When we first moved in, the awkward nursery-come-office-come-storage room was a bit of a dumping ground. Decorating this spare room was quite low on our list of priorities (after all, we didn’t even have a working bathroom!), but I couldn’t wait until the rest of the house was finished so that I could finally tackle this room and make it my own little work space!
It can take me between one and a half and two hours to get to work, and around two hours to get home every evening, wasting between 15 and 20 hours every single week on my commute, which quite frankly drives me BANANAS. So I couldn’t wait until the builders were finally out and I had a little room of my own so I could start working from home.
Working from home can be a wonderful thing (a better work-life balance and no commute, to start!), so it’s important to create a desk space that is separate from the other living areas, has little distractions, and is ultimately a place where you will enjoy spending time in, and feel inspired.
This is the room I had to play with:
Except during the building work, this is what it became:
My dad kindly sent us a beautiful marble sideboard which fit perfectly, but of course it became lost under piles of mess!
I started making mood boards (spending my evenings playing around on MS Power Point, I’m such a dork) and really loved the idea of a clear desk and chair to help create the illusion of space and stop the room looking too cluttered – especially as it’s quite a small room!
I found a fabulous glass ‘ghost’ chair (just £79 from Cult Furniture – I was also tempted by their clear dining chairs!) and a glass desk from Furniture Market (we found similar from Dwell but they were a bit more expensive). I also found a fabulous clear globe pendant light from West Elm!
I also knew I wanted to build a gallery wall, so started collecting pictures from Surface View, Desenio, Etsy and Junique, and gold frames from Desenio (I bought some black frames from IKEA too but they all fell apart and I wouldn’t recommend them).
Choosing the paint colour was the most difficult part! I knew I wanted a soft and subtle grey-ish off-white with warm undertones, but spent weeks trying to find the right shade (and most paint shops looked at me like I was speaking in a foreign language). Eventually I found it with a little help from Farrow & Ball! The colour is called ‘Wevet’ and I absolutely love it. So much, in fact, that I decided to paint my dad’s marble sideboard with it too!
Next, I started to configure my gallery wall layout on the bedroom floor… It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and was a lot harder than I thought! In the end a few of my pictures were too big and went back upstairs into the attic and I ended up incorporating a few framed Tatler stories of my previous parties instead, as well as one of my hand-painted party invitations as they were the right sort of size and shape to fit in the puzzle.
Finally we hung up the gallery wall and the new pendant light, and moved the new desk and chair into the room!
One of the frames still needs a picture, but it was the perfect size to fit the puzzle.
Some stunning life-like pink peonies from QVC added a burst of pink and greenery into the room, and helped to tie the whole room together. They were the icing on the cake!
Here are a few things I learned about building the home office / study of your dreams…
1. Find the perfect spot
You can set up a desk space anywhere in the home – but it’s important to pick a spot (or room, if you’re lucky) that is unused for anything else – this could be by sectioning off a small area of an existing room, or finding a cosy nook on the landing or under the stairs.
It’s true what they say – a clear desk is a clear mind! To de-clutter your work space, make sure that there is a place for everything. In our enormous sideboard (thanks, dad!) we have space for everything – including a wrapping paper shelf and a ribbon drawer!
You could also use pots and trays on your desk to organise all your pens and notebooks, or you could invest in some lovely office storage or bookcase. Even a shelf or two can go a long way. Adding a shelf above your desk will gain you more storage and hopefully help you reduce desktop clutter!
Open shelving and bookcases are great for organising and displaying your items, but are perhaps not ideal for your bits and bobs which may look messy out in the open.
If you’re setting up your work space for the first time (or are going for a whole re-design), don’t underestimate how many sockets you’ll need for your computer, laptop, lamps and things – if your desk is situated on the other side of the room from the sockets, all the wires could make a room look messy and disorganised.
If you’re going to be spending the best part of your day in this room, don’t neglect it as a space to decorate – there’s no reason a home office can’t have sculptures, arworks, rugs, scatter cushions and vases.
Displaying a few inspiring prints, quotes, photography or art along with a few personal touches such as family photographs can entirely change the look and feel of your home office.
To avoid your home office looking dull, dreary and corporate – don’t be shy to give it some splashes of colour!
Plants make people happier. FACT. A vase of fresh flowers (or colourful and convincing faux ones like my pink peonies from QVC) and potted plants are known to reduce stress levels and increase productivity – and of course, they just look nice and will brighten your desk space.
There are plenty of low-maintanance potted plants like cacti, succulents, palms, aloe vera and ivy which work perfectly on shelves and in bookcases.
It’s important to find a light and bright spot with plenty of fresh air to help keep you feeling alert. Therefore having your desk near a window is ideal, as you’ll find it harder to concentrate in warmer, stuffier rooms.
Even with great natural light, you’ll still need additional lighting for the darker hours of the day – especially in winter time when it gets dark in the afternoons.
Thanks so much for reading!