This past fall I decided it was time for a major change in our house. I work from home, so I was spending 40-plus hours a week crammed into a tiny nine-by-nine home office in the basement. I’d organized it as well as I could, but it was still stuffed with project supplies and felt claustrophobic.
Meanwhile, right outside my home office, there was a huge room — the entire length of our house — that was barely being used. It was dark, always messy, and the kids hardly ever came down there to play. Other than serving as a guest room when we had company, it was dead space.
I wasn’t sure if my husband would like the idea. (He really hated my idea of knocking down the wall between the linen closet and our master closet and creating a funky family library.) But he quickly agreed that it made sense for me to use the larger room for my home office, and we started the big switch.
While this new space is a lot larger it doesn’t have any windows, so it was important to make it as bright as possible. I replaced the fixtures and added 5,000k bulbs for lots of clean, white light.
The room also has five revamped lamps, which I turn on at different times, so there’s plenty of light now.
The basement had been dark grey, so we painted it a light creamy greige (Benjamin Moore’s “Edgecomb Gray”) and that really brightened it up. It used to have tons of colourful artwork — even an entire wall of board games — and all that had to go. Yes, I patched approximately 5,332 holes before we painted.
Since there’s so much colour in the projects I make, I wanted to keep my office soft: white, light pink, and gold. I bought pale pink fabric ($3/m on clearance) to make floor-to-ceiling curtains to hide the few toys that remain, repainted our media cabinet pink, and painted $3 thrift store lamps pink. Pretty much everything else in the room is white, gold, cream, or wood tones.
Now that I had room to spread out, I needed enough furniture to properly store all of my fabric, sewing supplies, crafting gear, and office supplies.
I bought a long laminate dresser and nightstand on Kijiji and painted them white.
I scored a free set of lockers, painted them, and built a wood casing to dress them up. I also took an Ikea cube unit that used to store toys and used it for fabric storage.
We moved my custom built-in U-shaped desk into my new office, and reconfigured the pieces so it was a longer L-shaped desk.
We also built a huge square work table on wheels, which can connect to my desk or be rolled to the other side of the room.
I also redid a small desk that moves around the room, too, as needed. It’s so nice being able to spread out a bunch of fabric and patterns, or organize papers.
In total, my new office cost us about $600 and it was worth every cent. I love spending time down here now, it never feels crowded, and I have plenty of room for everything.
When you work from home, I think it can be easy to allot yourself only a tiny area of dedicated work space. But it’s absolutely worthwhile to make yourself an office you love — a space that calms you, energizes you, and makes you feel good about sitting down to work.