And the downstairs saga continues! If you have been reading along you know we have been renovating the main floor of our house. The 3rd and final stop on this reno is our home office. It is actually a bedroom, but since we have 4 and only really use one, it didn’t make sense to use this one as a bedroom too. Office it is.
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When we first bought That 70s House, this room was basically ignored.
From the beginning, we knew this room would be our office, but the only “office furniture” we had was an old overstuffed filing cabinet, a falling apart wooden desk I bought 10 years ago at a second hand store, and a cheap $20 bookcase. This was not what I had in mind for our grown-up office. We took on a lot when we first bought the house and were trying not to let spending get out of control, so we put in a ceiling fan and painted the walls and ignored the rest. This was going to have to wait for another day. Well, that day was now here!
I have always loved the idea of having a “built in” office for a few reasons. A) It feels custom. B) I really dislike the options on the market for office furniture. I feel like most office furniture is WAY overpriced particle board or its super fancy old world, whiskey bar in a globe (not my style). C) A lot of office furniture doesn’t seem practical to me…….No I don’t want a desk that has no drawers…..then it’s just an overpriced table, seriously! Hence the built in office concept.
The Hunt For A Real Home Office
I started looking online at places that do custom closets and cabinets and such to see what we were up against in terms of cost but most of these sites don’t actually list prices. Call me crazy, but I really hate wasting my time making myself available, usually during work hours when I would be at that thing I call a job, to be home to get a quote from someplace to install something in my house only to find out the quote is not even remotely logically in our budget. I HATE that! My time is very valuable and I respectfully recognize that yours is too. Lets do each other a favor and be upfront about things, shall we?
Anyway, with no real insight into the cost of such a project, we made a trip to Home Depot one day (on the weekend no doubt) and sat down with one of the cabinet people to price out a custom cabinet office. In this design, we did an “L” shaped desk out of base cabinets with two banks of drawers, one cabinet with doors and one filing cabinet with two drawers……..so 4 cabinets total. We also selected a laminate countertop for the work surface. This configuration would take up two of the four walls in our 10×10 office. The quote, $3,000! And they were on “sale”? We picked a very basic bottom of the barrel cabinet. They were “custom” but I would use that term very loosely as the only “custom” thing about them was the height and the filing cabinet drawer base. Normal base cabinets for a kitchen are 34.5″ high. A normal desk is about 28-29″ high. I wanted a “normal” desk height so I could have a “normal” desk chair on wheels. But $3,000 was not in the budget. Our max budget was half that at $1,500. Back to the drawing board.
Now I had to get creative. I literally thought about this office for about 9 months before I finally landed on the plan we used. You are going to laugh at me I am sure, but my favorite way to space plan is in Microsoft Excel. I know, that’s the accountant in me. I basically make Excel “graph paper” by resizing all the cells into little squares. Each square represents one foot. I then use insert shapes to create the pieces I want to put into the room. This helps me determine if everything is appropriately sized. One of my biggest pet peeves is too much furniture in a small room. So I did this MANY times for our office. But the great thing about using excel rather than drawing is you can just copy and paste over and over and just “re-arrange” your pieces. A lot more efficient than drawing everything all over. I know you are probably thinking I should just use design software, but I haven’t found one I like yet, so maybe someday I will but for now I just think this is easier and free 🙂
When I do finally come up with a plan, I normally have to sketch it out so Barry can visualize it 🙂 So that’s what I did. I’m almost as good as Picasso, don’t you think? Haha!
You are probably wondering how I came up with this configuration. After dwelling on it for months, I found several pieces at Ikea that I felt would work. They weren’t the exact specifications I originally had in mind, but with a little manipulation, I could make our very small 10×10 room into a dual office. In the beginning, I didn’t really think I wanted a dual office, but as Barry and I thought about it more, we changed our minds. We ended up using the following pieces from Ikea…. 1 Gallant drawer unit, 2 Gallant drawer unit/drop file units, 1 Gallant 3 shelf unit, 1 Gallant 2 shelf unit (it looks like they no longer carry this piece), 2 Besta shelf units with doors, 4 Lilltrask countertops, and 3 Olov legs. All items were purchased in white.
Determining the actual setup was not the only thing we did in here. This room also had that awful vinyl flooring we removed from the half bath and hallway. We were so excited to see that go! Not sure when or if that was actually ever in style. Anyway, before we could start any of the furniture installation, we had to lay the new flooring. I do not have any progress pictures of this because while we were laying the flooring in here, we were also having a new fence installed in our backyard and I failed to take pictures 🙁 I know……..I am a multi tasker and sometimes it doesn’t work out. Here is the office after we removed the old furniture and floor and re-painted.
And here is the office before we added the furniture.
Sometime during this project I re-painted the room with Mansard Stone by Glidden in a satin finish. It’s a dark gray providing a nice contrast with all of the white furniture I chose. I also had been dying to do a gray and yellow room so I pulled the yellow in with room’s accent pieces.
After two trips to Ikea (they didn’t have the countertops the first time we went) we had all the pieces and got to work on putting them together. If you have never put together Ikea furniture before, I would recommend at least one bottle of wine for this, maybe two if you have a lot to put together 🙂 There are NO words in the instructions only pictures. Undeniably, they do this because they would have to print them in like a zillion languages if they had words. I get it, but that doesn’t mean this is easy, hence the wine recommendation. I will say the pictures for the simple pieces like bookcases and even their dressers are pretty easy to follow, but the filing cabinets were confusing. I think several bottles of wine were consumed……Barry is smiling because he just started. See the wine glass on the window sill? I wasn’t kidding.
Once all the furniture was put together I got to work on accessorizing. Most of the items are from Home Goods, like that’s a surprise! But the pair of lamps and rug are from Target and I ordered the office chairs from Wayfair.
A Real Home Office IKEA Hack
Now I LOVE this room! It went from being a room I rarely even entered to being one of my favorite places to get some work done.
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