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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

How can I make my home office more appealing?

golubmFebruary 7, 2013
It's at one end of our attic, which is also used as a playroom and sometime guest room. It gets nice light but is just a desk surrounded by files right now. Should I keep the desk facing the window, and if so, what are some good office furniture ideas to include without sandwiching the desk in between them?
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Interiors International, Inc.
What you desperately need is an organizational system. This could be a built in or free standing furniture. I would go to Ikea. They have some great looking things at prices that don't break the bank. Do you work alone in here or do you see clients? If you do have people in than I would turn the desk and add a couple of chairs.
8 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:44PM
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What a beautiful space!! I don't love the desk facing the window. Your back shouldn't be to the door either. I agree with an organizational system. Maybe some greenery. Extra seating for you or clients. I love the light from the other window as well, maybe place your desk there. Some fun rugs would be great too! Love the paint color!
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:13PM
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hmm, I like the desk facing the window if that is where you sit a lot. The other option could be to turn the desk sideways, so depending on which side... left or right you have the desk placed, you can still look out the window and have an area on the other side of the desk for a chair or two if you do in fact have clients over
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:24PM
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3 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:31PM
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One thing to think of when making your plan is to avoid getting glare from the window on your monitor screen, If you can work out a good way to get power to it, I would put the desk facing into the room with a continuous line of deep shelving (and maybe some cupboards to hide messy things in) behind the desk at the height of the window sill.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:35PM
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My daughter's bedroom is a space very similar. We built everything in- desk, bookshelves & bureau drawers under the eaves- saved floor space, looks great & gives a cohesiveness to the space. You could build in the entire far wall, turn your desk around to face out & add some conversational seating chairs for clients/visitors.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:44PM
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You need filing cabinets, the two-drawer kind. Staples and Office Depot have good ones. Buy the good kind, not the $50 kind from the home center that are so flimsy they will drive you nuts. Ikea and Home Decorators have white ones that are more attractive than good old beige.

If the floor is carpet, get a plastic carpet protector to help your chair roll around and prevent it from getting the carpet dirty.

Also, you will need two good size waste baskets, including one for recycling paper if you have recycling near you. As you put files in the new file cabinets, weed out the files. Add a dust cloth and/or feather duster to a drawer.

Use the bookcase for books and binders. Don't just shove things on it because you don't have another place for them. A place for everything and everything in its place.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:47PM
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I'm just curious what the paint color is on the walls. It's beautiful.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Susan Mills Design
Elise, I like that Decorate with intention photo.

Built ins here make sense. Since you already have a desk perhaps make under the window a window seat for sitting and thinking. have the desk to the side so you can access storage while sitting, This would really make the area functional and hi lite the pretty window and the light from it. Designate this area for office, clear away the other things that are getting in the way. A soft roman blind n the window and a pretty chair facing the desk would be functional and make the space nicer for you.

