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