Imani on Keeping DIY Real

by | Nov 14, 2023

Imani At Home is a home and lifestyle content creator based in Washington, D.C. She shares DIYs and renter-friendly hacks with her community, lovingly dubbed the “Sugar Plums”. Her purpose in life is to inspire and encourage millennial women to seek a perfectly imperfect life and apartment. Her studio apartment has been featured in and Domino.

[What keeps me going is] The knowledge that everyone else is struggling with something too. I like to share my DIY fails because that’s real life.

How did you get your start with home decor content?

I started Imani At Home in June 2020 during the pandemic because I had claustrophobia and the isolation of the Covid-19 lockdown was starting to mess with my anxiety. After several conversations with my friend Danielle, we came up with the name Imani At Home and I started an Instagram account the next day. 

I’ve always had good taste and I love decorating, but I think my real strength is that I have the audacity to try anything in my home and document the ups and downs for the world to see.

What does a typical day in your week look like?

Mondays are the most traditional days, after Monday things tend to get wonky. But, on Mondays I focus on administrative tasks like clearing my inbox, updating links, responding to interview/event requests and sending out analytics for brand partnerships. If I have meetings, I like to take them on Mondays, so the rest of my week is clear to do DIY projects and film content. I usually write my newsletters, What’s New At Home, that come out Tuesday mornings and blog posts on Mondays, as well. 

The rest of the week is usually a crazy mix of DIY-ing, shopping for projects and working on the launch of my YouTube channel. I keep very late hours because I do my best work between 10 PM – 2 AM, so I tend to wake up later in the day around 8AM / 9AM.

What are your three favorite home decor tools?

Laser Level, 2” Angle Shortie Paint Brush, Dewalt Drill

What are your top three tips to make any space feel like home?

One – Take your time.

Two – If you love it, buy it. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t “match” with everything else, you should fill your home with things that really represent you.

Three – It’s okay to spend money and invest in your space, even in a rental. If you like a chair but it’s $500, don’t deny yourself because you’re renting. Realize that you can always take it with you no matter where you go.

Tell us about the biggest failure you’ve had – what was the big takeaway?

Hard question because I feel like everyday I’m failing at something, lol. But, I think my greatest failure since starting my career as a creator is that in the early days, I would take any brand deal and not negotiate for myself. I would review contracts, but wouldn’t push back against things I did not like. I ended up doing a lot of work for free and giving away my rights without being compensated. 

I also waited far too long to hire an accountant. I like to think I’m good with budgeting and planning for the future, but after having a professional accountant for a few months, I realized how unequipped I was to handle my own finances.

Tell us about this collection – what was the inspiration behind these patterns?

Over martinis at Reveler’s Hour, I doodled arrows based on a postcard from a recent dinner at Pineapple and Pearls and the orbs were based on this $1,000 wall hanging from The Citizenry. Since I’m not much of an artist, I relied on the technical ability of Otto Studio’s creative director to take these inspirational images and translate what I see in my head into real life.

I wanted this collection to be textured and structural, but also very fun. My style is neutral maximalist, so I wanted to keep the colors muted, but cool. I love greens, pinks, blacks and gold.

What inspires you on a day-to-day?

Literally everything. I picked the color of my bedroom based on a painted drain and brick that I saw while walking my dogs.

What’s your advice for someone considering DIY wallpaper?

If you can, get a friend who you have a really, really, really, good relationship with because installing wallpaper, especially an intricate pattern, can be a little stressful.

Also, understand that most wall surfaces are slanted in one way or another, so use a laser level to make horizontal and vertical lines along the area you’re covering to use as a guide as you move around the room. I used this trick when using the Fulawa pattern in my 30 ft hallway and it made such a big difference.

What are some underrated ways people can use wallpaper? Where does your creativity take you?

I love an accent wall, believe me, but the greatest thing about wallpaper is the ability to go balls to the wall with a funky pattern. Don’t just put it on one wall, put it on all the walls and the ceiling too. You can also use 2-3 panels in the center of a wall and build a frame around it. This is a great way to do a large-scale art piece on a smaller budget.

What would your advice be to your younger self, knowing what you know now about your career and journey? And to anyone else who is starting out as a creative?

Brands always have more money than what they say. Hold out, request more, and turn down jobs that don’t align with your goals.

Shop the Imani at Home Collection