If you put a sofa bed in the area under the eaves to the left of the stairs, with a wooden trunk to hold sheets and blankets and another easy chair, it would make a nice guest area when needed and a cosy space for your family. I would then suggest a screen to divide the two areas. Not a perfect solution but unless you have more space we can't see and a bigger budget, could work. Oh and I agree if you paint the ceiling the same colour it would look great.
10 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:53PM
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In Feng Shui they say placing a work area right under a window could lead to your brilliant ideas going out the window! But that's me and it resonated with me!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Maureen Randall
I would move the desk away from the window a bit and place your chair in front of window. Also, I would paint the desk a nice creamy white color and enlarge the work surface area with a piece of marble or granite. Buy stock cabinets (unfinished) and paint them the same color as well and add a counter top to that. Build it on both sides of the windows. Other than that, the space is gorgeous and I love the paint color of the room. Good luck and God bless!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:40PM
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have you considered painting the ceiling the blue and the walls a soft grey? Get some blue down on the floor in an area rug.
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9 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Thank you all so much for all the great ideas! This is my first time posting a question on Houzz, and what am amazing resource it -- you! -- are! Thank you all.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I'd try building in some storage in the alcove to the left so the boxes would be cleared out. How about a great light fixture to give the area some personality?
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9 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:00PM
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I always feel your home office should reflect who you are and what type of things you do.......like if you have kids make it friendly for them also or just you and you partner/wife collaborate on what you both like for what I see in the picture you have natural light coming in so a darker tone would look great and a small seating area with a activity desk(if kids)..........two area rugs...media area.............
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Beautiful wall color - what is it?
I agree with a previous poster about putting the desk to the left or right so your chair is to the left or right wall and you can then see out the window and also around the rest of the room.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Oh My God... Heres my 2 cents... Give yourself permission to use more of that space since it is a location you could be spending "time" in... It looks to me as if you are cramed into that one end of the room like a bunch of stuff stored in a garage. It is my experience that turning the desk possibly 180 degrees with your back to the window like the CEO of that space. You can get light from the skylight. Cram the spare bedroom part of that room in a corner, how often do you need the "spare lodgings"?
As for the "playroom" aside from the play noise and potentially tripping over toys and such you can cram that into the same corner as the spare bedroom idea. It looks like a great space just tell yourself and know that maybe you deserve not to be officed at the end of a bulldozed part of the room.
Mentally it will feel good for you I think
8 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Bring the white ceiling color all the way down the angled walls left of the desk. Then the teal straight wall will seem more architecturally vertical and minimize the look of the steep ceiling angle. Add white shelving and file drawers painted the same color as the angled white walls in between the window wall and the straight teal wall. Bring the front of the shelves almost parallel with the straight teal wall. You will lose some of the wall space behind them near the floor, but it will make the white shelving units look almost built in and will, again, make the side walls seem taller. You can mix and match shelves and file drawers according to your needs (and Ikea is a good place to start) but paint everything the same white as the ceiling and angled walls. A flat floor rug would also delineate the office area. The bed that is now in that space could be placed parallel with the window wall further down the wall away from the office area. Placing the bed in this angle will break up the long tunnel effect of the room.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Here's a project I did in an area like yours. Maybe it will give you some ideas.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:35AM
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Lisa Ward
I don't like desks to face windows but I'd have it facing the crip adjacent to the wall w/ the bed. with office storage. I'd put the bed under the side window and put three club chairs around an ottoman close eo where you see the sun light on the floor closer to the crib . I'd also put a a TV on the wall with the outlet and this fireplace paralell to the bed sorry the fireplace pix didn't download . anyhoo you need to spread out in the space creating zones
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:36AM
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Depending on your budget there are so many ways to set up an office under a sloped roof you could call a carpenter to build a proper nook for your needs . I don't think that I would like to have glare from a window in my eyes while on front of a computer ,this all depends on the time of day when you are doing your work ,at night it really doesn't matter .
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2 Likes    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:08AM
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The cabinet we built in to the knee wall is sloped at the top but there is plenty of room on bottom to put file cabinets and the TV was gone, even more file cabinets or shelves.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Color Zen
I would give Ikea a try, they have a surprisingly nice range of desk and storage options. I think white would look great. Add a few colorful accents and you'll have a pleasing work space. Good luck!
