Women’s Conference Chocolate Relaxation Room

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A few weeks ago, I was asked to transform the stark white walls of a church classroom into a chocolate relaxation room for a women’s conference. There were classes going on throughout the building, all about finding JOY, but they wanted a special room that the women could go and relax, while indulging in chocolate flowing from fountains. I missed the conference last year, and they debuted the chocolate room then, and heard they pulled in the floral church foyer couches, and how fun that was.  When we came up the color scheme of red, black, and gold this year, I knew a blue and pink floral just wouldn’t work. I had some plans brewing in my head.

Cookie Cutter to Party Room on a budget

First, I know you want to see the BEFORE pictures, because everyone loves a before and after.  This is actually the same room that I teach my Early Morning Seminary Bible Study class each weekday, so I’m very familiar with the layout and size of the room.

church room before transformation

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Big door on one end, two small chalkboards in the middle, and big chalkboard on the other end

room before

This is how it all came to be…

When my friend Candida called me a month before the conference, asking for suggestions on decorating the room, I gave my thoughts, but it wasn’t my call, and I wasn’t invested. We discussed the main eating room as well, and made plans to do some decorating in there, but at a group meeting, someone decided against our brainstorming. I was bummed, but only because of the dreams I had imagined would not come to pass. I hadn’t actually done anything yet. My friend told me about that in the same phone conversation that she asked if I wanted to “take over” decorating the chocolate room. I hesitated in silence, and I think she feared I’d say no at the daunting task, but I only paused because I wanted to make sure that I’d have full creative license to do what I wanted without veto’s.

I knew I was going to make my favorite fabric banner. They are just perfect for any gathering, to make it a bit more festive. This one was going to be the longest yet, and I enlisted the help of my fabulous children, and my friend Nicole when she was in town visiting from Florida. We whipped up the fabric banner in just about an hour, including ripping and tying.

From stark white church walls to a festive relaxation room…

Come see the after

Candida and I spray painted old metal folding chairs on my driveway a few days before.

spray paint folding metal chairs

I packed my van to the brim with all things red, gold, and black!

trunk full of red and black and gold decorations

Here is the room with everything dumped inside…what to do first?  I gathered lots of great stuff, but I wasn’t quite sure where everything was going to go. I figured I’d figure it out once I got there. I was grateful for my friend Alysha who was there at the beginning to help me figure out where to put the couches, and main furniture, then everything else fell into place after that.

decorating a church room for party

Getting excited!  But also thinking…”where the heck am I going to put everything?!?”

prepping the room

My awesome boys brought in the two black couches from a friend of mines’ home, they were PERFECT in the room!

carrying a couch

My worker bee team: Candida, Kari, Tricia, Kam (You can see the double brown doors being covered with the wrapping paper). If you are familiar with LDS church buildings, we are in the Young Women’s room, and those doors open up to the kitchen serving area.

wrapping paper to cover door

It took 5 of us, 4 hours to get it all set up. Some of that time was spent staring and trying to decide where to put everything.

party crew

We decorated on Thursday night, and on Friday morning at 6am, my seminary class thought it was pretty fun…

seminary class

the black bench below, normally sits on my front porch

seminary

Saturday morning, it’s GO TIME! Here is my dear friend, Candida, whom I worked with on putting this together.

parnter in crime

Here are the “hero shots” of the room before everyone got to see it.

gold paper lantern decorations

long fabric banner in red and black

red and black party decorations

Let me tell you about this red rug. I found it on Amazon for $45 {It’s $40 now! (affiliate)} and had to get it…crossing my fingers that I could sell it the next day for the same price…and I did!  Gold lanterns found on Amazon (affiliate) red I got at Hobby Lobby. I collect paper lanterns for parties!

ornament filled gumball machine

My dad gave me this gold trunk, it was old and brown, and I said the only way I’d take it is if I could paint it. He didn’t care. I LOVE it gold!

gold painted trunk and red roses

The other side of the room has a HUGE chalkboard, and we covered that with a different wrapping paper. I just love how it looks.

wallpaper over chalkboard for decoration

fabric covering a chalk board with painted metal chairs

black and white room decor

This pano is kinda hard to see, but I had to include it. The video might actually help you get the best feel for the room layout.

panorama

At the conference, I enjoyed a relaxing lunch with two of my closest friends, Alisha and Shelley. These two ladies know my heart, listen to me complain, allow me to cry on their shoulder, and love me through it all. I’m grateful for them, even if we hardly get to see each other! They still have babies, and pre school and I’m home plugging at my computer most days. But that doesn’t stop us from friendship.

friends at church

Here is a snap of ladies enjoying the room…including myself.

chatting in the chocolate room

ladies in chocolate room

Candida prepping the room with all of the fondue toppings.

chocolate fondue

The black and white wrapping paper is covering a giant brown double door. The paper was perfection!!

