Step by step office makeover at

Since we moved into The Essex Barn one year ago we’ve completed lots of projects as part of making this house our own perfect home. From stripping out the mezzanine and repurposing it into a dining table that seats our whole family to finding the perfect chairs for the parlour, recycling old shelves into bookshelves for the kids’ bedrooms, breathing new life into our old oak frames and building an arch that literally saved our heads, it’s been a busy year! And I haven’t even written yet about our new front door, parlour and boot room transformations yet *phew*.

But there has been one room that I’ve been itching to makeover – my home office. Easily one of the smallest rooms at The Barn, it is probably the one I spend the most time in as I work from home on my life coaching business, Michelle Reeves Coaching and my free personal development Facebook and email community for women The Sparkle Mama Manifesto.

So when Wayfair, one of my go-to sites for home accessories and inspiration, got in touch and asked if I’d like to work with them on a makeover project I knew exactly which room to get planning!

Office makeover post The Essex Barn

Here’s a quick look at the BEFORE *hides eyes* so you can see what I had to work with. It’s a long slim room with a window roughly in the middle of one wall, beautiful oak beams and a VERY sloping floor.

Home office makeover with Wayfair - BEFORE

My vision for this home office makeover was a beautiful, practical space that I loved to sit and work in. I knew from the get-go that I wanted the colour theme to be black and white with red accents. I also knew that in order for it to be practical I would need lots of storage to house all the clutter that has crept into the office over the past year – it had become a bit of a dumping ground, to be honest.

Clear the clutter

The first thing that I needed to do was clear away the clutter so that I could actually see the space. Once the room was almost empty it was much easier to visualise the new room and decide what to put where. I decided to have a bank of storage at one end, keep the desk in front of the window for light (and a great view of the garden) and keep one wall completely clear to make the room seem wider.


For storage, I chose the simple white square Kallax shelf units from IKEA which were great value at £30 each. I put two at one end of the room and one next to my desk at the other end to maximise both the storage and flat space areas for accessories.

Ikea storage for a home office makeover at

Elegant home office storage

I also had an old filing cabinet in shares of brown and cream which didn’t fit the new colour scheme at all. It is a great way to store files and paperwork though and I was loathed to lose it. So in keeping with our mantra of repurposing here at The Barn I decided to paint it with Annie Sloane chalk paint in Paris Grey. Two coats covered the metal completely and I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.

Filing cabinet makeover at

A great desk

Of course, no office is complete without a great desk and while I loved my vintage wooden captain’s desk it didn’t fit the new more modern theme and, if I’m honest, it really was a bit of a wreck with nails sticking out which snagged my clothes (yup I really should have changed it sooner!).

I found my perfect desk at It’s glass topped, with a huge area to spread out on, clean lines and three useful drawers to keep all my knick-knacks to hand. I love it! (You can find it here.)

It was delivered flat-packed and we did struggle a bit putting it together but got there in the end with a bit of help from our toddler Sebastian!

Building our new Wayfair desk at

In the end, it was all worthwhile though because my new desk is just perfect.

The Wayfair desk at - office makeover


Once the shelf units and desk were in place the fun could begin. I love accessorising a room and had a ball picking out lamps, boxes, files, cushions, frames and more to make the space the perfect home office for me with lots of practicality but the right amount of glamour too!

I chose black Drona boxes and Tjena boxes from Ikea which fit the square shelves of the Kallax perfectly, black files for all our paperwork, a black standard lamp with a white shade and the Bosnas black storage box that doubles as a stool also from IKEA plus cushions from Wayfair and Sainsburys.

Accessories for a Home Office Makeover at

Office Makeover at

Home office accessories at

There are a few extra pieces I’d like to add – a rug for the floor, a mirror to create the illusion of a wider space and a chair to read in – but I already LOVE my new home office and crave rather than cringe over the time I spend at my desk these days!

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  1. Jenny April 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Oh Michelle, this looks absolutely amazing. Love a good makeover and it’s so organized. The color theme is right up my street. Beautiful desk choice too!

  2. Amanda October 5, 2016 at 10:07 am Reply

    I’m just rejigging my home office, and spotted this when I was looking for inspiration. Love it!

  3. JuggleMum, Nadine Hill June 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm Reply

    Looks like a beautiful transformation! It’s so important to love where you work!

  4. Honest Mum May 27, 2016 at 8:56 am Reply

    It all looks so chic and beautiful. Love the clean lines and your mug is awesome-loved this x

  5. Fiona Cambouropoulos May 9, 2016 at 9:39 pm Reply

    I do love a good makeover, this is beautiful #SharetheJoy

  6. mummyofboygirltwins May 9, 2016 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Amazing and such a great job! I adore my own home office and so this is right up my street! Love how stylish it is, but very practical too. Thanks for linking up and sharing, love jess xx


    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) May 9, 2016 at 1:17 pm Reply

      Thanks Jess! It was a long time coming but I completely love the space now. It makes such a difference when you love your workspace doesn’t it x

  7. Ana May 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm Reply

    Everything looks beautiful -light and airy. Of course, it is all because of the help you got from Sebastian. He is sooo sweet! 🙂

  8. Amanda May 9, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply

    It looks wonderful – what a transformation! I can imagine it is a real joy to step into your home office to do some work now 🙂 #sharethejoy

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) May 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm Reply

      Thanks Amanda! And yes you’re right I absolutely love spending time in the room now and I’m a fanatic about keeping the clutter at bay! 🙂

  9. Steph May 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Wow, what a fabulous transformation, I think you picked some seriously lovely pieces from Wayfair, which have really complimented the style of the room perfectly. Steph xxx

  10. Karen May 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm Reply

    I’m so impressed that the chalk paint went over that cabinet! So creative 🙂
    Totally love the modern look against your wooden beams. Gorgeous! x


    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) May 9, 2016 at 1:15 pm Reply

      I was surprised myself actually Karen! Some thinner paints wouldn’t have worked but Annie Sloane chalk paint is very thick so it gave great coverage. Thanks for popping over and for commenting x

  11. Nancy May 4, 2016 at 10:39 am Reply

    What a transformation, your new office looks wonderful! I love the old beams in contrast with the modern touches in the room.


  12. Ebabee May 4, 2016 at 9:25 am Reply

    What a great makeover. The new office looks great – modern, clean and monochrome. And I especially love the modern look with the more traditional the exposed beams. I’m on the lookout for furniture so shall be checking out Wayfair.

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) May 4, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply

      Thanks Nomita! Wayfair has lots and lots of choice so you’re bound to find something that suits your taste and budget. )Sitting here replying looking out of the window into the garden in my sparkly new space and grinning – I just can’t help myself 🙂 )

  13. Ali May 4, 2016 at 8:31 am Reply

    I adore this colour scheme, you’ve created such a lovely fresh theme which the glass desk finishes off perfectly. I’ve always opted for a classic country cottage style in our home but I’m really falling for more modern styles like this. I’ve never shopped in Wayfairer before but will definitely check it out for our toddler bedroom makeover in about to embark on!

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) May 4, 2016 at 9:44 am Reply

      Thank you so much, Ali! I think because The Barn is SO traditional and full of 16th-century features and oak timbers I wanted my office to have a touch of modernity as a contrast. I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out and the juxtaposition of old and new really works I think! Can’t wait to see your next project – tweet me when it’s done x

  14. Ceri May 4, 2016 at 8:19 am Reply

    Gorgeous space. Well done Michelle. I’ll be heading over to Wayfair for a browse

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