Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Home Office Makeover, Before & After

As back-to-school time approaches, I'm looking forward to returning to my regular work-from-home routine. I'll miss the easier days of summer and the warm weather outings with the kids, but I also crave the renewed sense of focus that fall brings. You might have noticed my reduced presence on the blog and in social media. That will change! In preparation for a productive fall of freelance writing and blogging, I gave my home office a lovely overhaul, with the help of

The Before

My home office is located in the front of our house, within the living room space. Prior to this home office makeover, I was using my grandmother's antique gateleg table as a desk. Although I love that it's a piece of family history, it wasn't ideal as a desk. And it made the space too dark. Of course, the space was also cluttered and, let's face it, downright messy.

The great thing about a room makeover (besides the end results) is it gives you an opportunity (or forces you) to give the room a really good cleaning. As you can see, above, my home office was in dire need of a thorough cleaning. My husband and I did everything from dusting cobwebs off the ceiling to wiping the baseboards to washing the window (inside and out) to vacuuming and cleaning the hardwood flooring.

The First Rule of Organizing 

The first rule of organizing is that everything must have a place. Whenever organizing goes off the rails in this house (and it happens fairly frequently) it's because somebody doesn't know where to put something. Hence the regular pile-ups of miscellaneous items on the kitchen counter. In the past, there were times when the entire dining room table was covered with dishes and other assorted things that didn't have a home. Since our big dining room makeover, I try to make sure that doesn't happen. It's such a happy space for me. Glancing over there now though, I see a hammer and a box of various picture hanging nails on the dining room table. We need to get pictures hung and get those tools put away!

In the cluttered "Before" shot of my office, you can see I had stuff jammed between the wall and the filing cabinet. I gave some thought to where to relocate items in a way that makes sense. For example, I relocated my "happy lamp" and portable heater to the off-season coat closet in the basement. Of course, relocating one item often leads to more work. We decided to go through the coat closet to get rid of hats and gloves that the kids no longer wear. Organizing is a long and ongoing process, especially when you have kids. You can also see a jumble of cords in the "Before" photo. In addition to the visible jumble, we had boxes of computer disks and manuals. I enlisted my husband's help to identify cords and dispose of items we no longer need. I want everything in my office space to be either necessary or wanted. (Needed would be a bit too limiting for this girl.)

The first item I picked out for my refreshed home office space is this gorgeous Willowbrook Writing Desk. In the past, I often bought random furniture and decorative pieces just because I liked them. Over this last year, I've followed much more of a "bigger picture" approach. Overall, now that the kids are bigger, we're going for a more sophisticated yet still comfy space. We also like pops of vivid colour, a blend of old and new pieces and rustic accessories.

This desk suits my vision for our space in that it is sophisticated and has an antique look. I love the curved legs and the antique bronze drawer pulls and stretcher bar. The three drawers are great for providing storage space and helping me keep desktop clutter to a minimum. In that regard, we decided to relocate the desktop computer to the basement. I use my laptop more often anyway. And the desk has so much more usable space without a bulky desktop computer.

The colour scheme in the room is black and white with touches of pink and teal. You can see the white sofa and painted pink side table in this earlier post. The shaggy area rug at the other end of the room is creamy in colour, very much like the Willowbrook desk. For the area rug underneath the desk, I chose this vintage-style Cher Pink Area Rug. Basically I went from a little bit of pink in the room to quite a bit of pink, and I gotta say I really like it. It's such a cheering colour.

Choosing curtains was a bit of a challenge. We had white sheer drapery before and in the end we decided to replace the curtains with something similar. There's not a lot of light coming in the front of the house, so we wanted to make the best of what there is. Also, when the doorbell rings we tend to peek through the window to see who is there. I chose these inexpensive Lindsey Embroidered Nature/Floral Semi-Sheer Rod Pocket Curtain Panels. The curtains are white with embroidered ivory foliage, so they help tie together the white couch and the ivory desk and shag rug.

To accessorize, I used items we already had, such as the pink-framed photo of the kids, the white lamp with black and white floral shade, a teal desk fan and a crystal salt lamp (to generate negative ions).

I also picked out some dark pink gerbera daisies to add cheer to my desk space.

On the left side of my desk is this rustic table, which has a drawer to hold business cards and cords. I also stacked a few black boxes underneath to hold tape, labels, markers and computer cables.

Jolene likes my new office space too, although I have been discouraging her from obsessively licking my new pink area rug!

In keeping with my renewed autumn focus, I made up a quick adhesive gold foil "Write" decal on my Cricut for my black and white mug. It will (hopefully) inspire me in those moments (or days!) of procrastination.

I'm feeling excited about working in my new, tidier home office space. Hopefully I can keep it less cluttered and more organized than my old space. With that in mind, I have been taking a moment to tidy my desk before I start work each day. And tea helps. Lots of tea.

How do you like my new office space? Are you feeling excited about fall? Could your office space use a refresh?

*This post is sponsored by All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.


  1. Hi Joann,

    Wow! What a fabulous office makeover you did. Your new desk is stunning! It's great that you sit in front of a window and get lots of light. Nice curtains as well. I think that Jolene just loves the ambiance of your cozy office and hanging out with you :o) Cute dog!

    1. Thanks so much Gabriela! I'm happy you like it! And I think you're right - Jolene is just happy to be around me. That's the great thing about dogs! :)

  2. I so want to come work in your office space. The abundance of natural light and the gorgeous pink accents I just love it. The desk and the room are organized with such clean lines and then of course a little Shakespeare quote on the laptop to keep your motivated to write :)

  3. I love your office space! When an area is less cluttered and looks so good, it allows for better work to be done, I think! ps your dog is cute :)

  4. Leslie:
    Enjoyed the overhaul. I always thought a desk facing out a window would be the height of luxury.

  5. Wow,what a fantastic make over don`t it just make you feel good when you freshen up a room !

  6. I've been stalking Wayfair, Ikea and Canadian Tire for a cute desk. I really like the legs on yours. I need an office space badly, as I don't get any work done with my laptop seated on the sofa (too many distractions).

  7. Your office looks so attractive and conducive to work.

  8. I love what you did to give your office a makeover. I especially love the Willowbrook Writing Desk. So sleek and classy. I am learning to stay more organized and have everything in it's place. It sure is a discipline.

  9. That looks simply wonderful - well done! It is always scary to see how much dust this equipment attracts.

  10. I love the look you achieved! I find it difficult myself when I am updating a room to really tie everything together - I like so many different pieces but find they dont match sometimes...

  11. That rustic table is so cute! I love your balance of old / new - very chic! I also am a huge fan of your ecojot notebook. I just love the quality of their papers!

  12. what a great makeover, I love the desk and the colourful rug. The touches of saying on your laptop and mug are very cute

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