Starting to DO

So I’ve now been in my new home for 3 and a half months. I’ve spent a lot of time planning and researching, in particular getting to the bottom of the best approach to electrics and best approach to plumbing (posts on both are in progress if you’re looking for any advice on planning either!). I’ve also been gathering lots of inspiration – and if you want some too check out my Pinterest boards. I’ve collated over 1600 pins now, lots of which are DIY ideas for all areas of the home. And I’ve started a Feng Shui assessment to provide some more guidance on how to best harness the energies in the home. You can check out my introduction to Feng Shui , prior to my full assessment of Feng Shui applied to my home, following shortly. So it really is time to get stuck into some doing, and the room that’s first on the hit list is my home office.

The Home Office

The Office to be

The first room I’m tackling is the smallest bedroom, which I’m making my home office. Hopefully having one good organised space will help me stay organised in the rest of my life as well. Also tackling a small room will give me a good idea of the sorts of issues I may or may not encounter as I work my way round the house. As you can see, I just dumped my boxes of files and magazines in here when I moved in. I’ve now largely cleared in out in order to start stripping the wallpaper:

The almost empty Office

At 2.5 metres x 2.2 metres, the room is actually bigger than the office in my last home, so I feel quite spoilt. As I’m taking on more electrical work than expected and this is the start of my home renovation journey, I’m aiming to keep costs to the minimum for this one too. So I’m shopping my home to see what I can re-use in the space. The furniture in the picture will get re-used, with the exception of the chair, which is really uncomfortable. Fortunately I’ve already found a super comfy alternative, courtesy of The British Heart Foundation shop in town. If you follow @thecchome on Twitter, you may have already had a sneak preview…

The Home Office: Requirements and Challenges

Close-up of the current wallpaper and trim

Here’s what I’m looking for from my office:

  • Well lit. Currently there is a light in the corner of the room. I’m going to move it to the centre and put in a more powerful overhead light. I need some task lighting as well.
Strangely positioned light in the corner of the room
  • Warm! The previous owners installed a new radiator and it pumps out heat, but it’s no match for the high ceiling! A post on how to calculate radiator sizes for your rooms to follow shortly
A rather bijou radiator
  • A cosy carpet will help warm the space as well. The current carpet has served it’s time. I’m keeping an eye out for remnants in the hope of getting one at a good price.
  • Lots of power points. I only have 1 single electric socket in the room. It’s not really enough for a laptop, printer, battery charger, shredder, mobile phone charger….so increasing the number of power points is in the plan.
My one power socket, and the carpet showing it’s years of service – it’s ready to retire
  • A large desk and plenty of storage. I work from home so I have lots of files of paperwork. There is also my extensive magazine collection to find a home for, and my boxes of paint, wallpaper and flooring samples!
  • A decent sized pin-board. Who doesn’t need that? I have some ideas of what to do.
  • A window covering, including some blinds or voiles. The room is west facing, which means lots of sunshine in the afternoon – sometimes that’s a bit too much glare for a computer screen
The current curtains
  • I also need to update the door handle. This is what I currently have:

    The Office Door with it’s basic plastic handle

So I basically need what everyone needs from a home office!

Planning your Home Office

My top tips for the main considerations in planning your own space are:

  1. Think carefully about what sort of storage you like. Do you like files on view and easy to hand, or covered up behind closed doors?
  2. How big does your desk need to be? If you work entirely on a laptop and don’t need separate paperwork, you might like a small desk, freeing up more space for other furniture. If you like to spread out, have lots of paperwork, or are using your desk for art or crafts, then go large! You won’t regret it.
  3. If you’re doing any electrical work, then consider what to do at the same time. If you want/need network cabling, a TV or satellite point, lights moving, power sockets adding…. it’s better to do it all in one go.
  4. When in the day are you most likely to use your home office, and where does the light fall at that point? That will help you determine where is best for your desk and whether your need more lighting or to screen out natural light.

Shopping Your Home

I don’t want to spend a lot on this room and I’m always keen for a bit of upcycling, so I’ve had a good look at what I already own. I have some existing furniture which will meet my requirements, but I’m thinking about how I can change them so the room looks cohesive, rather than a dumping ground of furniture! Here’s the results of shopping my home:

  • Existing desk and large shelving unit – Ikea purchases that have both been with me over 10 years and done good service so far, but are looking a bit worn now. The shelving unit is no longer available at Ikea. The desk was a desk top and legs purchased separately. Ikea no longer stocks the same styles (a plywood top and birch legs) but has a good mix and match selection to suit all styles and budgets.
The Ikea desk, shelving unit and filing cabinet
  • There’s also a filing cabinet in the picture above that’s perfect for stationary. Also Ikea, but no longer stocked. This one by Bisley is similar.
  • 2  large Billy bookcases – gifted by a friend, and I’m not turning down free storage! The pic below is from the Ikea website. Mine are currently in pieces in the garage.
The tall Ikea Billy Bookcase
  • Another sturdy bookcase if I need it – gifted to me for free, can you guess where it came from? How have I never realised my entire home comes from Ikea?
Ikea Hemnes bookcase
  • Spotlight fitting – one I bought for my last home and never fitted. I need to economise somewhere, so the light is getting used! This one is a similar smaller version:
Norte Spotlight

So that’s the result of shopping my home! How would you tackle those pieces to bring them together?

To Wallpaper – or not?

I originally was convinced I’d wallpaper this room. I’ve seen some really exciting papers, and you can see a few on my Home Office Ideas Pinterest board. However I’ve realised a lot of the room will be covered by bookcases and storage. So is it worth wallpapering? Or should I wallpaper one wall, or the bookcases or storage boxes instead?

Next steps for the Home Office

The main expenses I’ll have in this room will be sorting the electrics and plumbing, a new carpet, and paint and/or wallpaper. My next post on the Office I’ll share the mood board, and hopefully some progress in preparing the room! What would you do with the space? And how would you tackle the furniture pieces to bring them all together? Or are you planning your own home office revamp? Share your approach!

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