10.27.2011

Day 27 - Home Offices Revisited - Rebekah's Office/ Homeschool Room

Welcome back to Day 27 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home Series. We are quickly coming to an end, folks!


In response to my post where I announced I'm seeking opportunities to volunteer to help people with real -life problems, one of my readers, Rebekah, messaged me and asked for some tips on her office / homeschool room. She said that she and her children live out much of the day in this room.

Rebekah wrote this to me:
"Hi Katie,I really appreciate you taking a look at this for me.  I noticed on your blog that you prefer things out of sight, and I share that mindset.  Your home is absolutely beautiful, and you have done amazing work.  Here are my pictures from different angles.  The room measures 12' wide by 10' deep.  This is the first room to the left when entering the front door.  (It is actually the formal dining room.)  The carpet is absolutely worn, and I'm thinking of putting travertine down where the vinyl floor entry is through the office and into the kitchen.  The three file cabinets under my desk house home papers, bills/receipts, homeschool papers, my husband's contracts and business info.  The middle file cabinet is actually a cabinet that hides the computer CPU.  I think the last photo may capture the cluttered feel best, and this is when the room is pretty tidy.  I tried putting a pretty mirror up on the main wall to maybe make the room feel bigger, but neither my husband nor I liked that look.  Feel free, of course, to use these pictures on your blog if you want to.  Thanks again so much,Rebekah"

And in a subsequent email she added:
"...Currently, our coat closet next to the front door houses our craft supplies, the kids' school books, household manuals, shipping supplies for eBay, etc. I guess this room feels full to me, especially when we are working in it a lot of the day. It doesn't feel welcoming/pretty to me. ...Maybe the room is too beige?..."


Here are the photographs as the room appears today:









Originally I thought that Rebekah was mainly looking for storage options for the kids' things to make the two small childrens' desks seem less cluttered. But after her second set of comments I realized that she also was looking for ways to make this room feel more inviting and beautiful. So I took a little more time to gather my thoughts before writing up this post...

First off I'd like to say that I just LOVE Rebekah's office. Especially the desk and her chandelier. The space is extremely well organized and obviously well thought out. There's really nothing wrong it, but I can tell that she wants to change it somehow. That being said, here are my thoughts and suggestions. Rebekah, you can take them with a grain of salt. But I hope that something I say here is helpful!

I think when it comes to any space that we spend a lot of time in, we really need to love the way it looks. As I've mentioned before, I absolutely hated our old office. I didn't like the color scheme, it was tucked away in our spare bedroom and it was easy to just throw papers and random junk in there then shut the door and not look at it for weeks. I am much happier with my office space in our family room. We have a warm, cozy wall paint color (Valspar Arid Plains) and window treatments that I love. And I have a nice view of the backyard and most of the house from my computer desk. I'm much more apt to deal with paper clutter, etc. in a place that I enjoy spending time in.



So, I would urge Rebekah to look into adding some color to this office space. I think that would go a long way in making the room more inviting. Since I don't know her other than through the blog, I'm not sure what accent color(s) she would choose, but anything would really work with the neutral scheme she already has. 

I would consider adding color and pattern through an area rug, a different slipcover for the chair, curtains or artwork. I'd also consider painting the inside of the front door a bold color, or even black or white to make it seem a bit less brown. For the sake of the post, let's say she chose blue as the accent color for the room (since I see hints of blue in other rooms of her home in the photos). I will also throw in some greens since that's my fave...

I might also consider repainting the room a slightly warmer beige tone or even a more daring color (although I hate painting, especially when there's carpet nearby!). Maybe something a bit more like we have in our Great Room would warm it up. But what is there could still work just fine. I also personally love the chandelier in this space. But I know that round shades are definitely more "in" these days. And I almost feel like the light fixture could be larger. Again, not a huge deal. What is there can work just fine.

And here's the colorful mood board I prepared using Olioboard.




Now allow me to break it down using the numbers on the items...

1 & 2. First of all, since Rebekah mentioned that the carpet is worn and she is considering travertine for this space, I thought one of the colorful area rugs shown above would be nice. Not only will it add color and personality to the space but it will also cover up the worn carpeting and then would provide some comfort under foot when the tile is installed. Both of these rugs, by Layla Grace are about $125. 

I also found this option on Target's website. The 5' x 7' rug is $160.



3. I would also consider a colorful slipcover for the desk chair (or perhaps with the addition of other colorful elements this would not be necessary). Maybe the existing one could just be inexpensively dyed like John & Sherry on Young House Love did their dining room chair covers here.

