did so much to that space. I think Jen has the right idea, even though you didn’t win a silly contest, you totally won with that new space in your home! And it’s going to completely improve the value of your property. You can still use the room as a bedroom, and those built-ins will be a huge plus. Great job!


  13. Rebecca @ Oak and Elm says:

    I also voted for you reading room, it was my favourite. It looks fantastic, third place is no kick in the butt. Everything you’ve accomplished throughout this competition has been more than we done in pretty much the past year of living in our house haha. We’re slow.


  14. Debbie says:

    I knew this was your project! I could tell instantly. Is this room earmarked for a baby’s room someday? Those bookshelves will be useful then too!


    Amanda Reply:

    It is! That made decisions pretty difficult because we hated to re-do a whole room only to have to undo everything in a few years when we have a kid! We’ll probably add doors to the bottom of the bookcases down the line when there’s a baby in here so we have some concealed storage for baby stuff.


  15. Kristie says:

    So bummed that you weren’t the winner!! I just *knew* this was your project. I LOVE how it came out. Kudos for for making it as far as you did and for all the awesome things you created in the last few weeks!


  16. Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke says:

    I think the room looks fabulous, that is a ton of work in one week! The shade of gold is lovely on the stripes! Also fell in love with the hot pink magazine holders–ikea, too? I was a contestant on “crafting” with the stars a few years ago and out in round 2. It’s tough, but look at all the projects you got done!


    Amanda Reply:

    It is tough, isn’t it?! And thanks – we love the room! The magazine holders are from Ikea, yes…they’ve got the best selection for that sort of stuff!


  17. Jess says:

    I absolutely love this room! You have such a great eye and fun style. We were thrilled you were a part of the contest. Thanks so much for all of your hard work!

    Jess (& Monica)


    Amanda Reply:

    Thanks so much! I LOVED being a part of it!


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