One Room Challenge

Before and After: This Dramatic $2,500 Home Office Redo Features a Totally Unique Closet DIY

published Dec 10, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Closets & Storage
Office & Dens
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Desk in corner of office with white walls

A couple days ago, Apartment Therapy shared a post about a kid’s bedroom that didn’t quite match the vibrant vibe of the energetic, imaginative boys who lived there, but something that’s not discussed as often in this mismatch that sometimes occurs in adult spaces, too.

If you want to feel creative, inspired, and motivated at work, it might help to have an office space that’s equally creative and inspired — and it’ll especially help to know that you brought it to life with your brain and your own two hands. This was part of why Rebecca Sullivan (@rebs_home) wanted to redo her home office, once a white box that served as a “landing space for everything.”

“I was working in this room every day, and the room made me feel uninspired,” Rebecca adds. “I would get stressed by the final box we had never unpacked, the pile of returns in the corner, and my overflow of shoes.” The other reason she wanted to redo the space was to help create work-life balance. “I really wanted to differentiate my working space from the rest of our home so I could mentally leave work every day,” she says — another great home office design point for WFHers.

During the One Room Challenge, Rebecca executed an eight-week plan “to create a calming space where [she] could feel productive and inspired.” Her redo cost about $2,500, and it involved a lot of DIY firsts.

“Before this project, I had dabbled in DIY but this project pushed my skills and abilities in new ways,” she says. “I started by adding chair molding and box molding around the room to help the room appear larger and add some character,” she says. “Next I added trim around the window and built shelves inside the closet. I really wanted to modernize the old built-in closet while also making the space more functional for an office.”

Rebecca painted the walls and trim in Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy (also to add character), and her final last couple of weeks in the project were spent flipping a couple of Facebook Marketplace furniture finds and adding cutouts and glass to the closet door fronts, which was the trickiest part of the whole project.

“I’m most proud of not giving up on adding glass to the closet doors,” Rebecca says. “It was a really challenging piece, and I was figuring out the steps as I went. There weren’t a lot of tutorials online to reference.”

As for the furniture flips, she sanded and painted her old desk black (using an orbital sander and matte black paint), and she revived a red-orange dresser by sanding it down to its natural maple tone and giving it a clear seal. She also added a couple of new pieces: a rolling desk chair from World Market and an armchair from IKEA. Lastly, she ditched the ceiling fan for a more modern seven-globe CB2 flush mount — and she loves the way all the details (new and old) come together.

“I’m so happy with how my office turned out,” Rebecca says. “I loved adding color, texture and pattern to this space.”

This project was completed for the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.