Crossing off those looming to-dos is a lot harder when your work space leaves motivation to be desired. Happily, you can turn your desk area into thoughtfully designed square footage worth showing off in just a few key steps. Blogger and stylist Carrie Waller is here to share how she managed to transform her own dated home office into a practical and pretty pink office.
As a work-from-home writer and DIY blogger, my office is my sanctuary. It's where I come to write, craft, dream up new projects, and connect with my peers and editors from around the country, so it needs to be a highly functional space that sports a fair amount of style, too. What started as a yellow spare bedroom with lots of dated finishes has since been transformed into a Pantone Rose Quartz-inspired office that I don't mind spending a bit of overtime in. Read on to learn my tricks so you can design a dream desk space of your own!
First things first: Choose your furniture and accents. To help make this process a little easier since I'm a visual person, I opened up a blank Photoshop document (a blank Word document would work, too!) and began culling the Web for the perfect office furniture. Almost immediately, I noticed myself being drawn toward soft shades of pink and diluted grays, with bright white thrown in for good measure. I added my favorite pieces one by one to my digital mood board, switching things in and out until the items felt organic and collected, and only then did I place my final orders.
With the furniture splurge behind me, it was time to think thrifty. I took a trip down to our local antiques mall, where I picked up a few secondhand odds and ends to round out the space. I snagged a fun, retro pink filing cabinet for my paperwork, a brass vinyl albums holder to corral notes and to-do lists, and a vintage spool stand to organize my collection of bakers twine and washi tape. Nothing cost more than $20, so I was able to shop guilt-free without fearing that I was blowing my budget.
Since my office is in a back corner of our home, it only gets good natural light in the evenings, just as I'm wrapping up work for the day. So I had to be thoughtful about my choices for window coverings and artificial lighting. In anticipation of the daytime when sunlight is scarce, I installed a white ceiling fan with a built-in light so that I could switch the bulb on as needed. The room itself is pretty small, so choosing a fixture that matched the color of my ceiling allowed it to visually disappear and give the illusion of a larger space overall. I also incorporated a tabletop and floor lamp to supplement the overhead lighting on truly dreary days. To make the most of the brighter, late afternoon hours, I hung white linen curtain panels on the two windows in the space. These allow lots of light to filter into the room without adding any more visual weight than necessary.
Of course, my office was always meant to be designed as a place where I could put my head down and get work done, but I also needed it to feel cozy and comfortable. Adding that extra layer of comfort really came down to textures -- a soft pastel leather ottoman to keep underfoot, throw pillows to layer on my desk chair, and a flat-weave rug that protected the hardwood floors but allowed my rolling chair to move around with ease. By keeping all of these textiles in my rose-and-gray palette, they integrated seamlessly into the space.
Not wanting to distract too much from the furniture and accessories in the room, I kept the wall art minimal. I started by accenting the poster-size wall calendar I framed above my corner desk with a whimsical felt ball banner, which gave the largely utilitarian piece a bit of character and panache. And for the opposite wall, I hung a collection of press clippings in matching white frames to make the grouping feel intentional. All the art in the room serves a purpose, but by framing them in matching white and adding just a hint of color, the galleries feel fun, too.
Since we live in a 1960s-era house, storage space is tight. I don't have the luxury of tucking all of my crafts supplies and office equipment away in the too-tiny closet, so instead I had to think long and hard about the pieces of furniture I arranged into my office. The items needed to be utilitarian, but they also needed to add a sense of style to the space. A contemporary, two-tone bookshelf was chosen to keep my tools and fabric tucked away behind closed doors, whereas an unexpected blue rolling cart keeps my styling accessories out and in the open, ready to be grabbed as a moment's notice. A natural woven basket looks pretty tucked off to the side but also keeps my large collection of wallpaper looking sleek. It all comes down to finding that perfect balance between functional and pretty, plus sticking to a specific color scheme that you love. With these concepts in mind, it's easy to pull together the office of your dreams. Now that you've learned how to design your own space, be sure to click over to Glitter Guide where I'm sharing a breakdown of how I built my organization system from the ground up!