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Home office makeover #1 – Starting point

It’s time for a makeover!

My home office is in need of sorting out properly once and for all and I wanted to give you the no holes barred view of how I go about changing the room in a step by step kind of way.

Hopefully it will give you some ideas of how to approach a space of your own, and of course, there will be lots of tips along the journey! I really hope you find it useful.

Home office makeover - part 1 - starting point

Today I wanted to start right at the beginning and talk about the space I started with, the reasons past decisions were made, and sort of bring you up to the present day (otherwise known as chaos!).

In further posts, you can join me on the journey of making this space (hopefully!) a great space to work in, and one that really works for me and anyone else in the family should they need to use it.

So – lets get started!

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The very beginning

When we moved into our home 10 years ago, we did a lot of work to the place – including a refurbishment as soon as we moved in, and an extension a few years later.

One of the reasons we moved was so I could use a room as a home office, as I had a lot of supplies, papers, books, catalogues, kit etc… to house, and had never really had a space to put it so that it was all together and worked properly for what I needed.

This new house was great as it already had a space I could create a home office from, and that was the space that the previous owners had converted at the back of the garage.

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What worked

It made a good space for a home office because it was away from the main house, and I could not only work without distractions, but also shut the door at the end of the day and not feel like I was still at work.

It was also a decent size that would fit what I had in it easily, and already had lighting, electrics and wood effect flooring. It had a complete wall of shelves that would be great for storage as well.

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What didn’t

However, it was quite dark in the room and because it was away from the house it didn’t have heating. These were things that I wanted to fix asap, as there was no way I was working in a cold and dark space when there was a perfectly good (and warm) house right next to it!

Home office before picture

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First changes

As luck would have it(!) we were doing the refurbishment work straight away (before we moved in), and had a window taken out of the main house which would have gone to the tip, so I grabbed it and asked the builders to add a new window to the office space.

Adding a window to the home office

 

Worked like a treat! It also meant that I would be able to see the house, and feel a little more connected to what was going on when I was in that room.

I also gave the room a quick lick of paint, put roller blinds up at the windows, and laid a new floor (the wood was lovely but had lots of worn patches, and I wanted to add carpet to create a cosier feel to the room). I simply added carpet tiles in a neutral colour which did the job – and cut them all to fit myself which was quite a task but relatively easy and cheap way to update the space.

I moved in all the “office” related stuff, and pretty much left that space for a while (there was so much else to do, and it was one room that didn’t affect the rest of the house as it wasn’t part of it really).

This was dangerous, as I started to simply use it as a space to store everything (including using it as the builders storage room when we extended the main house), and rarely worked out there as it didn’t feel very comfortable with everything in such a disorganised mess, and the house was warm etc….

It basically became our large storage space, and the office was just not a priority at that time at all.

Home office before Home office before Home office before

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Reclaiming the office space

Once the rest of the house was done, I started to look at ways that I could make the office really work for me, and of course, weighed up the positives and negatives.

Looking back it was actually great to have waited a while before I really tackled this room, as I got to understand what I really would use it for, and how the room could best work for me.

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Positives

  • Square space
  • Lots of light
  • Lots of storage

Negatives

  • Needed more desk space
  • CLUTTERED!
  • Desk position was difficult as the light made it hard to see my computer screen
  • Layout wrong
  • Didn’t feel like a nice space to be
  • Freezing in winter!
  • Couldn’t hear the doorbell from the house when inside the office so missed visitors/post
  • Lots of open storage but felt messy to me (I prefer closed storage)
  • No drawers for stationery

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As I always suggest – assessing the current situation will pay dividends, and get you thinking about what you want from a space. The list above shows that there were definitely more negatives than positives, which highlighted exactly why I hadn’t really used it before now.

Making a room fit the way you work and live is all about how it functions AND looks – you have to feel happy and comfortable in your space.

So – I decluttered that which I didn’t need any longer, tidied up the shelves, added in a couple of new items of furniture from IKEA, and added in a noticeboard (I chose glass as I could write on it, and it was magnetic so I could add notes to it easily) – I also added in a portable heater!.

547.  (8) 547.  (7)

Although this looked a whole lot better, and was a better space to be in, what I noticed was that I still felt not right in the room.

It was my position in the room that made me feel this way.

I had tried pretty much every wall and always felt not quite right there, probably because I had my back to the door and the light shone straight onto my computer which made it hard to work or gave me a headache. Hardly ideal….

The only wall left to try was the wall that the shelves were on.

I therefore moved my desk around and tried sitting as close to the shelves as possible, which worked for the light on my computer, and so that I could see the doorway – but the shelves pushed the desk too far into the middle of the room and still didn’t feel right.

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It was time to take the shelves down…..

This was kind of a lightbulb moment for me. I had been trying for all this time to make the space work – and the answer was to really start from a blank slate by removing all the shelves and creating new storage ideas in the room.

It was exciting to take them all down and the room did feel a lot larger – but boy did I create chaos!!!

Home office during decluttering

Home office during decluttering

 

And this is how my office looks right now…

I have no storage so everything is all over the place, I have walls that need filling and decorating, and I have a completely blank slate to work from (with my new white furniture of course!), but I have the time and energy to do it this time around, and I want to get it right.

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The start of a room makeover is daunting - here's where I started, the journey already made, and the start of my Home office makeover - follow along!

I hope that the background to my home office makeover has been helpful to you – and I’m really excited to get going on this project and make it work properly once and for all – so watch this space!

Do you have a room that’s never felt quite right? Have you found a solution or do you simply not use the space at the moment? I’d love to know all about it, so please let me know in the comments below…

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  • Fulya Markham

    Hi Chrissy. Can’t believe how I haven’t found your blog so far, simply amazing stuff. Thank you! Moved home a month ago and still trying to arrange it. I have the same home office challenge- mine is a garage conversion in the house, pretty much has the same issues that you’ve had. will folow how you’re getting on and be inspired 🙂

    • Hi Fulya – I’m so pleased you have found the blog! – hopefully it will help you as you tackle projects around your home, and good luck for your Home Office changes – the full set of posts are now all there (there are 3 in total) finishing with the final reveal, which I hope gives you a few ideas!


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