Have you been thinking about turning that junk room or guest room into a home office? 

Though you may have been forced into the whole “work from home” thing along with many recently, I had been working at home on my little online business for more than eight years. 

With a laptop computer, we can work almost anywhere. The couch, the bed, the kitchen table, a little corner somewhere in the house, and in the past maybe the coffee shop, would serve as mini offices. 

Where do you set up and go “to work” when you’re at home? After moving to this little apartment, my couch was my office for quite some time. It was doable, but there’s nothing like having your own dedicated space, is there? 


Desktop accessories with "Creative Tips" Text

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Your own home office space. Does that feel like a dream? 

How would it feel to make that dream of yours become your reality? My home office space has been on quite the journey of getting to this place where it is today. Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing with you what I did along with creative tips to help YOU turn YOUR space into a cozy productive spot that you LOVE. 

Let me give you a little background on that journey. We’ve been living in a small two-bedroom apartment for a couple of years temporarily. It feels like forever, especially since everything we own — our whole house minus the house — is in storage several states away. That has caused us to get creative and make the most of our temporary life in an apartment. My fingers are crossed that God will show his favor and we’ll be able to acquire our new home soon. But, in the meantime, we live in joy and expectation. 

When we first moved here we purchased a love seat from the thrift store, each day I would set up my office on that little sofa. It worked, but at one point I graduated from the couch to a dining table in our spare room. Doesn’t everyone have a round table in their apartment’s spare bedroom? Probably not, but that table we redid with elbow grease and paint was great for creating table settings and being able to leave them in place until the light was just right so I could photograph them. It was also wonderful for creative DIY projects I love doing. But, not so great for using the table as a desk. 


Spring Table Setting


That small room was cramped with the round table which usually had the leaf in to maximize surface space, not to mention the odd youth desk someone thought I needed, and the big heavy men’s oak dresser that became my craft storage center. Even so, I had a happy heart. It was MY space and this small spare room had two windows with a great view of the treetops. That, my friend, is a big win!

Even though my heart was grateful for the space on so many levels it really wasn’t working all that well for me, so one day I had enough and started devising an economical solution. 

The first thing was to find a desk. I searched a lot of places and finally found one online that was small and yet spacious and affordable. (A chair was next on my list so I couldn’t drop my whole budget on a desk.)  An L-shaped desk is so helpful when you need space to spread out papers, or when you’re working on multiple projects at once. Plus, since I also create here, it gave me the space I needed, even for setting up my sewing machine. 

There was one thing, though. The desk I ended up getting because the price was right, wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Okay, it was exactly what I wanted, but, you see, the choice at the time was white metal legs with a dark almost black walnut top OR black legs with a not-so-pretty blonde desk top. Perfect, but not. 


Black and White L-Shaped Computer Desk


This just might be the most important tip anyone will ever give you…

Before you pass on “not quite perfect” take a second look, you just might be able to easily customize it!

Actually, you can change or remake anything!

Yup! You do not need to be constrained by color. You see there is this thing called paint and it is amazing.  It’s fabulous for NEW items as well as thrift-store finds. 

The order was placed! While I eagerly awaited the FedEx truck’s arrival, I donated the impractical youth desk with the too-small kneehole and the dining table to a mission thrift shop in town.

With my desk on the way, I went shopping for a chair. A kitchen chair works, but I sit for many hours and I wanted a chair I could be comfortable sitting my bony bum on. After testing out lots of chairs at the office supply store I kept my eye open for other possibilities as nothing I had seen was all that amazing. 

One evening I walked into TJ with a young friend and discovered that they had just created a huge display of furniture. There were quite a few desk chairs to my surprise. Frankly, the desk chair I purchased wasn’t my first choice in fabric, but the tan and cream herringbone design was soft and workable. Plus the chair seemed like it would be comfy, at least more so than any other chair I had tested, and so it came home with me.


New Desk Chair for the Office


The next day the desk arrived and we quickly assembled it. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t do away with the white legs of the desk fast enough. It was time for another shopping trip for some amazing Rub’nBuff wax metallic finish.


Tube of Rub'nBuff Metallic Paint

If you choose to use Rub’nBuff to change the color of your desk or table legs, be prepared that it will take a little more time then painting, but soooo very worth the extra effort. I chose a metallic antique gold color that would complement the nail tacks in my new desk chair. In fact, I layered two colors to get the look I wanted (the other, I’m unsure and the tube has disappeared, sorry). Except for metallizing two fingers, it really was a pretty easy task and not as messy as painting.


Metallic coated finger

Just a little side note: I discovered that a drop of lemon essential oil with a drop of coconut oil was amazing for cleaning the Rub’nBuff from my fingers! And it smelled so good too!! 

For me this office transformation took time. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone and most of all I was looking for furniture and decor that was VERY budget-friendly and would meet my needs. Please keep this in mind for yourself, too. Because of HGTV and other makeover programs, we’re used to seeing immediate transformations. If you have the budget and desire to do that — go for it! That’s just not me. The journey of discovery is part of the fun. 


Computer Desk with Comfy Desk Chair


It was great having a wonderful new desk and chair, but next on my list was getting a small armchair. I wanted to be able to sit in my space and read and dream and meditate and stare out the window from a comfy chair while awaiting inspiration for my next project.

Several months later, around the time of my birthday, Tim and I happened into Pier 1. I spied a few chairs and tried them out. There was one style that seemed the most comfortable for my 5-foot 5-inch body and Tim thought it was comfortable too. As we were looking at it, the saleswoman said that if I ordered it online I could get a special holiday price on top of the sale price that was already on it, so I went online to do that. It was then that I found that I could pick up my order at the store, but it would be the floor sample. So I went back to the store and asked if they discounted floor samples. They do, but with the caveat that the item is not returnable. I was fine with that since it was what I wanted and I liked the fabric. All the savings added up. I took home a chair that in the end was on sale for 60% off!! When we’re not in a big hurry, opportunities present themselves.

