An overworked office gets
an affordable redesign

Above: An art wall with photo, family documents and vintage prints gives me inspiration.

After putting it off forever, redecorating my cramped, cluttered office turned out to be both fairly simple, and relatively inexpensive.

A rich cream with just a whisper of green (Touch of Olive from Rona’s Sico Pure line) was applied to walls and ceiling. An elderly file cabinet was sprayed out in a matching colour (, as was a ceiling fan/light fixture.

home office makeover before
Dark, cramped and poorly scaled. No wonder it was becoming so hard to hit my deadlines!

The ugly linoleum floor was covered in easy-to-install, Flor carpet tiles in a bold indigo and ivory grillwork pattern that adds a great graphic hit.

I downsized to a matte-black desk from Ikea, which has significantly increased my efficiency — there’s simply no room to let things pile up!

A tired-looking mid-century modern chair went to ReCloth Modern, where it was refinished, restained, and recovered in textile from J. Ennis fabrics that has the lush look of cut velvet.

home office desk area
A shelf was made from salvaged wood and decorative brackets from Lee Valley Tools.

Beside it sits a small stone-topped table from Artemano. I love the way the organic texture of the stone contrasts with the industrial vibe of the steel base. An ancient melamine bookcase was replaced with a solid rose-wood cabinet in a light olive finish, also from Artemano.

home office reading nook
In case you can’t read it, my to-do list is: Self-Actualize, Buy Vodka, and Learn Sanskrit.

I used a variety of affordable frames from Ikea, along with vintage frames, to make an art wall. And no, I did not pre-plan it with a template. I started by placing a much-loved printer’s box in the middle of the wall, and simply added pieces one by one, working on a principle of symmetry, more or less. And no, it’s not distracting. It’s delightful, which is pretty much how I feel whenever I enter my office now.

Bonus tip: Like the draperies? Made from cotton twill drop cloths. Material costs were under $150.

All photos Lafond Photo.

Vicky Sanderson

A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind.

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