Before & After: A Simple Home Office Update

Last year our graphic designer at Rue, Julie decided it was time to give her home office a little update. As a freelancer who often works from home, she needed a comfortable workspace that inspired her. So Julie enlisted my help and we were on our way to a quick and easy refresh. As you’ll see from the photos, it doesn’t always take drastic measures to transform a space. We simply tweaked and added a few things but still got big results. The process went like this: 1.) Julie sent me a handful of inspiration images so I knew the style direction she wanted to go in. 2.) I visited her space to talk through her needs and requests and to take measurements. 3.) After that, I started sourcing new product for her office and put together a proposed shopping list. 4.) When we were on the same page, we ordered the product. 5.) Once everything arrived at Julie’s house, I came back over to put the room together. And voila! Sometimes all it takes is just a few days for a more inspiring and pulled together space.

Here’s what the space looked like before:

What Julie already had was a great start. I loved the crisp white walls, modern white standing desk, and all the beautiful natural light. She also had a handsome black chest of drawers, which she thrifted and painted herself, and some cool artwork in the closet. The lime green velvet sofa serves to separate her office space with her living room and is such a fun punctuation of color.

One of the first things I wanted to do was give Julie some optional seating for her standing desk. She previously had a small industrial stool, which got lost with it’s thin profile against the thick desk. So I placed two “Vero” barstools from Palecek that better match the scale of the desk, add more comfort, and bring in a warm and textural element through the beautiful rattan weaving. I have to say, these stools are so beautiful (even more so in person) and instantly elevated the feel of the room.

Next up was the lighting. I knew I wanted to add a hanging pendant (instead of keeping with a flush mount) to add dimension to the room and to visually frame out her desk. Julie has a modern leaning aesthetic and had previously told me she loves gold, so I knew she’d adore this Tom Dixon “Mirror Ball” Pendant. I personally love how the sleek, shiny look of the pendant contrasts with the raw, textural feel of the stools for an unexpected mix of materials. I actually loved this pendant so much once I saw it in Julie’s space that I purchased the same one for my own home.

Office Makeover Office Inspiration
Office Makeover Office Inspiration

I also wanted to address the empty white wall behind Julie’s desk. I knew instantly that a large, eye catching print was the way to go (instead of a gallery wall, for example). Having something large there would help balance out the visual weight of the black chest on the other side of the room. I love gallery walls too, but sometimes just one striking print can be so much more impactful. It also helped keep the clean, minimal feel Julie was after. I found this “Going for a Swim” print from Minted and ordered it already framed. We both instantly loved it. You’ll also notice that we swapped out the plant that was originally there with a smaller fiddle leaf fig tree that I found in Julie’s bedroom. To my eye, the scale worked so much better for the space. We also added the “Sailor’s Mirror” from Anthropologie to the other wall to finish out this corner.

Of course, a rug always helps make a room feel more pulled together. Julie had actually pre-selected this beautiful “Granite Area Rug” from Loloi’s Anastasia Collection and was therefore a piece I designed around. This rug works so well in here because the black flecks reference the black in the bar stools legs and the chest of drawers, while the gray tones keep with the minimal and cool feel I wanted to give the space. I also pulled in a Serena & Lily basket (similar) to hold odds and ends. I really like how it adds a little natural texture to the other side of the room and ties in so well with the bar stools.

Office Makeover Office Inspiration
Office Makeover Office Inspiration

The other side of the room has Julie’s chest of drawers where she keeps office supplies and important papers. The only thing this corner needed was a little styling to make it feel more deliberate. So, I pulled artwork, books, and other pieces that Julie already had from other parts of her home to style with. The artwork placed on top really helps give this side of the room height and intention.

And there you have it. A simple and easy office refresh that drastically improved the space.

Sources: 1. Palecek “Vero” Barstool | 2. Tom Dixon “Mirror Ball” Pendant | 3. Minted “Going for a Swim” Print | 4. Anthropologie “Sailor’s Mirror” | 5. Loloi “Granite” Area Rug | 6. Serena & Lily Basket (Similar)

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like to see the before and after of my Hartland Hotel Charity Project.


Photography: Aubrie Pick


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