Studio Details — Deciding Which Black Accents To Keep And Which Ones To Change

The mural wall in the studio is soooo close to being finished! After his horrible weekend (which I shared about here), Matt had a really great day yesterday, which means that I had a big chunk of uninterrupted time from 3-9pm to work on it. I got most of the electrical stuff finished (wiring five outlets, wiring one switch, covering one switch plate and one outlet plate with wallpaper, etc.), and all of that took a ridiculous amount of time. But that’s generally how it goes when you get down to all of the little finishing touches. They seem to take forever.

But I did get all four outlets finished inside the cabinets…

And I got the one above-countertop outlet wired, and the plate covered with wallpaper…

And I got the one light switch wired and the switch plate covered with wallpaper. This was, by far, the most complicated of wiring projects I did yesterday. I used a dimmer switch, which has much larger housing than a regular switch, and I thought I was NEVER going to get all of those wires and the switch to fit inside that single gang box. This one thing alone took me well over an hour because I had to redo it three times to get everything to fit, and then I had to cover the plate with wallpaper, but I finally got it to work.

I think there’s a very good chance I can get this wall completely finished today. I just need to do one more coat of paint on the trim around the left window, caulk around the countertop, and do some touchups on the wall paint. Then I just need to get all of the dust and gold leaf vacuumed out of the cabinets and drawers, and it’ll be done! I’ll finally be ready to move on to another part of the room! (Edit: I keep forgetting about those countertop grommet outlets. Ugh! I still have to install those.)

I’ve kind of had tunnel vision while I’ve been working on this mural wall, but now that I’m down to the last few things on the “to do” list, I started taking inventory of what I need to do in the rest of the room while I was taking a yesterday. I got a bit overwhelmed. It’s a huge room with several different zones, so there’s just a whole lot to do. It’ll feel good to be able to check off this mural wall from the list of things to do, but even with that done, the room won’t quite be halfway finished yet.

Anyway, one thing that I’m trying to make decisions on is which black accents to keep, and which ones to change. But after giving it quite a bit of thought yesterday, I think I’m on my way to having it figured out.

The problem with me starting a room and then waiting several years to finish it is that my vision for the room will inevitably change during those interim years. Heck, my vision for a room can change completely overnight. 😀 So there’s no possible way that I was going to pick up on a room I started back in 2019 and just carry on with the original plan. That would never happen with me.

When I started choosing decorative items and finishes for the room back in 2019, I selected a lot of black accents, which are also carried into the studio half bathroom. But when I started working on the studio again this year, I decided that all of those black accents were a bit too heavy for the (new) vision I had for the room. In 2019, I evidently thought a whole lot of black accents were a great idea. In 2023, I want things to be light and airy and feminine.

Y’all already know that I started making changes with the two black pendant lights that were on the mural wall. They started out solid black (and very dusty 😀 ), which you can see here…

I love how those turned out, but now I need to decide what to do with the rest of them. First, there’s the pendant light above the desk in the office section of the studio. Right now, it’s covered in dust, but just like the mural wall pendant lights started out, this light also has a black canopy and black cord. I covered the shade in velvet and added even more black to the shade.

The cabinets behind the desk will also be pink with gold leaf accents to match the mural wall, so it makes sense to me that this light should coordinate with the other two pendant lights, but not necessarily match. One challenge is that while the other lights have solid plastic cords which were very easy to gold leaf, this pendant light above the desk has a fabric cord.

I don’t have to keep this light. I can swap it out for another one, but so far, I’ve struck out on finding one that I think would go with the other two. I could always swap out the cord for another one that’s solid plastic, and gold leaf it like the others. And then I could get a new shade, gold leaf the inside, and then create a fabric that coordinates with the mural to go on the outside. Maybe some colorful stripes? Y’all know I love some stripes!

Moving on. Next up, I have this bubble light in the back entry that’s all black and white (with a whole lot of dust and cobwebs right now).

I’m not a person who thinks that all metals needs to match. That’s not the issue to me at all. The issue is that this light looks so visually heavy compared to the pendant lights on the other side of the room. It looks like this back entry, with it’s black light and black curtain rod, and black doors, is so heavy that it’s trying to tip the room over.

I’m considering gold leafing this light. 😀 I had originally considered taking it down and spray painting it gold, but then I remembered what a nightmare this light was to install. It was awful. The light is heavy and bulky, and I was a little scared being up on a 10-foot ladder trying to wrangle this thing onto the ceiling. So the thought of taking it down to spray paint it hasn’t appealed to me in the least.

