Before and After: A $700 Redo Turns a Dining Room into a Cozy Home Office

updated May 26, 2020
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Having the right WFH space when you’re indefinitely hunkered down at home makes all the difference in the world—no more Zoom calls from your bedroom or hunching over a coffee table in a living room “office.” That’s exactly what was on Hannah Bunker’s mind. The original dining room in her home was oddly positioned and filled with mirrors, and didn’t even fit all of her friends back when she was able to invite them over—so it was the perfect space to reimagine as a home workspace. “We like to host gatherings and our 14-seater table wouldn’t fit in the mirror room, so it became our office,” Hannah says. “We wanted something that could have two desks and hold lots of books because we’re insatiable book nerds.”

“The one thing we had to work around is that this room is directly off of the kitchen, so when guests go from the kitchen to the dining room, they have to walk through the office,” Hannah says. “I wanted to make sure the trip was pleasant on the eye.” Plus, she wanted to make sure the middle of the room was obstacle-free to make the trip from one room to the other easy.

Diving head first into a new project always has its risks, but after already completing a kitchen remodel, Hannah was prepared to tackle the weird space. The entire process took a week. The first thing she decided to tackle (with backup) were the mirrors, which took up one wall of the entire room. Once they were out of the way, Hannah taught herself how to spackle the leftover holes to ensure the following paint job would be seamless. She coated the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Blue Note and then began adding in more shades to the room’s overall palette. 

“I wanted to bring in pops of color so it wouldn’t feel like an old library,” says Hannah. The wide selection of hues ended up being one of the things she loves most about the space. Aside from chromatic collection of books, she purchased a bright pink chair from World Market and a playfully vibrant Multi Ritzy Retro Area Rug from Rugs USA. For a little extra contrast that not quite as bright as the rest of the decor, she worked in faux leather and metal chairs from Target into the desk space. Hannah topped it all off with art: a print from Society6, a wall hanging from Imani Collective, and even her own original art.

The more larger structural pieces came together with paint and DIY know-how. “The shelves are simple utility shelving that I spray painted gold to pop against the navy paint,” Hannah says. “For the desk, I decided to make my own using pre-fab, unfinished kitchen cabinet bases from Lowes.” To turn the counter-height (36-inch) cabinets into a table-height desk (30 inches), Hannah sawed off the toe kicks of each base cabinet. She topped them with stained plywood to make a tabletop.

What matters most about a room isn’t its original shape or purpose, it’s making it a space that feels fitting for your life. “Make the entrance of your home a space you would want to walk into,” Hannah advises. “I’m thrilled walking into my home and this being the first room that I see.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.