If you can’t tell, I helped out with quite a few projects at our church in Louisiana. One of the bigger ones was helping spruce up the student room. This building used to be an old Kroger, so that’s where the industrial vibe comes from. Over the years there have been lots and lots of improvements (so thankful for all who helped do that!), like painting the floors, getting a new ac unit in there, etc., but it was time to take it up yet another notch to better serve the needs of the children/youth that use this room.
I yet again failed with getting the best before and after pics, but I do have some! The above picture is the before of the main countertop area. This is usually where food is set up for events and things like that.
This was my original drawing of proposed changes I turned in. As you can see, I suggested paint changes, adding a “chair rail” and baseboards, a modern bulletin board, new lights, wrap counter in wood, light up word, and a picture backdrop. They had already said they wanted to get rid of the fluorescents around the room and get ceiling lights, so to cover up that recessed space we just added painted wood trim.
These changes were very simple and very cost effective for such a large space. I was inspired by a local Starbucks for the painting scheme. They had high ceilings and had painted the bottom and very top half darker, where as the middle was lighter. It helped break up the large walls so I suggested we do something similar. It really added to the interest of the room and helped the ceiling blend in well. The lighter gray color is Sherwin Williams Icy Avalanche and the Dark Gray is Sherwin Williams Carbonized. And then for the back wall we did a green to add some color to the room.
We left the counter tops on as they were a dark gray laminate and went with the changes we were doing. We took off the galvanized metal and ripped down some plywood to create planks that we nailed on. Then we stained them in Minwax Early American and added two layers of polycrylic to protect them. This is a room where kids/youth will be, so the more durable the better!
The back wall was inspired by a project I had seen another church do that was featured on Pro Church Media. I arranged different pictures/graphics (many from Unsplash) and had them printed by Staples. I simply choose the black and white engineer prints so it cost a little over $50 for all of them. I had nailed this plywood on the wall so if they want to change this up the future the wall behind is still in good shape. I used this adhesive to keep them on. Now, you can probably tell it looks a little wrinkly…. so let’s talk about that. The reason for this is that Louisiana is super humid and this room gets the air turned off when it isn’t in use which causes paper to go crazy. But, when the air is on and it isn’t super humid it straightens back up! This type of project is definitely suited more for a temperature controlled room, but is still doable! And when some of the corners would start to peel a little, I just used a glue stick to tack it back into place.
The light fixture was a fun one to make. We bought pipe and spray painted it black. Then I used 6 plug in cord sets from Ikea to hang on it. There was an outlet on the ceiling for the previous plugged in light, so to save from having new wiring done we just plugged them all in there. And since the cords are dark and the ceiling was dark, it really isn’t noticeable at all. The lightbulbs were a variety of different Vintage style ones from Lowes.
The stage area was the corner on the other side of the room. This side had no lights besides some strung ones on the ceiling. Volunteers came and helped rip off the rest of the sheet rock on the cinder block wall, we spray painted the white pipes black so it would blend in more, that whole back wall was painted green, we re-carpeted a bunch of stages that we had and wrapped them with wood the same way we had done the counter, and added paper chains hanging from hula hoops that had been spray painted black.
When I was taking these pics, we couldn’t figure out how to do all the cool lighting so I don’t have that full effect, but it it makes the paper chains look really cool and adds to the atmosphere. The portable signs were actually non-portable ones that used to be on the main sanctuary stage. I added the supports and wheels and then cut out the word “kids” from wood and put on top of another stained piece of wood. To add a bit more color, I added some party decorations from Target across the top.
The last side to share is this back corner by the entrance. (There is still one more corner, but I sadly won’t be able to be there for the finishing of that area.) The gray paint job continued here and all galvanized metal was taken down. And although it is hard to see, we added this for baseboards. This room gets mopped so it was the most practical (and ultimately cost effective) type to use.
The bulletin board was such a fun easy thing to make! The back wood piece was from Home Depot, a 4’x8′ piece of underlayment, and I used liquid nails and also a nail gun to secure it onto the wall. Then I spray painted this rebar sheet mesh black and used screws to hold it in place. The rounded ends of the screws go over the metal bars and when strategically placed you can’t see them and this thing isn’t going anywhere.
After doing all of those projects, the back wall seemed a little bare, so one of my friend’s took our scrap wood and made these triangle shelves for me. We added some succulents for some greenery. My goal was to add even more down the road, but I wasn’t able to get to that.
Since I didn’t do the greatest on my after photos, I did find this pic from an event where you can see this corner of the room behind all the people lol.
And one more spot I totally forgot to take an after picture of! *sigh* The entrance to the room. I took this on a work day when I was putting up the lights. The door was at the end of a long long hallway and not very noticeable. I wanted it to stand out as an important room and hopefully help others who hadn’t been there before spot it more easily. I put wood all around the door which makes it stand out and also is a great place for them to post information parents/students might need to read. Then I designed this sign and Mark of City Sign & Tag Co. made it and installed it for me. This adds a little decor to the wall and makes it very clear where the student room is. Then since the ceiling lights are broken down here, I strung some lights to add some light. I ended up stapling the cord down the baseboard and under the door into the student room where they are easily plugged in.
I am forever thankful and grateful for all the people who came and helped clean out this room, paint, demo, make dump runs, and everything in between. It was a labor of love and I’m so happy that the children and youth now have a room that is even better suited for their events. As with all of my projects, I hope this inspires you to think outside of the box and know that you can create amazing things without having to spend a lot. -jess