But it dawned on me that if I gold leaf it, I can do that with it in place! I wouldn’t have to take it down at all. It would be time-consuming, but I’d much rather do that than take it down and then try to install it again. Plus, I find the process of gold leafing to be time consuming, but I also really enjoy it. So I’m almost certainly set on that plan.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep all of the doors black, and also paint the other two doors in the studio (the side exterior door and the door that leads to the breakfast room) black as well. I love the sophistication that black doors add to a home. And if you’ll remember, this is the direction (in the photo below) that I’m heading with this back entry — much softer green walls, curtains in the same print as the mural, and that checked pattern for the half bathroom walls.

I’ll probably be swapping out the black curtain rod, though. I still have those acrylic curtain rods and the brass brackets that I used in our living room several years back, so I might use those instead.

But I think lightening up the bubble light with some gold leaf will go a long way towards giving the back entry a lighter, airier, more feminine look.

And as far as black accents in the studio go, that leaves my desk. It has stuff piled on it right now, so I can’t take a current picture, but below is the picture I took right after I finished building it. (You can see how I built it here.) It has a very dark top, and more black.

Right now, I’m considering giving this desk away and either buying or making a new one. I just can’t see this fitting with my new light, airy, flowery, feminine vision for the room. So unless someone has a brilliant idea on how to transform it to make it look more in keeping with the style of the mural wall, this desk may be finding a new home, and I might be searching for a new idea for a desk.

These changes were inevitable. Even if I had finished the room back in 2019, I have a feeling that all of these black accents would have been weighing on me by now, and I’d be swapping them out anyway. A little bit of black in a room is a good thing. Black is sophisticated, and it can ground a room. But I definitely went overboard on it back in 2019, and I didn’t even mention all of the black I put in the tiny studio half bathroom.

I won’t be too hard on myself, though. I started making these decisions for the studio in January 2019, and it was later that year when I finally finished my living room after trying several times to get it right and striking out many times.

Living Room – After

And it was also later that year that I finally finished the music room…


So that’s when I finally “found” my style, and really fell into a groove when it came to feeling confident in what I liked and what I didn’t like. So I’ll give myself a break on anything I tried in early 2019 and before then. I was still trying to “find” my style, and I got a whole lot of things wrong back then, including loading down my studio with a ton of black accents that all feel very wrong for the room now.

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  1. So gold leaf the light above your desk and put the floral fabric on the lampshade to blend it with the mural wall. Then gold leaf the desk legs and make a new top for it to match the counters.

      1. I think white legs would lighten it up a lot (as in visual weight)! Or the same color as what’s behind it (cabinet or wall color). Either way, a quick ish job for spray paint. Maybe gold leaf on just the v?

  2. SO glad to hear that Matt is doing better. What a relief!
    I am thinking that it might make sense to wait until more of the room is “finished” before deciding about the black — for instance, finish the additional cabinets…
    Some touches of black seem to help ground a space, and in your room, these touches would need to be smaller and spaced around the room to keep the eye moving. You were so right to change the pendants on the mural wall to white, but the black pendant over your desk might be fine when the room is finished…OR it might need to be lightened to white or gold. Maybe the desk legs need to be gold, but it might be easier to determine once more cabinets, etc are completed or nearly so.

  3. Just a thought on the desk – could you paint the black in gold, and then paint the top of the desk in white – in keeping with the white/gold you have going on with your lights. I don’t recall where the desk is in relation to the mural wall, so perhaps that wouldn’t work, but just trying to help you salvage the desk. Another possibility would be to make the top of the desk match the countertops of the mural wall.

  4. Regarding the desk pendant light, use some of the mural fabric to cover the shade and make a cord cover.
    I think I would wait on the entry light until you repaint. Are you going to paint the ceiling white like the rest of the room, or are you going to continue the green? That change may affect your feelings about the light fixture.

  5. Hi, I would gold leaf the legs of your desk. As well, I would trim the edges of the top to make it look thicker, and then make an epoxy surface. You can put whatever colour or decor bits you like into the epoxy. As others have said, whatever you do, it will be wonderful.

  6. Could the base of the desk be painted a different color? The style is light and airy… the color is just a little heavy with the new color scheme. Loving all the progress!!

  7. So I don’t have strong opinions on much of this. But the light above the desk can be last it is so easy to adjust you’ll likely change it again.

    For the entry chandelier. I’d confirm having a ladder shelf before starting anything. Also as an older person, I say wrap or back brace to preserve whatever aches first when you spend time on a ladder. Extended time on ladders somehow strains parts not even used, from balancing more, up there.

    Maybe try the craft tables green for the desk? Or the entryway green. Somehow a color feels airier for now. Again it’s a detail, I think you can wait to swap if it’s really needed. Untill the right thing comes along. Then, you have a more complete studio to do it in at that time. I’d just focus and churn through details you know right now.

    Oh for the grommet holes if it’s a round one you can use a large disposable clear bowl/takeout lid to minimize dust from the flooring. Then alternate between sweeping and lint roller for the area. The idea is those clear bowls that come with the drywall hole cutters now for ceiling holes.

