Shalyn's "Paint it Gold" Workspace

Shalyn's "Paint it Gold" Workspace

Chris Perez
Apr 12, 2013

Name: Shalyn Nelson
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1,600 square feet (house)
Years lived in: 3 years

"When life gives you lemons, paint them gold." That's precisely what Shalyn did to create the workspace of her dreams in a home that needed some cheering up. Shalyn, a wedding photographer based in Austin, got creative with a limited budget to create an office every bit as bright as her beaming personality.

Walking into Shalyn's office will instantly bring a smile to your face. The gold chevron wall she and her husband painted by hand shimmers in the natural light, and you'll catch yourself marveling at it from different angles.

As a photographer, Shay loves the thrill of inspiration, and she's now proud that her space is something that can provide that creative spark we all need from time to time. Shay has pulled together a variety of items procured from IKEA, antique stores, and hand-me-downs to create a cohesive atmosphere. If it didn't fit in right away, well, she just painted it so it would. 

Shay didn't just dream about one day making her picture perfect office. She jumped right in and did it, piece by piece, to create the glam mix of gold, grey and pink that'll brighten your day. It is So Shay.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style:  DIY, Glam, Modern with a twist of feminine touches, bright, cheerful, and simplistic. 

Inspiration:  I gained my inspiration off of my love for gold. The sweet lady who designed my blog for me also created a mood board for me, and it was everything I wanted in my brand. I wanted to make sure that I created a space that reflected me, my brand, and could be a place that I could be inspired by every single day. I also saw a wallpaper on Pinterest one day that was incredibly pricey that had smaller, gold stripes on it. I knew I wanted a cool wall in my office, so my husband and I got creative and made one ourselves by hand. (Here is a link to my mood board

Favorite Element:  My gold chevron wall that my husband and I painted by hand.

Biggest Challenge:  I would say the biggest challenge was knowing that we had a budget that we could not go over in any way. We had to get creative and be as handy as possible in order to create the space I envisioned in my head. The wall was very tedious, but the reward at the end was so worth it. I'm also super thankful my husband learned how to install flooring and trim while working on smaller projects around the house prior to this renovation. It was a complete overhaul, but like most people, budgets are a necessary evil. We just made it work the best we could with the resources we had. 

What Friends Say:  My friends say that my office is a dream. I can't argue that because everytime I am in it, I can't help but think, "I can't believe I work from here. This is mine…Pinch me!?" I'm proud of it, and my friends always want to come over and work  in my space. I say, the more, the merrier! It's a fun place to be!

Biggest Embarrassment:  Not a thing. I love it!

Proudest DIY:  I would say the gold chevron wall because it took a couple of days to create, and required so much of my patience…or lack thereof. ;)  J I also made the gold frame hanging in my office. My neighbor had a garage sale, and nobody wanted the frame, so when I saw it hanging out by his trashcan on the street, I snagged it up and spray painted it gold. I then added some string to tie to the back of the frame and labeled it my inspiration board.

Biggest Indulgence:  I would say the chandelier in my office was my biggest indulgence. It was the most expensive item in my office, and when I saw it, I knew I had to have it! When we installed it, I couldn't stop staring at it. It was the perfect touch to the office.

Best Advice: My best advice would be this: "Get creative." You don't have to spend a fortune to create the ultimate dream space. Trust me! J Our budget was small, and that can be super frustrating for anyone. I feel that in today's social media world, it's easy to compare and think that having a Pinterest worthy space is a dream or one of those things that you label in the "One Day" folder. However, if I can make my space a reality, you can too. You just have to get creative. Can't afford that wallpaper? Paint it. Can't afford a fancy desk? Go to IKEA. OR find an old desk at a thrift store and paint it. My book shelf thankfully was a hand-me-down from my brother, but it was brown. What did I do? I painted it white, added some under lights from IKEA to give it a fun professional flare, and BOOM! I have a cool nifty little shelf. Everything in my office was either painted, created, re-invented, thrifted, or found at antique shops. It may not be the easiest or quickest route, but you will learn to appreciate your space even more when you can sit in it and say, "I did that. I made that. I created this." It's an amazing feeling y'all. Stop wanting and wishing for an inspiring place to work from…Go make it happen!  

Dream Sources:  Apartment Therapy, of course. Pinterest. Here is my pinterest board

Resources of Note:


  • Black Board Chalk Paint from Lowes 
  • The Grey Walls are Martha Stewart: Nimbus Cloud (Matte)
  • The Gold Wall is a basic Valspar Primer White and Valspar Aged Brass: Brilliant Metals (It's a special paint section at Lowes)


  • Desk- IKEA
  • Artwork – Stephanie Sterjovski (SSPrint Shop)
  • Chandelier: Home Depot 
  • The floors were bought at Floor and Décor Outlet in Austin, Texas. They no longer carry these ones exactly (sadly) but they are dark walnut brown laminate. 
  • Yellow Chair: Bought at an antique store in Rockdale, Texas called Antique Queens 
  • Desk: IKEA
  • Gold Chest:  Bought at antique store
  • Blanket: Marshall's
  • White and Blue/Gray Pillow: Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Picture Frame in Window: Hobby Lobby
  • For Like Ever Sign: Gift from DDHP; Purchased from OhDierLiving
  • White Frames: IKEA
  • Vase: Was Drew's Mom's that she gave to me. It was gray and I spray painted it gold.
  • Book Case: Hand me down from my sister-in-law. Painted it white. Added under-lighting from IKEA.
  • Sticks in Vase: Hobby Lobby
  • Gold Pillow: Marshall's
  • Wooden Gold Heart: Marshall's (Spray painted the heart gold)
  • Gold Frame: Free from neighbors yard. Was brown and spray painted it gold.
  • "Love" Letters on Shelf: Hobby Lobby
  • Cameras on Shelf: Z-Gallerie
  • iPhone Case: Target
  • Mood Board by Kelly Ann Creative

Thanks, Shalyn!

(Images: Chris Perez)

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