2 In Life

Our DIY Coffee Bar Shelves + A Clean Living Room

I’m FINALLY getting around to sharing this little project with you all! Besides updating our light fixtures and painting our trim/fireplace white, this might be my favorite DIY house update to date.

A few months ago, we set out to build two shelves above what-would-now-be our coffee bar. Previously, we had the top half of a large hutch I’d inherited from my grandmother, but we decided to remove the top portion in order to open up the kitchen some. The shelves I thought seemed more practical, and would feel more like “our style”. I love the hutch so much, but it’s just so big and honestly, so brown, if that’s even a thing. I desperately wanted to lighten things up a bit, and felt like open shelves would do the trick.

We opted to use some cherry wood we already had on hand from previous projects, i.e. the playroom shelves in this post, re-stained with a clear poly to shine it up and bring out the grain. Then, we ordered two pairs of industrial pipes off of Amazon to use as our brackets. The only hiccup we ran into was needing to cut the wood width down about a half inch in order to fit the width of the pipes. Adam installed them in no time though, and after some quick styling, they turned out beautifully! (PS no, you’re not crazy, you’ve already seen these shelves in our Christmas home tour but consider this their official grand unveiling, ha!)

While our kitchen and breakfast nook were clean for photos, I also snagged a few updated photos of our living room, also clean at the moment! Since painting our fireplace white, and covering up that nasty beige, I’m continually shocked with how much it POPS! AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It’s made the biggest difference in the look of this space!

I also wanted to very briefly mention our toy storage situation for the living room. I’ve seen new moms asking here and there how other moms keep their houses tidy, and to be honest, this space only looks like this on the weekend, or after our nanny leaves (before the kids wake back up and destroy it again!). We have baskets under the TV that house the kids’ “downstairs” toys, and then we have a leather ottoman that usually stays in front of the fireplace that has more random toys shoved inside. (Not shown for these pictures, it’s scooted just outside of frame.) Any BIG toys stay up in our playroom, and we regularly move stuff upstairs as our baskets downstairs become too full again. (Adeline has some very Adeline specific toys in her room, and Barrett has a small box of Barrett specific toys in his room.)

I know some families can get away with toys ONLY being in a playroom type location in the home, but for us, it makes sense to keep some downstairs where we spend the majority of our time and where the kids play while we’re in the kitchen cooking or visiting with friends. So, I really don’t have any mom-hacks to share other than just a hint of realness that sister, your house is just going to be messy during this season of motherhood. Don’t let Instagram make you feel otherwise. Get you some cute baskets or boxes, and pick things up when you have the time and energy to, and don’t sweat it if you don’t. For me, I have just chosen to embrace the fact that my top priority is not necessarily cleaning during the work week. As much as I love a good clean living room every night, to be frank, I just don’t care enough after a long day to pick it all up. We organize, clean, and declutter almost every weekend to make up for this, and that’s what works best for us. The baskets make for a good quick batch cleanup, so we can move onto what’s really most important – family time!

The three baskets on top are from Target, and the big basket on the ground is from Walmart. The box on the bottom shelf is from Home Goods.


  • Reply
    Amanda Bumgarner
    February 3, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Looks so great! We just have a one-story house, so all the toys are in the playroom, but they of course migrate into the living room all the time! Definitely not a top priority to clean up every night during the work week. We don’t often have people coming over anyway!
    Amanda Bumgarner recently posted…New Big Kid Room + Guest BathroomMy Profile

    • Reply
      February 9, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      Same! And if we DO have guests mid-week there’s a mutual understanding that we don’t have time to clean haha!

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