Before and After: A Stylish Home Office We’d Actually WANT to Work in

published Oct 30, 2019
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If you’re going to be working from home, your home office should inspire you, right? We think so, even in the smallest of spaces—and Ashlee Cabreles agreed. The problem: her setup was full of clunky furniture, including a grayish particle board corner desk (“it was very cheap,” Ashlee says), a dark office chair, and a big armchair and ottoman. A gallery wall added some interest, but not enough personality. All around, says Ashlee, “the space didn’t feel very me.” Not to mention, 12-foot ceilings—yes, we gasped too—made the art feel miniscule.

Transforming it into a space that Ashlee, a budding interior designer, actually loved took about a year and a lot of trial and error. Ashlee sold the corner desk before buying this rugged industrial-style one, which she loved… but in the space, it didn’t feel quite right. So she listed that one for sale, too, and kept hunting.

Finally, inspiration struck: Ashlee decided to give the space a feature wall, which set everything else in motion. Vertical wood planks look fab, not farmhouse-y, when they’re painted bold black. Ashley topped them with a shallow shelf to serve as a picture ledge. Scandi-style wall sconces bring light directly over the desk—chic and functional.

Speaking of the desk: After lots of searching for off-the-shelf finds (see the industrial pick above), Ashlee finally decided she’d have to take matters into her own hands to create something that suited the Scandinavian look she was after and had enough room to seat two. “I wanted to be sure that when I was working on the computer, one of my kids could be sitting next to me coloring or reading,” Ashlee says. She bought IKEA filing cabinets for both ends, then used a piece of butcher block as the top. Two wishbone chairs fit comfortably side by side. A Moroccan-style rug maxes out the comfy factor.

Now, the space feels a million times cozier and more welcoming, and all for just $900. “I used every single design element that I drool over,” says Ashlee. “It feels so much more like me now.”