    1. Oh and a well placed sonic cup below to toss, if going entirely in from the top. And surround surface with extra masking, when you are cutting in, not just for blowout but more disposable, contained cleanup.

  8. I wonder if you could keep your table and dress it out exactly like your cabinets. Add the same product flooring boards on top of it, and paint the legs the same color as the cabinet fronts, and add some gold leaf somehow on the legs. I don’t think in the genius lane like you do so this is just a thought.
    I do have a question. I must have missed your reasoning for having an electrical plug way back inside one of the IKEA cabinets. What will you use it for?

  9. Where’s Waldo?? Took me a while to find the light switch! 😊. Everything is coming along great! My opinion only regarding the desk——get rid of it. I think it is too “industrial” for the rest of the room. Get or make something “softer” and feminine. I’m sure you will figure out the rest without any problem.
    So glad Matt is doing much better.

  10. I think you need a desk that has more feminine legs. Im mean, this is a girlie room🙂. I think that back wall should be the star of this room, so if you keep the light maybe a small print on the shade, not something that grabs your attention.
    It might helps us help you if we could see the room as a whole, like from the breakfast room door

  11. Great ideas coming to life!
    How about spraying the black desk legs with the same white treatment on the Pendant lights, and gold leafing only the 4 ‘feet’–like legs caps on MCM furniture? Maybe then, lightening up the darker wood desk top, or even painting it the same soft green color you’re going to use for the walls?

    1. I was thinking the light green would work for the desk legs.
      Me, I’d go teal, the dusty greyed teal[I love teal, but to bright wouldn’t go] or purple and leave the top dark.
      Run a bead of gold around the sides of the top, as an accent. At least till you find exactly what you want.
      All that to say it really is not a very feminine desk, and someone else might have just the spot for it.

  12. Wow everything has changed so much and looks so great! I love the bubble light and think gold leaf is perfect. The desk at first I thought what if you could lighten the top to compliment your counters with a fun color on the base (maybe purple) but maybe finding something you LOVE would help lighten your to do list and allow you to move onto other things. Whatever brilliant ideas you have, I just know it will turn out perfect for you!!

  13. Have you considered painting the base of your desk the same pink as the cabinets? How about covering the cord for your desk light with a sleeve of the floral fabric and painting the shade white with either pink or green trim? So glad to hear Matt is doing better, we’re all rootin’ for that boy!

  14. I wouldn’t do anything to the light over the desk, the light in the entryway, or the desk until you finish the cabinets, walls, and drapes. There is a very good chance that if you do those now, you will decide to change them when everything is finished. LOL The mural wall is beautiful! If you hadn’t pointed out the covered switch and outlet I wouldn’t have noticed them. Good job!

  15. Paint the legs one of the darker colours in the mural and insert a piece of coloured glass in the V portion at the front of the desk. I don’t know what you’ll do with the top.

  16. With the black doors I would leave the desk and lamp and bubble light with the black until the end because they might be just the right touch of black elsewhere in the room.

  17. For the heaviness issue with the light… in addition to putting gold leaf on the hardware, is it possible to exchange the white globes with clear ones? If I remember, aren’t their other clear globes in some others area?

  18. I really like the desk, but I would paint everything white and then do a resin pour with a really amazing bit of artwork or alcohol ink art on the desktop. Of course, I don’t know if resin is hard and suitable for a desk? Perhaps just the alcohol ink and a clear top coat? But I do like the legs and the sturdiness of the desk for a studio. A more feminine desk might be too twee for a studio and for such a large room.

  19. Your mural wall turned out gorgeous. You have such amazing talent. I almost didn’t find the outlets you covered in the paper. 🙂 I really had to look!
    I think regarding your light over the desk that it does need to be gold where it is black on the cords. I also say to cover it in the fabric that matches the wallpaper. Deep down though I think you need another pendant light (maybe larger hard to tell size) like what you have already.
    When I envision your desk I think it would be beautiful to paint the black a color that ties to the wallpaper, then gold leaf the legs about 12 inches from bottom upwards. Making them look gold dipped.
    I love the idea of gold leafing the “bubble” light. Can’t wait to see this all come together, but I know whatever you decide, it will be so you!!

  20. I love your desk and hope you’ll keep it. I’d leave it as is until the rest of the cabinets are installed then take another look at it. Maybe paint the legs the aqua color that’s in the wallpaper. The chandelier in the hallway would be pretty in gold leaf but I don’t think it looks heavy in black with the arms being fairly narrow. If you use gold leaf on everything, it will diminish the value of each piece that has gold leaf. The gold leaf won’t have the wow factor it would if it’s used sparingly.

  21. It’s looking fantastic! Totally on board with updating the fabric light fixture. My vote is to leave the bubble light as it is. It is gorgeous! I think the bubbles compensate for the black parts. Amazing work as always!