DIY Style Tips for Base Housing
by AmeriForce Media - June 25th, 2021
Move over, Joanna Gaines.
With each and every Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, military spouses find themselves with a fresh set of white walls to make their own. However, the blank canvas of base housing may not always spark instant inspiration, making it time-consuming to decide how to make a new address into a home. One Air Force wife decided to create a virtual gathering space where the relocation masters of the military community can encourage one another with design ideas.
White Walls, a Facebook group founded in 2013, was launched by Erin Morris to generate interior design conversations. The social media meet up spot has grown to more than 100,000 members over its six years, while rewriting the home décor rules when it comes to living on or off a military installation. With determination, ingenuity and a whole lot of color, military spouses are transforming housing into gorgeously-styled homes.
Morris jokingly shared that her motivation for starting White Walls was “because I got tired of looking in people’s windows to see what they did to their houses.”
And it is clear that others were seeking to fill a similar interest because the group is the go-to site for military families looking for style tricks, room décor tips and idea-sharing. White Walls’ members engage daily on each other’s posts, offering a sense of camaraderie for men and women living across all geographies.
If these walls could talk
The most common limiting factor in military housing is unquestionably the plain, white walls. Paint isn’t the only way to transform a living space, and group members offer a variety of stunning alternatives.
For instance, in the main photo of this page, Shawna Fields transforms her dining room with peel-and-stick wallpaper, which she found at Target. But check out how others make a big splash in their temporary homes with little effort and minimal funds:
Jessy Durazo uses a combination of washi tape and peel-and-stick triangle wall decals to achieve this look.
Kirsten Sibley proves that you don’t have to wait for your forever home before enjoying a shiplap wall. Spoiler: it’s wallpaper!
Natalie Thomas brings color and style to her laundry room in military housing with removable wallpaper.
Of this creation, Ariel Thompson said, “This is a tapestry I ordered online and cut out, then starched to our master bedroom wall. To remove, I just spray with water, and I can use it again at the next house.”
Dreamy kid spaces
Relocating military kids comes with the added challenge of setting up a space quickly that eases the emotions of leaving an old duty station behind. Members of White Walls shared examples of how to make children’s rooms and play areas aesthetically pleasing, yet functional.
Using a specific color scheme and textured décor items, like a rug and wall art, Josly Lilibeth Gutierrez creates a space you would never guess is in military housing.
Sarah Staggs turns to removable wallpaper and industrial décor to achieve this brick wall effect, complete with costume storage.
Spencer Monk explains, “I added a pop of color to the room with Sherwin-Williams Deep Blue Ocean [paint], then used removable peel and stick metallic gold palm leaf decals to create a fun oasis vibe!”
Timoney Honeywood uses front-facing books as functional wall décor as well as playful bedding and a cozy rug to complete this look.
Texture is a designer's best kept secret
Texture is another element within a home designer’s toolbox as it can transform a room from flat to one with depth. Whether it’s a plant, woven basket or other natural material, texture gives the eye something to grab on to and ultimately increases the cozy factor.
Jaclynn Worthington said, “I used wallpaper shiplap, white washed an old oak table, re-padded the wicker dining chairs, and covered the old icky linoleum floor with a large area rug.”
M.J. Hyten combines several textural elements here, including antlers, leather chairs, plants and rug to revolutionize a basic dining room into this incredible space.
“I focus on keeping it neutral, adding texture and plants. I don’t try to find a “style”, more just finding things I love and keeping it minimal,” Shawna Fields explained.
Haley Shimkonus Kennan said, “I incorporated my love for Halloween into my home and added touches of elegance and my personal sense of humor to it.”
Air Force spouse Megan Smith has been a site admin since the group’s beginning.
“We’re amazed at how quickly the White Walls groups have grown, and motivated by how much encouragement and inspiration happens within the groups every day. Service members and their families face a lot of unique challenges, and we believe feeling really at home no matter where you are can have a big impact on overall happiness,” Smith said.
Whether you are a military family just settling into a new home or want to refresh a space, White Walls is available for home décor inspiration, idea exchanges and images to help members realize what’s possible within the walls of military housing.