How to Update a Home Office with Paint

Stenciled metal tool caddy
Refresh your work zone with paint. A home office update is an easy, do-it-yourself way to inspire initiative, invite organization, and revive your space on a budget.

Bright, Project-Packed Office

We gave an otherwise ordinary home office a sunny disposition with a lively color palette sure to keep anyone alert and focused while plugging away at paperwork or pecking at the keyboard. To start, we dressed the walls with paintable wallpaper, then applied a fresh yellow shade.

DIY Desk

Flaunting an electric blue hue, the DIY desk continues the color explosion, as do trimmings and textiles. And we love that color makeovers like this don't bust the budget or consume an entire weekend.

After constructing our desk work surface from medium density fiberboard (MDF), we turned to metal sawhorses for the legs. To maximize the storage power of these metal marvels, we added shelves near the bottom.

When painting the sawhorses and other metal objects, we started with a coat of rust-inhibiting primer. For the top coat, a glossy sheen of blue did the trick. Why do we love metal? For starters, it's smooth and durable. Plus, many metal surfaces such as iron and galvanized steel attract magnets--perfect for an office where posting memos is a must for staying on task.

DIY Tip: Carry a magnet with you so you can test an item's magnetic properties. Aluminum, chrome, and copper, for instance, are not magnetic.

Helpful Hint

To fashion this generous work surface, we sandwiched four modular drawers from a closet storage system between two pieces of MDF. The 1x4-inch side supports help distribute the weight of the MDF so it doesn't compress onto the drawers and keep them from opening.

Lamp Makeover

To highlight delicate decorative details in the base of this vintage metal lamp, we turned to a medium-tip paint marker. Available in various colors and tip sizes, these markers are essential to success on small paint projects.

Paintable Wallpaper

For interesting texture and pattern on the walls, we chose two paintable wallpapers and a blue striped grosgrain ribbon, which we secured with hot glue to cover the seam. The herringbone pattern above the ribbon is painted a shade slightly lighter than the yellow used on the leaf-pattern paper below it.

DIY Tip: We scored this metal tray for $2 at a thrift store. Coat with paint just like the desk, and use it as a vibrant magnetic memo board.

Bookish Shelf

To construct the floating shelf, we rescued discarded books, covered them with pretty paper, and suspended them from a shelf bracket from Umbra specially designed for this purpose.

Stenciled Slipcover

Because our garage sale chair was homely, we concealed its flaws with a purchased parsons chair slipcover that we couldn't help but embellish a bit. From a yard of yellow floral fabric left over after making the window treatment, we fashioned a seat cushion, simple band to trim the bottom of the slipcover, and a flower where the ties meet in back. As a final touch, we painted a fancy monogram on the back.

Metal Caddy Makeover

We updated this utilitarian metal tool caddy with a fresh color combo and a stencil.

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