Over the Summer holidays last year we converted the spare room, previously a dumping ground for all outgrown clothes and other odds and ends, into a beautiful home office so I could have a proper workspace. It’s no exaggeration to say that I absolutely love it. This room has become my personal space, my haven, my retreat.
I can curl up on the daybed to read or play on the Switch during breaks from working, I have a proper place to put all my work and blogging related things, and I don’t have to have a big ugly desk taking up a huge amount of space in the living room anymore. We can still have guests to stay, and I even have a dedicated wrapping paper drawer. I don’t know quite why that pleases me so much, it just does.
Watch the tour
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Most of the furniture in the room is IKEA. We went for the Brimnes day bed, a combination of Kallax and Billy shelving units, and the Alex/Linnmon desk. I’ve also got a Kvissle letter tray, and Tjena magazine files & storage box. The side table is a bit of an IKEA hack, which I will blog about in detail another day.
The desk chair is the only bit of non-IKEA furniture, as it is a very comfy cast-off from James’s work, even if it is a bit ugly – when it comes to a chair I sit in for hours each day I’ll shamelessly prioritise comfort over style.
On the bed, a double duvet is folded in two on top of the mattress, and tucked into place with the giant (and oh-so-super-soft) blanket. The four pillows for the bed are folded in two and stored in the grey and white cushion covers, and I have a few blankets to snuggle under when I’m chilling out on the bed. My LEGO models of Wall-E and the London skyline are on the windowsill, along with a little lightbox.
As for the other accessories… The rug and the clock are from Asda, the bin and the blind are both from Wilko, and the Harry Potter touches are either Primark or Paladone.
On my desk
My work computer is a beast of a machine – a hackintosh – that we built ourselves. The main body sits in the top shelf of the Kallax unit next to the desk, and my rather large 4K monitor stands on the IKEA Alex add-on unit that is fixed to my desk. I use a Logitech washable keyboard that I’ve had for years now and still really love using (I’m pretty sure it’s been discontinued, but I would love it slightly more and buy it in a second if they brought out a Mac layout version), and an Apple Magic Mouse.
On my desk sits my Amazon Echo, a wireless charger for my iPhone, a powered USB hub, an electric wax melter to make the room smell good, Cozmo the robot (he is awesome!), and various other bits & pieces. I bought the lamp years ago from John Lewis, along with my giant sharpener pencil pot, and James bought me the Jelly Belly machine as they are my no.1 favourite sweets. I currently have a little ty Lion living on my desk too for some reason.
It’s a spare room too
The daybed pulls out very cleverly into a double bed, so we can still have guests to stay, which is really important to us. The mattress is actually two foam mattresses stacked up, so we just pull one off the other.
The DIY bit
Before we emptied and gutted the room, I made a plan. I’m a big planner when it comes to redoing rooms – I always make a diagram of the layout with all the new furniture to help me visualise what it is going to look like.
I listed everything we needed from IKEA – we were buying so much we needed to do an online order – and recalculated and remeasured about 100 times. The day bed was our biggest worry – would it fit, or wouldn’t it?! The measurements had millimetres to spare, and in the end I had to remove a section of skirting board to fit it in. That bed isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – the frame had to be built the other end of the room before being lifted and dropped into place!
We did all the prep work, decorating, and flat pack construction ourselves. Once the room was cleared out we prepped the walls by filling the holes and dents, sanding them and washing them down with sugar soap, before painting all but one wall grey, with a white undercoat. We painted the ceiling and all the woodwork white.
The room had a big piece of lino sitting on top of the dirty floorboards, so we took the lino to the tip and hired sanders to strip the boards back. Next, we did a bit of a cheat whitewash effect to lighten up the floor boards with a coat of watered down white paint before varnishing. We didn’t put too much on as I didn’t want it to be too white or to cover up the grain of the floorboards, but just enough to make a visible difference.
It took around 5 or 6 days of really hard work to finish the floor, but it looks great so it was definitely worth the effort.
Once the floor was done I hung the wallpaper, which I really love. I chose the bookshelf wallpaper first and chose the paint to match, and it looks great together. I wanted a soft grey, but not a cold one, and couldn’t be happier with how it has turned out. I’d never hung “paste the wall” wallpaper before so it was a bit of a learning experience, but I managed it and it looks pretty good, even if I do say so myself. I always wanted a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves, but now I’m a fully Kindle convert this was the only way it was ever going to happen!
James replaced the lightswitch with a smart Lightwave RF one, so that the light can be controlled by a remote control or by Alexa, as well as by using the switch.
The last thing to do was to build the furniture – which the girls loved helping me with, while dressed in fancy dress – and move everything in.
I’ve been using the room since September, and am so pleased with it. The money and the time and the hard work we put into transforming this room was so worth the effort.
I feel much more productive with a proper work space, and as I am working more and more as the months go on, having a proper office makes it more enjoyable. Now that both girls are at primary school together, I can spend a good chunk of my day in my office, so it’s lovely that it’s such a nice space.
So there you go – my home office. Well done if you got all the way to the end of this blog post, I’m impressed!