Before and After: A Dark, Cluttered Attic Becomes a Charming (and Organized) Home Office for $400

published Jun 17, 2021
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Before: crowded office with blue paneled walls
Credit: Finola Moore

Like many others, when the pandemic began in early 2020, homeowner Finola Moore found herself working from home, which meant she had to find somewhere she could answer Zoom calls in private, away from her kids. Her location of choice: the attic, which worked OK — but Finola had to position herself just-so to hide the storage space behind her. She knew a renovation was in order to turn the attic into an acceptable office space.

Credit: Finola Moore

“I wanted to increase the light, depth, and height of the room,” Finola says — but she wanted to keep costs low for her mini reno.

Credit: Finola Moore

Finola started by clearing out the office and painting the ceiling and walls, which was an instant improvement. For the ceiling she went with a satin white, but for the walls, she let herself get a little more creative. Since the walls were covered in faux wood paneling, Finola used it as a template to give the walls stripes in varying shades of blue. With a new, more polished paint job, the attic already looked less like a storage zone and more like a bonafide office space.

Credit: Finola Moore

Figuring out the perfect spot for her desk was a little trickier. “Although I wanted natural light on my face, I never liked my back to the door in case kids interrupted the video call,” Finola says. Her solution: “I placed the desk on the side and chose to have light illuminate my face on calls. Then my Zoom background was a beautiful striped painted wall,” she says.

Finola also invested in some new seating for the space, purchasing an armchair for herself and a beanbag for her kids to share outside office hours.

“My favorite item is the pink chair from Wayfair,” she says. “I feel like I’m a pearl in an oyster when I sit in it for deep thought work. I love that my daughter uses it as her quiet escape now, too.”

Finola’s dad built reclaimed wood doors for her existing bookshelf, which she also painted blue, and her niece contributed a blue cabinet she found on Facebook Marketplace to the space. The result is an office that looks neat but is still filled with personality — and Finola was able to do it all for about $400.

“I get lots of compliments now on my Zoom background,” Finola says. “I no longer have to hide what’s in the room.”

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