Before and After: An Unruly Office Gets an Organized, IKEA-Hacked Redo for $2,500

published Aug 17, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: home office with brown desk next to a stationary bike
Credit: Crissy Metz

In a home office, it’s important to be able to have some things out and ready for quick use (a printer, a planner, or a calendar) and others tucked away (file folders, small electronics and cords, or project supplies).

In Crissy Metz’s home office, she had no room for either, really. “It didn’t have any shelving to display decor and books. I didn’t have access to all of my office supplies,” she says. “There was no space for my crafting supplies … I needed storage, organization, and a display area.”

Credit: Crissy Metz

The furniture she did have was “dark and scratched up,” Crissy says, and the minimal yellow builder-grade lighting made it hard to work in the space. “I needed to change the lighting to make the space easier to work in,” she adds.

As part of the One Room Challenge, Crissy added built-in shelving to better organize the space — and she revamped its style, too. The best part? She was able to skip building from scratch, and instead hacked four SONGESAND dressers and four BILLY bookcases (two narrow, two wide) to create her new organized look for around $2,500.

Credit: Crissy Metz

“I had to make several trips to IKEA to obtain the furniture pieces that I needed,” Crissy says. “I installed and secured the dressers, then made the countertop using three 2x8x14-foot pieces of wood.” She glued the wood pieces together, planed them, and then stained the wood using a gray Minwax stain.

“I was nervous about putting the three 2x8s together and gluing them and not really feeling the seams,” Crissy says. “It’s not perfect, but for my first countertop, I’m extremely proud of it!” For security, she attached the countertop to the dressers and the shelving to the countertop and wall.

Credit: Crissy Metz

To make the shelving look seamless and built-in, Crissy continued the room’s crown moulding around the top of the bookshelves. She also added trim to the fronts and added moulding where the bookshelves and countertop meet, then filled in all the holes and caulked all the seams. Crissy also added an ikat pattern wallpaper to the back of the shelves for some extra interest.

“I did the entire project myself, only asking for help from my boyfriend to carry the countertop into the room and lifting the book shelves on top of the countertop,” she says.

Credit: Chrissy Metz

In addition to the built-ins, Crissy spruced up her once-dark and drab furniture. She refinished the desk with a new coat of paint and sealer, and she repainted the bench by the window plus added new gold legs.

Crissy reused much of the same artwork and decor as before, but she did add new blue curtains and a new brass light fixture to the space — the latter of which made a big impact, Crissy says. “The lighting is so much better, and it’s easier to work at night,” she says. (An important part of a functional office!)

Credit: Crissy Metz

After that, Crissy added finishing touches: new hardware and some organizational bins to the drawers. “I have space to store items rather than having them out in the open,” Crissy says. “I hid my cords so that they are not dangling from my desk that is in the middle of the room. Overall it’s a lighter and brighter space.”

And it’s definitely one that’s more conducive to getting good work done!

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