Chocolate fondue toppings

At the end of the conference, before we took everything down, Candida, Kari, and I celebrate with throwing some kit kats in the air. We had so much fun working together! I just met Kari the day before, but we became fast friends, and have similar days working from home on the computer while our kids are at school!

kit cats in the air

It was only enjoyed for a few hours, and we had to pack it up. Such a fun day, my awesome family and amazing helpers at church broke it all down in under an hour!

packing up

What’s your favorite element in the room? Or something unexpected that you enjoyed? I had so much fun putting this together, and to hear others say they enjoyed it, just made my heart smile. I already have a new color scheme in mind for next year!

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Comments

  1. Looks nice, but way too much work for a church activity. This is why people feel burnt out. Simplify people. I think things need to look nice, but people who go enromously over the top are searching for some sort of validation.
    I would post my real name, but there are so many jusgemental people who love to go over the top I probably know on here.

    • A little too much says:

      The room turned out so cute! But I do agree that it might be too much work. President Uchtdorf said at the last General Conference that we need to simplify. I admire how well the blogger magnified her calling, but I also think that if we spent more time serving in our communities then we could do a lot of good and share more of Christ’s love.

      • Kristen Duke says:

        I definitely agree that we each need to simplify in ways that we feel our lives are too overwhelmed. I also believe that a one time space made beautiful can be enjoyed by many. I believe I can serve in my community (and I do) and also decorate space for a group gathering. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, I love to hear.

        • Many people do not realize that there are people like us that enjoy decorating, crafting and styling for events – I love the thrill of putting together decorations, figuring out logistics and watching an event come together! To some, this looks like lots of busy work and stress – but for us we can find relaxation, peace and serenity in knowing that our hard work has paid off and come together for others to experience. I am sure that not only your heart felt full from creating this beautiful event space, but also those that helped you AND your seminary students who got to enjoy a fun morning in the space (I bet they had looks of delight when first seeing it, despite it being 6 am) and the women who took part in the conference. I think you did an amazing job Kristen and I did not feel like you did this for any sort of validation, but instead did it with a heart full of joy that wanted to share your vision of what relaxation could look like.

          • Kristen Duke says:

            Shelby, you are so very sweet to leave your thoughts, I appreciate it! Full of joy, you got it! It is quite a thrill to assemble, and see the finished product, I love that you get that;)

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It’s fun to change it up with something fancy. I definitely was not doing it for validation, but to make a retreat for people to come and relax. To each his own.

      • I think it looks great! It is a welcoming space, as well as fun and comfortable; which is very important when inviting people to a retreat. The chocolate was probably a big hit!

  2. I love love love this! Good for you, making it fun and relaxing. My friend always says “The love is in the details” and you can absolutely see that you loved doing it! Congratulations on a joyful and memorable night!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you so much! I really had fun putting it together, decorating a space for a party is one of my favorite things to do, so this was right up my alley.

  3. I read all your posts, but have never commented, but needed to this time. I love this!! I love the use of wrapping paper and am definitely going to use this idea. I host bridal and baby showers in our church. Last year I hosted 18 (one was for my nephew’s bride who doesn’t attend our church) and this year I already have 8 on the calendar, so am always looking for new ideas, even though i have so many yet that I haven’t tried.

    I disagree with the commentor that you went over the top. I believe it is important to use the gifts the God has given us and I love it when I go to something where I feel special… that someone put so much thought and care into it. We all have our gifts and know for me to do something that others would call “simple” would not be using the gifts and talents that God gave me. Also for me, what I do may seem “over the top” to others, but because it is my gift and I love doing it so much, it IS easy. It may be time consuming, but it is easy.

    Thank you for sharing. I imagine everyone had a lovely time. I know I would have in an environment like this.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Debbie, you’re so sweet to comment, I really appreciate it, and I love hearing that you enjoy doing the same thing. I’m happy the wrapping paper tip helped, too! I can’t believe you hosted 18 last year…whoa! Decorating a space for a party is something I truly enjoy, and I do hope it wouldn’t make others in the future feel they have to do the same, agreed, we are all asked to do different things at different times in our lives to bless in different ways. Happy to have you as your first comment!

