Before and After: A $325 Update Makes This Dreary Office a Plant-Filled Haven

published Jul 20, 2020
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Before: office with brown walls
Credit: Frances Mooney

When working from home in tight quarters, it’s important for everyone to feel like they have some space to themselves. Frances Mooney realized that quickly after she and her husband moved into their new home, an 87-year-old charmer, just six weeks ago. “After living and working in 900 square feet with my husband, I knew I HAD to have a dedicated workspace,” Frances says. “The finished attic was perfect… mostly.”

Credit: Frances Mooney

While it provided the exact right amount of space for her, it wasn’t exactly a place that inspired. The walls were a dingy brown, while the ceiling was a cool gray—and one of the long walls was covered in holes left over from the previous owner’s long-gone shelving.

Credit: Frances Mooney

“We were initially going to wait to update it, but I realized quickly that staring at unfinished, brown walls for my entire work week was a drag on my productivity and many, many video meetings,” Frances says. And after her company announced its work-from-home would extend until 2021, Frances knew she’d be in the office for the long haul. She immediately got to work transforming the space into a room that felt more inspiring and inviting.

Credit: Frances Mooney

Frances started by filling in the holes and painting the whole space white, which instantly “lifted” the ceiling and made the space feel tons bigger. With the help of her husband, she installed a wall mural from Walls Need Love behind her desk. “That was definitely a two-person job,” Frances says of the wall mural application. In the end, the oversized diamond-and-leaf pattern feels like a giant piece of artwork.

Credit: Frances Mooney

To the right of the desk, Frances installed a set of white floating shelves and a set of wood-toned floating shelves. Both are filled with plants and propagations, which adds tons of life to the minimalist space. Frances kept the rest of the decor simple, with just a desk and chair and a small cabinet for supplies topped with a unique table lamp.

“It is amazing what just paint will do to the space,” says Frances. “It feels so much lighter, bigger, and the walls aren’t busy—it’s the perfect space to work without distractions.” The whole room cost just $325 to redo, with the bulk of the budget going toward the wall mural. And the best part: the space is designed with versatility in mind, so at some point when Frances and her husband have guests over, they’ll be able to slide a bed in here to maximize the functionality of the room.

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