Small Home Office with Comfy Striped Chair and Computer Desk & Chair


There was one little thing about the chair I wasn’t crazy about. The color of the legs (Surprise!). The blonde legs gave it a beachy feel to me, which I’d love if I were going for the coastal vibe, which I wasn’t. A little paint to the rescue and voila! I updated my chair with beautiful black legs. Quick and easy. Yippee! (I did the same to the desk chair — you can see that in an earlier photo.)


Multiple photos of chair & leg & paint


My desk is a computer desk and doesn’t have any drawers for storage of any kind. I knew that when I purchased it. Finally, I decided on a very economical storage solution, a simple set of plastic (Yes! Plastic!!) rolling drawers to hold pens, paintbrushes, copy paper, receipts, and more. You might say it’s not a perfect match to the desk and I will whole-heartedly agree. However, because it is a dark gray, it pretty much visually disappears. AND since I’m giving you a private peek inside my office, no one else but you knows or cares and the bottom line is that I can live with it. Now if it were bright white or turquoise or orange, well, that might be another story. This, however, works. 

To keep the drawers looking a bit more classy, you can slip a piece of cardstock cut to size inside the front of the drawer and it cleans up whatever might otherwise look messy to the eye. But, do that only if it’s an issue for you.


Home Office Plastic Rolling Cart Storage System with Hidden 'Stuff' Trick


Because I wanted you to see what it looked like with and without the lined drawer front, I took a quick shot for you. It really does make a surprising difference. I grabbed some double stick tape to attach a scrap of dark blue wrapping paper to cardstock cut to size and slipped that into the drawer fronts. In a perfect world, I would have found a dark gray to match the dark gray of the drawer system, but that’s another trip to the store and I already have the paper and blue is one of my quiet colors — hello blue stripe in my cute chair! 

Practical NOT Perfect!

Remember when you’re creating your home office you can create it just the way YOU want it. Focus on what is important to YOU. It’s not going to be splashed all over Instagram unless you want it to be seen by everyone. Sometimes we get so carried away trying to make things look Pinterest perfect that we miss out on the fun and forget the joy in pleasing ourselves.

Practicality isn’t always pretty or perfect, but that’s okay. Sometimes one side of the room looks pretty good while the other is basically transitional storage. At least for a time or season. 


Small apartment with dresser for craft storage and printer and misc stuff.


This peek I’m giving you of my home office is one of a transformation IN PROGRESS. I made a few mistakes along the way, including one that I’ll be sharing with you in the NEXT POST! And there will be another post following that showing you how I created a classy and workable storage solution for the messy side of the room AND MORE, plus the FINAL REVEAL.


Small Home Office with Desk & Chair & Lamp


Mistakes are inevitable and as I mentioned earlier, they can be happy opportunities as well. I’m excited to share my pricy mistake with you here in Part 2, as well as the “after” photos of my home office makeover in Part 3. Yes, it really does go from home office/storage room to a cozy and super productive and I think classy home office space!

In the meantime, let me know if you’re working on creating a work from home office or workspace. Maybe you’re just in the dreaming stage. What do you hope for your space? Or if you’ve got a home office you love, what are you loving most about it? 

Wishing you... An Extraordinary Day!

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  1. So timely! I started the whole stay at home thing with an agenda which deflated rapidly, leaving a kind of chaos.
    I finally made a plan, but after living with that set up for a few weeks, it was on to the guest room. Who knew that moving the bed a few feet could be transformative! Shopping the house for now and I’m quite pleased with the appearance – now to get into the project that has been stalled for so long and see how it works in real time. I’ll be coming back to this post and look forward to the rest of them as I know I will need more of your creativity, Diane.

    • Isn’t it interesting how things can quickly “go south” for all kinds of reasons? Yay to making a plan! I’m so happy for you Elaine to have the fun of motivation and transformation finally! Enjoy shopping the house and making your space amazing!! And thanks for taking time to leave your kind words. {hugs}

  2. Minnie says

    YES! I have missed you Diane!
    I’m so happy you are well and back.💜
    I can not wait to for all the show and tell to come. So far so good. Looks beautiful and purposeful.
    Blessings to you!

    • Diane says

      Awww, Minnie, I really missed YOU and your cheerful can-do attitude!
      Thank you so much for your sweet words. You always make my day!

  3. Debbie says

    Missed you, Diane!
    Prayers and blessings from the UK.
    Also looking forward to your next posts.

    • Diane says

      Big big hugs to you Debbie!!!!
      What a blessing you are!
      Thanks for taking time to let me know you stopped by. You truly made my day! <3

  4. Teri Smith says

    I’m also so glad to hear from you again Diane. Even when you send something that may not apply to my life circumstance at the time, I still enjoy reading your post & most often glean something good from it. I’m looking forward to seeing how you transformed your storage area on the one side of the room. Thanks!

    • Diane says

      Terri, you’re the BEST!! I’m delighted to hear from you and read your kind words of encouragement.
      The final post with the storage area transformation is in progress and will be out later this week. In the meantime, the reveal of the desk side of the office should have popped into your inbox yesterday. (Sorry to be so late in replying.)
      Have an extraordinary week!! <3

  5. Julaine says

    So happy to see a new blog post from you! I always learn something from every one of them. Looking forward to the next one!

    • Diane says

      Julaine, you are sooo sweet!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouraging words! I’m truly blessed!

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