I have been busy gathering items to display in the built-in bookcases we recently installed in our home office. I really wanted to have a couple decorative boxes on the shelves in order to be able to store some small items in a pretty way.

There are some gorgeous decorative boxes out there, but I am big fan of Z Gallerie’s Ming boxes because I love the geometric emblem on the front as it really glams up the look in a modern minimal way. They also come in an aqua color that would match my office.


But, of course, these boxes sell for $59.95. I’m really trying to limit how much I spend on all of the decor for the bookcases since these decorative items are the types of things that are easy to save money on. So $60 was over my desired budget.

I figured I might be able to make something similar to the Ming boxes myself for much less, with emphasis on the word “similar”. The boxes I ended up making are not Ming box knock-offs, but rather they are inspired by the Ming box.

Personally, I think finding a piece of decor you love and using it as inspiration to make your own unique item is a great way to create affordable custom interior design in your home. Knock-offs are nice, but it’s hard to achieve the exact same look and quality as the item you’re trying to copy.

I’ve also learned that simply using something you love as inspiration can allow you to create a product that works better for you than the original item you were shooting for. My “Ming-box-inspired” decorative boxes are a better size and color for my office than the original Ming boxes would have been, and they are also made out of more durable materials.

the very easy process

I picked up two of these wooden boxes from Michael’s.


They are somewhat smaller than Z Gallerie’s Ming boxes, but that actually works better for me since they will look better at this size stacked on top of some books, which is my plan for them.

I removed the metal latches on the front and filled in the area with wood filler and sanded it down.


I primed them using a sponge brush.


I painted them with two coats of HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Ovation high gloss enamel in the Tidewater color. I considered using acrylic paint, but I figured the Sherwin Williams enamel might be more durable, plus I could get any color I wanted custom mixed allowing me to get the exact shade of aqua that I wanted. I preferred a softer lighter color than Z Gallerie’s Ming boxes.


I wanted to add a decorative emblem just like the one the Ming boxes had, but I couldn’t find anything close to that same pattern. So instead, I purchased these dresser pulls from Etsy.


I could attach one to the front of each box as a little handle to use to open it, and the pull would also “dress up” the box with a simple geometric shape.

I drilled holes along the front of each box and then installed the pulls, and voila! I had myself two decorative boxes.



The overall cost for these was around $20, or $10 per box (I used a couple coupons for Michael’s and Lowe’s). Much better than $60! And I think they’ll look great in my new built-in bookcases.


  1. Avatar Denise

    I like the boxes you created.
    I too, think that the Zgallerie boxes were too pricey. I found those same boxes at Century 21 in New York for much less, and I had them shipped to my house.

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