  4. I would totally do this for my (United Methodist) women’s group. It’s part of the gift of hospitality and
    making a fun, relaxing environment for others to share time and fellowship together. Creating a room like this is not work, but a joy to me and I’m rarin’ to go. Don’t ask me to spend an afternoon making noodles for a big chicken soup fundraising dinner though 🙂 Thanks, Kristen, for sharing some great ideas! Love covering the doors with wrapping paper and the big paper lanterns are a quick and festive note. I’ll bet those painted chairs will make repeat appearances!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, those painted chairs will come out again, for sure…maybe even another color? The gift of hospitality, I love it, I know I enjoyed my time in there, and it was fun to hear the comments from others enjoying it, too. And yes, don’t ask me to make homemade noodles, either, to each his own!

  5. I love it! The wrapping paper is such a good idea and cheap! Also the fabric banner is beautiful. Did the chairs just go back in the church building? THat’s awesome they let you paint them. I think you did a fantastic job and made the women feel special. So creative.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Oh no, the chairs were ours. I had them sitting in my garage collecting rust and dust, and sprayed mine gold, and my friend had another set in her garage that she was excited about the red. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it was a great time!

  6. Carrie Anderson says:

    Its very cute but I need to know, did you really spray paint the church’s folding chairs?!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      They were our old rusty chairs…maybe I need to clarify that above! They’d been in my garage for a while, the gold gave them a nice facelift!

  7. I love the room! You clearly loved putting it all together and you love your church enough to make the time to do it. I could not disagree more with the first two comments. Why should you hide your light so that others theoretically don’t feel bad? You have the love and talent and shouldn’t be made to feel to guilty for it. It’s not about one-upmanship. Ugh I’m really bothered by those comments. I’m sure the ladies in attendance were very grateful for the lovely room and your hard work and efforts. I love the fondue table with the lanterns over it and that fabric banner is awesome!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Nicole, you always make me smile with your comments, I’m grateful for your support. Thanks for the love, it does make me happy to transform a space like this, and I don’t let comments that see otherwise bother me. I get where they are coming from, and hope that my doing this is viewed as a love, and not trying to get validation from anywhere. I loved the lanterns over the fondue table, too, I had a great team helping me pull it all together, I could not have done it well alone!

  8. Great transformation, and I love all the little touches. I’m sure your talents were very appreciated there, and thanks for sharing your ideas with us here too 🙂

  9. Jacqueline says:

    Haha, what’s my favorite element in the room? The chocolate, of course! 😉 Beyond that, it’s hard to pick. Gold lantarn sitting on the gold trunk? Vintage red pickup? Great job, it’s fun to see such a drastic before and after! In regards to the various thoughts mentioned in the comments, this is one way to serve others. The motivation -am I using my talents to love God above all and my neighbor as myself?- is ultimately the most important.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you! That vintage red pickup truck I got at a Christmas display a few years ago, and I use it for Valentine’s, also, multi purposeful! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, too, motivation was pure for this display.

  10. I LOVE it! This is not something I would ever do. Partly because I don’t have that talent and partly because doing it would cause me stress. However, I greatly appreciate that others have the talent and enjoy doing things like this. As long as a person isn’t neglecting their family or their own spirituality to spend time in “over the top” details I say, “Go for it.” When I attend church or other events like this I appreciate the details and time someone has taken. This room is awesone!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you! I agree, keep the important things first, I’m fortunate that with all of my kids in school now, I can do a lot of “extra” stuff while they are gone. They also helped me make the fabric banner, so I like to include them when I can, too! I enjoy the special touches when others do that, too.

  11. We all have our own gifts. Yours is decorating and using color beautifully. While someone else did food and someone else did the lessons. I was so appreciative of our women’s conference. It was a beautiful (spiritual and decorated) experience. I rarely go to these events and I love that you made it a retreat. A place where women could come and breath and enjoy the company. Ask what great ideas for when you need to decorate for a wedding because sometimes it can be hard to do. And I’m sure you are using some of the items in your home so it made the room look more cozy like a home.

  12. Once I read your newsletter (so great btw!) I realized that I missed this post somehow! I am extra sad that I missed the conference. I absolutely love how you made over the room completely! As women we typically put others first…our husbands, kids, family and friends. And if you are a working woman, that’s a whole other level! I really appreciate it when others go above and beyond when putting on events for other women. We deserve to be pampered and to indulge a bit. There are plenty of other moments in our lives to simplify and to serve others and we should always seek those opportunities out. Your room is fabulous and I love seeing all of the love and effort you (and others) put into it!