4 & 5. One of these curtain panel options could even be combined with the existing white sheer panels. Kind of like what we did in our master bedroom...


The green panels shown in the moodboard are just $29 each from Target. And I've found similar curtain panels for even less than that at Garden Ridge and Lowe's (especially check out their curtains on clearance!). I think we got the blue panels from Lowe's for about $14 each. Or, ribbon could simply be added to the existing white panels to dress them up a bit. I'd do a google search on that. I'm sure there are great tutorials out there on that.

6 & 7. I'd consider some sort of colorful artwork over the computer desk. You could DIY your own canvas art, cover a handful of shoebox lids in decorative scrapbook paper or fabric, make a gallery wall of family photos (with all the frames spray painted one complementary color). Anything to add some height and color to that side of the room. I don't think the computer desk is too large for the space. In fact, it is probably really nice having all those drawers, etc. But I think that Rebekah could use something catchy to draw the eye up and away from the desk. And I might also consider spray painting the mirror above the console table a color that would compliment whatever rug/curtains are chosen. 



8. I'd also consider an upholstered storage ottoman or bench (blue or green or even leather or woven natural materials with some blue/green throw pillows on it) in front of the window. It would add some softer texture to the room since everything else is hard (desks, console table, etc.) and some additional storage. Plus, it would be a great comfy place for the kids to hang out reading a book or something. I think Garden Ridge or Walmart are fabulous sources for inexpensive, decorative throw pillows (usually $10-20).

I've purchased all my storage ottomans at Garden Ridge or HomeGoods or Target. I've also seen tutorials online where people have upholstered old $10 coffee tables from garage sales!

9. Perhaps it works fine for Rebekah and her family to keep office related supplies in the coat closet near the front door, but I would consider possibly integrating a bookshelf or small painted dresser or something in place of the console that would provide the same storage inside the room. It seems like it would be more handy. An Expedit from IKEA, as shown in the mood board (only one of the smaller units), could be inexpensively  incorporated. Then I would use colorful, closed decorative file boxes and magazine files to store paperwork and supplies. Adding more storage to the office would open up the coat closet for something else! We all love ample storage, don't we?

10 & 11. Colorful accessories such as a green or blue lamps (or even recovering the existing lampshades on the lamps on the console with a complementary blue or green patterned fabric) might be a good idea. Lamps like the ones shown are always available at locations like Home Goods for maybe $30/each. A colorful lacquered tray or tall colorful candle sticks would be great for the desktop as well.

12. I threw the colorful, playful clock in as another possible accessory. This might be nice over the kids' desks. I think this wall could also use more substantial decor to draw the eye up away from the desks.


Moving on from the mood board, other ideas I have pertain to adding a little more closed storage to the kids' desktops. Rebekah expressed that she felt their area really seemed cluttered to her. 

Some ideas I came up with included using closed file boxes like the blue one on the desk next to the little girl here for corralling all that is on their desks now.



Or rather than the two white desks Rebekah's children currently use, they could opt for fold down desks like this one by Ana White. 



Or this IKEA version...


As for the other side of the room, if the colorful canvases or gallery wall don't appeal, crates or floating shelves could also be mounted to the wall over the computer desk. They could be used for additional storage as well as decor, also drawing the eyes up away from the computer.






Thank you so much, Rebekah, for the opportunity to brainstorm a few ideas for your homeschool/ office space. If you have any questions, please let me know. And if you get around to implementing any of these ideas or even go a whole other route, please send me some "after" pics so I can see what you do with the space! I love room transformations!!

And if I can be of any help with anyone else's design dilemmas, please let me know via email.  My dream is to someday make a living providing organizing, de-cluttering, and decorating services and it would be extremely helpful for me to gain some real-life experience now (in person or virtually through email, at no cost to you). 

12 comments:

freshnewday said...

Katie,
This is awesome! Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed. I will set to work on this. Do you know who made the cool clock? Thanks again,
Rebekah

Katie said...

Rebekah,
I'm so glad you're pleased. :) The clock is the "Kaleidoscope Wall Clock purple" by Home Decorators Collection. It's 31.5" in diameter. And $79.00, according to Olioboard.
Katie

Bethany said...

I absolutely LOVE that fold down desk/chalkboard! What an insanely awesome idea! We have a small house and I love ideas of ways to maximize space. I showed Stew and I think he's going to make it for Isabelle! Thanks Katie! I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

What a great space! We're homeschooling at our kitchen table. :) I thought the room was pretty and organized to begin with, but you suggested some great changes (LOVE the idea of a fold down desk).

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