Home Office Challenge

I was talking to some people the other day and one mentioned that she was having trouble feeling motivated in her home office.  She hated the layout and flow, her desk space was too small, hated the wall color as they’re just plain white, and her darling apartment came with a built-in old-fashioned hutch that clashes with her modern aesthetic.  She also has a small budget for making this a better place to come to on a daily basis.  These are all definitely design challenges, but ones that with some creativity and perhaps more than a little elbow grease can be overcome! 

Current look

Now, before I proceed with the suggestions I want to add a little disclaimer:  I didn’t actually visit the space- I’m basing my suggestions on what I see in the pictures she sent me.  Not the best way to do what I do, but it’s a place to start.  So here we go!

Current look

  1. Paint the room in a cooler color (blue or green based) You tend to focus more on what your tasks are in a cooler colored room
  2. Regarding the layout and flow- I would move the desk from where it is right now and put it to the left of the window with the black curtains-  (more about the curtains later).  If the desk is too small, think of places like Ikea for an inexpensive one that is larger.
    Light wood desk with drawer and file pedestal on the left and waterfall side on the right

    Ikea desk

      Yes, you have to schlep it home and put it together but remember I said “maybe more than a litle elbow grease”?

  3. Install some shelves above the desk for your catalogs, or store them in the upper shelf of the hutch. Again, Ikea or the Container Store are good sources.
  4. Move the tables that are by the window with the black curtains and put a file cabinet on the wall on the left of the window with the air conditioner.  You might be able to use that for the printer- yes, I know,- the whole cord thing.  Places like the Container Store have things that allow you to keep cords along the baseboards and somewhat out of sight.
  5. Invest in an inexpensive shelving/drawer unit from the Container Store or Ikea and put it where you currently have the clothes rack.  You can combine all the things that need to be in drawers in one place, and perhaps fold up the shirts and stuff and put it on the shelves.  I’m putting in a picture of how I solved this for my own home office. 
    off white wall with white attached shelving and books with white mesh metal drawers underneath

    My office solution

  6. I would change the window treatments to some inexpensive cellular shades- you can find these in a couple of different places for not a lot of money.  Try home improvement stores as they’ll usually have something that’s decent for a fairly small price.  Mount them inside the window trim as opposed to outside.  This way you’ll have some cohesiveness on the windows and can adjust the amount of light and view that you have as well as stay out of the way of the air conditioner. 
  7. If the budget and landlord allow- paint the hutch to match your trim- some sort of off white (Benjamin Moore’s Linen White  or White Dove are good trim colors) and use a semi-gloss.  Again, this may require a good bit of elbow grease but if you do it correctly it can be really nice and not so old-fashioned looking.  Get some new drawer hardware also.  Usually you can find that at hardware stores for very little money.  

I hope that advice will be helpful!  Sometimes just being able to see a room with “fresh eyes” helps and if your budget is small, consider what the biggest problem is and start there.  Once you have a plan you can work it as the budget allows.  Here’s to happy working!  🙂

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