Before and After: I Converted My Small Home Office into a Cozy English “Snug”

published Jan 12, 2024
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About this before & after
Home Type
Apartment
Project Type
Living Room
Office & Dens
Style
Cottage
Eclectic
Skill Level
DIY
Rental Friendly
No

Many apartment dwellers and homeowners — whether they’re empty nesters, work-from-homers, frequent hosters, or busy family wranglers — are likely familiar with shape-shifting rooms, aka rooms that are multi-functional or change functions over time. 

The little 45-square-foot room in my Seattle apartment has been through several decor phases over the four years I’ve lived here, but it has mostly served as my home office — my at-home HQ as a freelance food and lifestyle writer

However, I recently started my own interior design and styling business, Schieck Spaces, which meant it was time I had an office outside my home where I could spread out a bit. So not only do I get to decorate a new office (yay!), but I also get to create something new in this little corner of my apartment (again, yay!). With no burning needs for anything particularly utilitarian, this project was all about creating something I wanted

Bring on the bonus room vibes.

“I want it to be all couch, pillows, and patterns,” I said to a friend who replied, “You know what they call this kind of a room in England? A snug.” A room that you could snuggle up in to read, watch TV, listen to music, or just … be. YES. That’s exactly what this room is going to be, I thought. Having that name in mind gave me extra focus. When it came to furniture and styling, I started with two things: the couch and the wallpaper. 

The couch fits like a glove.

For the couch, I wanted it to be as snug (pun intended) as possible between the two walls in front of the window, and as deep as possible without extending further than the door frame. And I didn’t want it to have arms. 

I knew I’d be piling on the pillows to bring in pattern and color, and I wanted to have plenty of room for that without arms taking up precious inches, so I went on the hunt for this unicorn of a couch, and found it in the Piazza Couch from CB2. It fits so perfectly that it looks custom to the space.

I perfected pattern play in a small space.

For the wallpaper, I had my heart set on plaid, craving that traditional, English aesthetic that plaid tends to evoke. I’ve put up peel-and-stick multiple times in most homes I’ve lived in, but this is the first time I splurged on the good stuff that’s a little thicker and comes in pre-cut strips. I found the perfect pre-cut plaid option, and I will say that getting the pre-cut variety (versus rolls) was SO much easier to put it up because you don’t have to fret over cutting strips at the right length in order to line up the pattern. I highly recommend it.

Some other favorite finds were the floral shams that I stuffed with two pillows to provide extra supportive cushioning against the walls on either end.

I love the little details that add texture and pattern.

I also love the rust mushroom ottoman that’s perfect for propping up my feet when I’m watching TV, and the lighting. The sconces have a really pretty gold detail that runs down the wall to hide the cord, and I love the milk glass and small pop of pink of the pendant lamp. Then it was all about filling the shelves. I placed a TV, record player, and a few games on them, along with books, a stack of throw blankets, and other assorted pretty things.

The result? It’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever done in any apartment I’ve ever lived in. Simply put, it just feels good in there. The impulse is usually to do things to make a small room feel bigger, but I actually think if you embrace it and fill it to the brim with cozy textures and patterns, it embraces you right back. Whenever I’m really looking to rest and recuperate, I slip inside, close the door, and all the decor details just wrap me up — nice and snug.