Office Nook Makeover: The Plan

my office nook, in all its messy glory
my office nook, in all its messy glory

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2013 was to redo my office. Because . . . well, look at it.

It’s not an office, not really. It’s a 5 x 10 foot section of my bedroom. But it’s the closest thing I have to a room of my own, and I’m grateful for it. It’s also in horrible need of a makeover.

It does have some major things going for it. Good light, for one. Great light, actually. And a fantastic drafting table that my friend and fellow blogger Meredith Phillips bequeathed to me one day, long ago, when we were neighbors living behind the Sweetish Hill Bakery on 6th Street.

But obviously, there are issues. First, there’s the issue of storage and workspace. I’m an idea person, and I always have several projects running at the same time. If I don’t have space to work on these projects and a spot to store each of them, then the chaos just accumulates.

Office Nook Before 1

Second, there’s the issue of layout. The current furniture placement does not make the most of the nice, large window encompassing most of my office’s one real wall.

I’ve known about these issues for a long time, but where was the budget going to come from? That’s right, nowhere. So nothing happened. Until, that is, my old friend Bulk Trash Pick Up Day brought me a little inspiration.

Now, let me just say here that IF you are a design-oriented person and IF you find yourself on a very limited budget, well then, let me tell you that Bulk Trash Pick Up Day is your new BFF. You might think that you are somehow above getting out of your car at 8:00 am—after taking the kids to school in your sweats & T-shirt, with your unwashed face and ugly shoes, while all your swanky neighbors are driving to work—and dragging furniture down the street, but I am here to tell you that you are not.

So, back to the story. One of my neighbors (so generous of them) was getting rid of a loooong tabletop and a few sawhorses.

Another (even kinder) neighbor was ditching a gorgeous (but unupholstered) rounded back chair.

For a while I thought of these as separate projects, the table (for my entryway?) and the chair (for anywhere, you can always use an extra chair). I actually contemplated painting those rickety sawhorses black or something (as if they would ever pass my husband’s termite-risk check), but I eventually kicked them to the curb for some other neighbor to score.

But then the clouds parted and the rays of light shone through and I heard the exalted words: THOU SHALT REDO THY OFFICE. Hallelujah.

So here’s the plan.

Step 1: Turn the tabletop into a long desk (using cheap but great IKEA trestle legs).

Step 2: Upholster the chair and use with the desk.

Step 3: Restructure the layout of the nook to take advantage of symmetry: ground the space with the desk under the window, and place new glass and steel shelves on the left of my desk and my current drafting table and cabinet on the right.

Whew! That’s a lot.

Later, after I fell in love with this cheerful yellow and white chevron print fabric, I added a daring Step 4.

Yellow Chevron Fabric

Step 4: Make and hang curtains (in the same fabric as the chair upholstery) to further accentuate the symmetry and make the window appear larger.

Normally I would consider curtains way beyond my skill level, but all that yellow gave me confidence. What are curtains but a couple of seams anyway? (We’ll see, won’t we??)

Office Nook Sketch
my new office nook (in sketch form)

So here we go. I’ve never reupholstered a chair, never sewn curtains, had limited success assembling IKEA furniture, but I’m in. What do you think? Can I do it?

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the progress!

© Amy Daniewicz

5 thoughts on “Office Nook Makeover: The Plan”

  1. I love your new office space, and want to thank you for writing out the thought process of coming up with The Plan. It has inspired me to work on a troubled space in my house. Here goes!

  2. Look what you have done!! Good job! I am in the process of redoing my house where I raised my kids. I have lived in the house 35 years and trying to make it a “single lady’s” home instead of a “family’s home”. Good luck on your future endevor!

    1. That’s great, Paula! What a bittersweet experience that must be. Best of luck to you! I’m sure there will be many unexpected joys that come from the process. :) Amy

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