One Room Challenge

Before and After: This $2,500 Moody Home Office Makeover Makes Dark Wood a Must-Try

published Dec 9, 2023
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You heard it here first: According to Apartment Therapy’s designer trend predictions for 2024, designers are starting to lean more toward dark wood tones than light wood. And Adriana Lizarazo’s home office redo shows how dark wood (and dark hues in general, also on trend for 2024) can look chic.

Adriana was fortunate to have a distinct office in her home, but she refers to its former look as cold and boring. “The walls were a light beige color with one navy accent wall that felt out of place,” she says. It also didn’t truly feel like an office, as it was “furnished with items that were leftover from other makeovers.”

The square-shaped room, mostly used by her husband, did have two large windows on a pair of walls that streamed in lots of natural light, which Adriana appreciated, but she wanted to do more with this office’s overall appearance. So, over the course of an eight-week period in conjunction with the One Room Challenge, she hired herself for the job. 

Open shelves in rec room before being turned into a home office.

All-over navy paint makes the floors feel even more dramatically dark.

The office already had warmth in the form of dark-stained wood floors, and Adriana decided to amp that up with a moody palette. She chose Behr’s Midnight Blue as an all-over shade, which would cover the walls, bookcase, and seating nook she built herself — yep, she built that perfect Zoom background on her own! 

Built-in storage makes a perfect (and functional) work backdrop.

“The important thing about this project was to add storage,” she says. “I started by purchasing base cabinets and installing those. I then bought three sheets of maple plywood and built some bookcases, and added a wood countertop and a seat under the smaller window. By combining wood tones with the grayish blue paint, I felt like it provided the perfect moody … feel.”

This wasn’t the first time Adriana has built furniture, but it was the first time she put together a bookcase. She says that she took her time learning the ins and outs from online tutorials, and once she got the hang of it, it was easier than she anticipated. “Do not be afraid to build anything, you would be surprised by how easy it is sometimes,” she advises. “If you have never built anything, start with something small and gain confidence.” 

Woodworking projects add a wow factor. 

On the wall opposite the desk, Adriana put up wood slats behind the television as a feature, which mimic the lines of the wood on the back of the bookcase. “I was not able to finish a console table to go under the TV, but it is a project I’m doing soon,” she adds. She framed the existing world map in wood on the nearby wall, and stained it in the same Red Chestnut color from Minwax that’s throughout the room. 

Furniture and decor complete the space.

As for the furniture to complete the makeover, Adriana did the most cost-effective thing. It’s likely what kept this project to a $2,500 budget. 

“I actually shopped my own house,” she says. “Since I spent a lot on wood for this project, I decided that bringing in things we were no longer using elsewhere was the way to go.”

A cream-colored rug adds an airy contrast to the floor, while the dark-toned desk and black chair coordinate with the decorative bookcase beneath the map. And that maple-hued leather seat is the perfect place for her husband to take a call — or a nap — if he likes. 

“I really did not have any setbacks in this project, but I will say that trying to keep within the eight-week timeline was pretty hard while also trying to manage a household,” she says. “I wouldn’t do anything different, though. I love how it turned out.” 

This project was completed for the Fall 2023 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.