Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Great Office Makeover

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been dedicating myself to self-improvement and also home and organizing improvement the last few months.  I was tired of living in a space that was uninspiring and surrounded by things I didn’t love or were not useful.  We had an epiphany of sorts in April when we went to see some new construction houses near our house.  We liked the houses but it wasn’t like our house was crappy compared to those new houses.  We really love the layout and “bones” of our house.  Plus those new construction houses cost about $300k more than our house.  That’s a lot to take on financially when we only have nine years of mortgage payments left.  So instead of buying a new house, we decided to use some of our savings to spruce up our own house!  We like our neighborhood and neighbors, so why not just upgrade our favorite spaces and things we use, and stay here! 

One of the spaces in our house that was uninspiring was our office.  Our home office is actually a bedroom downstairs. (The other three bedrooms are upstairs.)  It is next to the family room.  It is north-facing, so it does not get a lot of light, especially in the winter.  We had painted it gray when we moved in years ago.  After a while, we realized the gray color didn’t do the room any favors when it came to lighting.  We decided to paint it white.  In order to paint, we would have to move our furniture out of the office.  So I decided we should go big or go home and just completely makeover the office.

Before we did anything, Todd & I drew out our room to scale onto graph paper and cut out our furniture to scale.  We moved everything around on paper a lot.

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But finally picked this configuration.  We wanted our desks against the walls so that the room will seem spacious and open.

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Picking the perfect white paint was quite difficult.  We got swatches and taped them onto all four walls to see the how the colors looked in different lighting during different times of the day. 

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We narrowed it down to two white colors and then got samples and painted spots onto the wall.  We finally picked Benjamin Moore Simply White in eggshell finish.  It is a soft white that looked good in any lighting in our office.

We didn’t take any proper “before” photos and only thought to take photos when we were starting to pack our stuff up. 

Here’s basically what the room looked like before, but not always this messy, LOL.  I had shelves and file cabinet in the recessed space where the closet is.  (We took the doors off.)  Our desks faced each other.  The room looked cramped and small.

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Todd’s side of the room.

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The corner by the door.  It housed our two tall filing cabinets, plus junk on top.

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After packing and moving all the furniture out, this was what it looked like.

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This was the recessed closet space.

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The corner with the filing cabinets.

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Todd’s side.

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All our furniture and packed up things went into the living room.

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We both painted the room.  Todd mostly taped and used the paint brush for edges and corners, while I did the rolling.


The next two photos, you can really tell the difference the white paint is going to make in the room to make it look lighter and brighter.

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After two coats of white paint.

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After letting the paint dry for a couple of days, we started moving back in.  First in were our desks.  They went according to plan and they fit perfectly into the space!  My desk is lower than Todd’s because I’m shorter.  (We have the Galant desk from IKEA.  They are height-adjustable.  Unfortunately these particular models are no longer for sale.)

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Now for all the “after” photos!   We also had all 22 of our windows replaced with new windows in the meantime between May and now, so now we have a white double-pane low e3 window in the office, completing the transformation.  We will probably install some blinds at some point, but we like just the window for now.  This windows faces our fence so nobody can look in anyways.

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My side of the room.  I kept the right side of my desk totally clean so that I can craft there should I choose to do so, rather than go upstairs to the craft room.

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I may add some shelving or art work on the wall above my desk.

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I also bought a new monitor.  It is an ultrawide monitor.  I don’t like the look of double monitors, but I do a lot of work with two windows open side-by-side, so the extra-wide monitor totally works with how I work.  It’s very pretty!

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I can see so much more photos in Lightroom, ha ha!

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We were able to purge and consolidate our files into just one filing cabinet.  I may try to paint it someday, but it’s just the beige original color for now.  My photo printer sits on top of it.  I have some crafting supplies in my IKEA Raskog cart in the corner.

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I designed the configuration of these IKEA Besta units so that most of the selving are closed instead of open.  I wanted doors and drawers in the shelves.

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I realized that the reason why our old office looked so messy was because of all the open shelving.  There’s just no way to make office supplies, printer paper, and photo papers look neat on open shelving.  So now these are behind closed doors.

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The drawers hold other non-neat stuff such as cords, chargers, gadgets, etc.  This was also on open shelving before and everything just looked messy, even when they were organized.

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We installed a TV above the door so we can have the option of watching TV or have TV on the background when doing things in our office.

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We’ve also utlized the ledge in my corner of the office to put big storage boxes up there.  I had purged a bunch of files, so some of the boxes are empty for now. 

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Here’s a look at Todd’s side of the office.

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Notice anything on the floating shelves?

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Todd also has his music workstation on his side of the office.

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Here’s a quick look at before and after again.

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Now our office is a neat and more inspiring place to hang out in.  After purging and getting some new furniture, everything has its place.  It’s a space I look forward to spending time in, rather than dread.

I’ll be re-organizing my craft room next.  And I’ll blog about our new windows sometime in the near future.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at our office makeover!


  1. So inspiring! Yay for fresh new digs!

  2. love all the stuff you're doing in your house! I am slooooowly doing the same and have no idea when it'll get done. So it's always nice looking at other ppl's progression and completion!

  3. Wow what a difference. I've lived in my house for almost 30 years. It looks very different than when I first moved in. I kind of feel like we live in a different house. Good job on the makeover.

  4. Christine, your office looks great! It looks like you really made it functional for yourselves!

    1. P.S. I am envious of your huge wide-screen monitor!


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