24 September 2009

Office Space

Sometimes I sit in our house, pretend that I own it, and imagine all of the amazing renovations I would do if I did. Knock out some walls here, extend the kitchen here and here, refinish the floors, paint the exterior, plant hydrangeas and gardenias all over the place, move the entire house about 6 streets up, etc. But because we rent our house, I'm not in a position where I can pursue any of that, and when I find myself unhappy with the look of a room, there's not a whole lot that I can do. Usually I paint, which is a quick way to make a dramatic difference.

But one room would have none of that. Meet our office. Our ugly ugly office. Wood walls, wood floors, wood shelves, wood desks, and junk throughout. It was, by a mile, the ugliest and least comfortable room in our house. It looked like it belonged on the set of The Wonder Years.

I forgot to take specific before and after pictures, probably because I was so disgusted with the office in its before stage. But I did manage to dig up a few.

Note the way the office seems to be a magnet for all junk in the house. Note the small window which is the only source of natural light in the room. Note the wood on wood on wood look.

See all of the junk in the back corner? See the dilapidated bookshelf? Gross. Just disgusting. Oh, and pay attention to the desk to the right in the above picture. Below, "Oh, what a great place for garbage! To the office it goes!"

And one day (probably as a result of a horomone-induced rage), I decided that I HATED IT. I couldn't even sit in the office without getting angry and wanting to scream. So I brainstormed and then called Matt's mom, HGTV addict and Super Woman of home decor. She gave me some ideas, and I had a few ideas on my very own, and $104 later, this is what I had.

(I would have actually removed the ironing board and wedding gift from the left, but I needed to iron, and the gift is there to remind me to wrap it. Don't judge. Just pretend it's an IKEA catalog, all lived in and such.)

Above: painted IKEA stool, painted desk, hung paper lantern. And, of course, made a Mitch pillow.

Below: covered cork board with fun fabric, hung new floating shelf.

Above: painted wacky chair, lined inside of desk (this desk used to be black metal with a fake wood top) with remaining fabric, painted trash can.

Below: bought and painted wicker basket to use as a place for mail.

Above: purchased longer curtain rod that would extend an extra foot on either side of the window to create the illusion of a larger window. Hard to see in this picture, but it actually worked.

Above and below: awesome cube shelf from Target.

Below: painted large bookshelf white, reorganized it. Look how I can watch two TVs at once! I know you're jealous.

Ah, Sharpies. How I love you, Sharpies.

And what office is complete without a dog under the desk keeping cool and hiding from his football-watching dad? Oh, also note the new floating shelf and floating cube shelves painted white.
The office is now a much brighter, much more cohesive room. I eliminated the junk, made a nice spot to sit and talk on the phone or read. I'm actually happy when I come in here now.

I gave myself a budget of $100 to redo the office. Here's a breakdown of the cost:
  • Curtain rod, $4

  • Large cube shelf, $40

  • Baskets for cube shelf, $16

  • Spray paint, $18

  • Starburst fabric, $7

  • Fabric for Mitch pillow, $4

  • Hanging shelves, $5

  • Fake strawberries (why did I buy these?), $2

  • Basket [for mail], $5

  • Trash can, $3

Grand total, $104. That makes me very happy. Now if only I could figure out how to knock out walls without the landlord noticing. . .


  1. "how to knock out walls without the landlord noticing"

    Well, you either need a scheme involving much zaniness and possibly a wacky neighbor OR holograms.

    P.S. Zaniness or Zanyness?

  2. AMAZING!! Inspirational and absolutely blogtastic.

  3. Steve: you were right the first time. According to Webster, it's zaniness. Do you think the landlord would be mad if I knocked out a couple of walls?

    Caitie: thanks! Hey, did you get your leash? How is the dog search coming?



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