This summer I realized I needed a true office space to get stuff done. I’ve been working at the dining room table, on the sofa, and in my bed for 20 years. It was time for a true space to go into to actually get work done without distraction. By work I mean everything from writing this blog to paying taxes to actually opening my mail to freelance interior design work to working from home on my full time job. You know, the big things and the little things.
Now that the major Phase I renovations at Berrybrier are done, I’ve been getting the itch to use my free time to do more of the arts and crafts things I enjoy as well. An office space would allow me a space to paint and draw and get my craft on as well!
The last nail in the I-need-an-office coffin was something I realized in the last few months: I never use the second floor of my house – the entire second floor of my home! I had no reason to ascend the stairs, so I didn’t. That’s a good 400 SF completely ignored. Almost 1/3 of Berrybrier’s square footage! And projects like installing a door on my dormer were being completely ignored, because they were on the second floor. Out of site, out of mind.
Well, ladies and gents, I have a bedroom up here that would make the perfect office. It’s simple, east facing, and has the most beautiful spring views of blossoming trees. I slept up in this bedroom the first few weeks after buying Berrybrier in 2017, before transitioning back downstairs into the master bedroom. It was one of the nicer looking rooms in the house when I bought it.
The room has a cute little beadboard closet that has my heart and slopes with the ceiling, following the steep roof pitch. It’s an adorable space that lights up in the morning sun.
My Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Mike painted the room a light mushroom-y grey color (Benjamin Moore’s Brushed Aluminum) on a visit in February of 2018. The new look was fresh, modern, and clean. A blank slate, that was perfect for having people stay over in. I never really made it into a guest room, but rather had people rotating in and out of it for varying periods of time over the last 2 years.
Now, this blank slate space is ready for a revamp as an office. What are my office requirements? A desk looking out over the back
weeds and brambles garden and a chaise lounge or chair to curl up on when I’m done working in a hard desk chair.
What else? Well, let’s dream a little together.
I fell hard for the vibes of this little nook at the Emery Walker House in London. I love the colorful trim, happy wallpaper, wooden curtain rod, and antique furniture.
Elements I’m taking away from the above? That desk. All those desk vibes. The eclectic mix of paintings is also calling to me. I’ve been trying to make a gallery wall work in the Living Room, but just like “fetch,” it’s not happening. I’m thinking of pulling some of those pieces and making a gallery wall in this room instead. I’d die for some brass and copper pots like the ones in here too!
This space designed by Anna Haines for a home in Eton draws a lot of similar elements, but it reads a little more modern-traditional. I think it’s the lines of the desk chair and the classic, solid, and tonal drapery.
I’d kill for a desk chair that looks like that and is also comfortable and velvet. It looks so beautiful and the tones of the chair coordinate so beautifully with the drapery.
This next space is very inline with the previous two, but someone has carved out a small nook of their house for this office space and I am here for it! I die for that little corner chair too. My parents have a similar one with (faux?) mother-of-pearl inlay that was our time-out chair growing up and I kind of secretly harbor a grudge against it (wow, I promise I’m not as fancy as this sentence reads). I love the built-ins in this space, but that’s not going to happen in the little rooms here at Berrybrier — there’s just not enough space unless you carved backwards into the eaves (not a project I have any plans to tackle!)
What I’m taking most from the above is the lovely deep teal color. I’m 90% sure that color is happening in my new office! Just try to convince me otherwise.
The Ellis House in Australia is also super inspiring with it’s dark moody paint (I definitely need to try black paint somewhere in this house soon – dining room?!). I love this little office area in the main living room there. I want to know where everyone is buying these amazing antique portraits because I want like 5 for my home. This caned chair back with the upholstered is also stunning (and looks comfortable!). The white curtains contrasting in the space really give it a contemporary feel too.
Another dark and moody image I’m drawing major office inspiration from is this lovely little space. I love the black walls, the portrait and the little stools! My Aunt Chrisy has a sweet, little, antique, wood stool like that by her fireplace and it makes my heart flutter. I love the clean lines of the antique table and the color contrast of the leather chair. It’s simple and gorgeous and feels completely timeless.
So that’s where I’m at for my office vibe dreams. I’m working on collecting the pieces I need to bring this dream to life. I just recently found the perfect desk and I’m on the hunt for a chair and some portraits. I’m looking at teal paint swatches and debating how that will look if I paint the trim in the room the same green as the rest of the house. I think this picture makes me more divided on painting the trim green and pairing it with a smokey teal tone on the walls or painting it all the same color. The forest green poof makes me think the trim color could be really beautiful in green, but the rest of the room makes me want to paint all the walls and trim the same color — something I’ve done in several rooms (dining room, bathroom) in my house now.
This last image (while a bit too modern), makes me think maybe the walls could be stunning in a really deep teal and make the green trim pop. Black and white accents could make the space something really dynamic.
Guys, I’m so divided on which direction to go! I clearly need to start swatching some colors on the walls. What is your favorite option of these? Which makes your heart flutter? Which room would you be the most productive in? This is an office after all…
12 thoughts on “Office Inspiration”
If you are doing any work where color is critical (interior design or crafts) be very careful about painting everything a dark color – it will be harder to accurately perceive colors. Lighting will also be very important to those endeavors – use several light sources with daylight rather than soft white or warm white bulbs.. Unfortunately all your inspiration “offices” do not look to be heavily used, functional offices – they look to be mostly for show.
It’s a great point! And you’re right I will need to add more function to my space than this inspiration. I am lucky that I can keep so much digitally and this room is flooded with natural light throughout the day. I’m a huge fan of the desk lamp as well as overhead and other task lighting too.
Remember to consider is how much you’ll use the room at night when you don’t have natural daylight. If color critical work is mostly done during the day then the paint color might not matter much. You can always paint again if the dark teal of your inspirations has too great an effect on how colors are perceived. It will be difficult to tell until you try – and you might always be disappointed with the room if you don’t try.
Also – since you continued the neutral color walls and green trim up the stairway to the second floor hallway you should coordinate the teal with your green trim no matter what color you paint the trim in the room. But I’m sure you’ll pick a paint color that fits your whole house palette.
Yes it will definitely be a coordinating color that works with the whole house palette!
I love the current color because it is so neutral. Perhaps you could add your drama with moody curtains and pillows. Your chaise is in the teal color wheel. I think a splash of orange or yellow with the teal would look gorgeous., colorful carpet, and drapes. You will be spending a lot of time in there so maybe less moody and more joy?
Moody Color brings me joy!
I wouldn’t get any work done in any of those rooms because I’d just be looking at the room itself and enjoying it.
My favorites are the room with the little desk in the window, with the teal walls and the room with the two little stools. I love that battered looking leather chair, with the rug and the dark walls.
Can’t wait to see how your room comes out!
We’ll see if I can channel any of this inspiration thrifting over the next couple months!
I like the “library” looks the best, so #1–with its wallpaper, too!–wins my vote. However you do it, it will be gorgeous. 🙂
I know I love the wallpaper too! So beautiful!
I’m a big fan of wallpaper, myself. I think it can give a room sort of a jewel box look, especially at the top of the stairs.
Yes that’s exactly how I feel!