Before & After: My Scandinavian Home Office Make-Over
Do you work from home? I’ve been sitting at my little desk in the corner of my bedroom for just over two years now. There are many pluses and minuses of working from home, but one of the things I truly love is having total autonomy over how my work space looks – no LED strip lights in sight! So why hadn’t I done anything to spice it up (I mean, really spice it up) for over six years?! The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with my office (it even appeared on the front cover of a book once upon a time!) but it began to feel well, a bit tired and I had started migrating to the kitchen table or a nearby café instead (they do serve great chocolates muffins so it’s kind of understandable!). A friend of mine from Greenland told me recently that if you’re not using the space for the purpose it’s set out for, you need to re-think it. Wise words indeed! It was time to make a change…
My home office occupies a corner in between the stairs and balcony at the far end of our bedroom on the very top floor of our house. The area I have to play with is pretty mini: approximately 3.4 metre square (36 square foot), which is open on one side. Here’s a quick overview of the dimensions (as you can probably tell, I’m not a trained designer – the lines were drawn with the side of a magazine!) but I hope it gives you an idea of the area.
While I wanted the office space to blend in, I also wanted to create a distinct space where I could sit and work, store all my books and have all my bits and bobs to hand: in other words, a complete mini office where I can work on my billion dollar deals (if only!). This meant re-configuring the space and picking up some new pieces such as a smaller desk to fit the shorter side of the space and a row of shelving opposite. Here is the original moodboard (put together with the help of designer extraordinaire Genevieve Jorn who also worked with me on the design of my adjoining bedroom):
It has the warm brown, chestnut and netural tones which I love and felt earthy, calm and relaxed. I ended up changing the artwork selection to make it more personal and swapped out the rug for a similar one I already had. See further down the post for the final selection!
I can’t tell you how nervous I was about the Norwegian Wood paint colour (by Jotun) – it’s quite possibly the boldest I’ve gone – eeeek! But I loved its warm, woody notes and was willing to give it a go! I tested a sample on the wall (it’s always a good idea to observe the colour over a number of days to see how it looks in various lights) and was so thrilled with it!
To the paint the entire wall I stripped away the shelving to the right too. FYI I’m absolutely no painting and decorating pro – but I’m learning paint splodge by paint splodge! After prepping the area with a damp cloth, tape and newspaper, I used a roller for the bigger areas (long strokes and a generous amount of paint is key) and a smaller paint brush to go around the edges and tighter corners.
Oh yes, and in order to create cohesiveness with the rest of the room I painted the entire wall below in the same Norwegian Wood colour. Of course, once I finished, I realised the back wall now looked a little yellow next to my lovely new accent wall – so this required a fresh lick of white – phew!
With the paint finally finished it was time for the fun part. To put the furniture and all my gear back in place! Here’s how it’s looking…
I was so happy to finally get around to putting up a moodboard of some of the items that inspire me right now. One challenge I still have though is the radiator. While it’s going to be great for keeping my toes toasty in the winter, I’d much rather it was the same colour as the wall – next project?!
Hanging the artwork!
I didn’t want to mess up my new, sparkling white wall with trillions of unnecessary holes- so I used an interior design trick I learned from Gen a while back (you may have seen it in this post). It’s a really safe way to avoid making mistakes!
Here’s a step by step guide:
1. Take a large roll of paper and draw around each of the pictures you intend to hang. Cut out the template. 2. Stick them on the wall with blu-tac – and play around with the templates until you have a composition you’re happy with. Quick tip I learned: artwork looks best if it’s around two thirds of the width of the furniture beneath it (of course rules are there to be broken and this is definitely not an instruction – more a guide if you’re feeling stuck!). 3. Measure the distance of the hook on the back of the picture (both vertically and horizontally) 4. Mark out the same spot on your template on the wall. 5. Hammer a nail through the marked out spot 6. Tear away the template leaving the nail in place and you’re ready to rock!
I hope you like the results! It was a fun project, but best of all I’ve got myself a shiny new work space (I’ll have to do a take-out on those muffins instead!!
I’ve put together a quick guide on where a few of the items are from below. If I’ve missed anything just give me a shout in the comment section below!