Before and After: A Dingy Spare Bedroom Gets Transformed into a Bright, Airy Home Office

published Jul 4, 2022
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I started working from home full-time about two years ago. While I genuinely love chilling in my living room and propping my feet up on the couch, using my lap as a desktop isn’t the ideal workspace for me. As the assistant home editor at Apartment Therapy, I spend all day writing about beautiful homes and admiring the chic spaces people create. So I finally decided to channel all of that inspiration into creating a proper home office of my own.

My boyfriend and I bought our 1,800-square-foot home in Georgia in late August 2021. The house was built in 1971 and could definitely be considered a fixer-upper. The previous owner lived in this house for 40 years and hadn’t done much recently, so nearly everything was dated and needed some serious modernizing.

I decided to transform our second bedroom, located across the hall from the primary bedroom, into my home office. The room has nice large windows with trim that’s pretty old, but this feature gives the room a vintage feel that I gravitate towards and allows for ample natural light, which is great for working. The soft gray carpet made the room feel cozy and really just needed a good cleaning. The walls were poorly painted in an off-white shade that was barely covered up an older, baby blue paint job, so fixing them topped my design list.

Despite the room’s blank box architecture, I felt the space had potential because of its size, natural lighting, and ample closet. So, my first order of business was giving the walls a fresh coat of paint to further brighten up the space and fix the uneven finish. I chose a clean shade of white (Valspar’s The Perfect White) and went with a subtle, light-reflecting a semi-gloss finish to maximize the space’s brightness.

Once all of the walls were painted and dry, I mounted our 50-inch TV on the wall, which I planned to face while working. I ordered a Threshold with Studio McGee wooden console from Target slightly wider than the television, which cost $300. The perfect piece to place as an anchor under the TV, this table not only covers the television’s wires and fills the wall, but it also displays my record player and provides some storage with its six built-in drawers.

A few months ago, I was gifted the perfect desk to try out, so I didn’t see a reason to buy a new one. My 55-inch standing desk from Flexispot has a smooth bamboo top and white legs that went perfectly with the console table under the TV. I wanted a comfortable chair I felt was stylish enough for the room for when I wanted to sit, so when I found this brown leather chair on sale at Walmart for $128, I knew I had to have it. The rug I placed beneath my desk is from — you guessed it! — Target, and it felt like the perfect finishing touch for this spot to jazz up the older wall-to-wall carpeting beneath it.

After my desk was set up, I was ready to create my real-life Zoom background and mounted a pair of white ladder bookshelves ordered from Amazon. The wall behind my desk was about 100 inches wide, so I order two sets of the 30-inch wide shelves to fill a majority of the wall. I styled my shelves with some neutral decor pieces I found in moving boxes around the house. Since I’ve already read every single book on my shelves, I made the controversial decision to turn my books backwards to keep the visually calm, neutral look I wanted.

Stuck on how to decorate the wall next to my desk, I decided to try a mirror. I mounted a wooden framed, full length style from Target in the middle of the wall that I got for $95. Then, I hung some framed art I already had and my diplomas around it to create a gallery of things that make me smile.

In total, I spent about $830 on all the new paint, furniture, and decor I used to transform my home office (in addition to the things I used that I already had, of course). This feels like the perfect space for me to work, write, and take all my Zoom calls. Now, especially since there’s a TV, I spend more time in here then I do in the living room. If I had to redo this entire project, I wouldn’t change a thing.