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Have storage unit built from ceiling to floor with the desk staying where it is,change that chair maybe white or acrylic. Get a sofa sleeper (light color) ,rug,and ottomon (for storing linens) bring the sofa sleeper from the wall and turn it facing the window (add shades to diffuse light for guest sleepovers. Place plants, artwork, and large vases in that area where the sofa was. Go with colors you like.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Check out Ballard catalog too, they have a lot of pieces that you can put together in a way to fit your space. I have some of their wood file cabinets I put next to a vintage deck and I'm impressed with the quality.
    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I agree a Roman Shade would look great in the window.
    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:29PM
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I love IKEA also. They have great solutions. I have seen Billy bookcases put in place with moulding added to make them look built in. What about a low divider between the office and the play area when all of the organization is done? That way you could still see in but have a more separate sense of space.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:45AM
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Please, please tell us your paint color! I am about to transform a bedroom into a home office, and that is precisely the color I have in mind!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:00AM
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If you are looking to update your room with modern contemporary furniture, check out our sofas.
We also have amazing Italian sleeper sofa mechanisms to fold out your bed without removing the cushions.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:08PM
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This might be a little eccentric but -- assuming you get the organization under control, I could see a fence with a gate (to match the bannister) across that vast plain wherever you think your office space ends -- then along it, possibly on both sides, some small potted evergreens. One end of the desk could go against the window. I'll leave the organization to someone else -- not my forte -- okay: an armoire?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:22PM
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I gather this is for a general office, not a business-at-home office? I would turn the desk lengthwise, letting the window make a "T." You still have your view, and a guest can sit across the desk from you, also basking in the sunshine. The "T" would give you your private space behind you, but allow guests to share the window without feeling like they were stretching over your work. You could also keep an eye on the kids. I would advise against built-ins or anything permanent until you've spent some time in the room, at least six months to a year.. Your needs will change, including lighting and seating and what you reach for constantly and what supplies you only need on a weekly basis, and never mind the outlets :-) You don't want to be hemmed in by anything you have to rip out. Ikea is neat and clean and new, if you like that look. I use antique filing cabinets on wheels, which double as printer bases, and old cedar chests. I bought everything at auction dirt cheap . I've rearranged it about four times in three years for better efficiency as my work changed. Anything unsightly from my mail order business goes behind decent-looking folding screens. You have a BEAUtiful room, please enjoy it. I love the potted plant idea, too.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I would do an L-shaped desk that is against the back wall and the wall to the left. I would have custom shelving above the desk on each wall and a short bookcase or cabinet against the right wall with drawers or wicker baskets.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:35PM
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But probably your chair is facing the window because you like looking out the window, so if the desk is perpendicular to the window wall and shoved over roughly symmetrical w/sofa, you can still situate yourself & your chair for the window show. Is that vertical wall this side of the sofa available for the armoire?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:15PM
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Eileen Kenah- Baird and Warner Real Estate
The Container Store has excellent systems. Their Elfa shelving can be either freestanding or affixed to the wall. They also have many other options as well.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:20PM
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No matter how hard I try, my home office is the place where clutter I need to sort through ends up. So, I recommend you turn the desk 180 degrees, and push it out to where its face lines up roughly with the end of the first alcove on the left - capture the whole second half of the room. I'd put a credenza under the window and use a narrow top to build in a bit of an L from the desk running back on the side of the skylight. Use that bump out wall for a large fabric covered pinboard / corkboard / ribbon covered inspiration board / white board above your nice desk. Now you have the area where the bed/futon/couch is to stash / stage stuff you need to get to later (hide clutter, things to return, gifts, etc. - you could even hang pale natural matchstick blinds from the slant that you can keep open most of the time, but drop when you need the area to look neat - make a short storage closet of it). I'd put my computer on the L under the skylight, so I could look left out window, right to see who's arriving, or up to the sky. A stacked system to the right of the window to use the vertical space, magazine holders are great for project papers you are working on that you aren't ready to file. To get in, you have to walk around and into your desk space, which will help keep kids out!

I'd paint the desk and L glossy black, but do everything along the walls white. Move the couch under the slope on the right before you get to the desk. FILL the room - take half for desk / office / shelves / boxes / put seating before your desk area.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:36PM
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1. You need a built in window seating ( to take a break when your tired of staring at the screen).
2. Need built in storage and organizational pieces.
3. Float the desk in the middle of the room with your back against the window.
4.YOU NEED DRAPERY and office accessories . Ex. Globe, map

5. Change your desk
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Definitely a storage system would be the best bet. enclosed on the bottom and just shelving at the top around the window. Grate space!!
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:23AM
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Thanks, everyone! Great ideas! Sorry, I thought I had posted the wall color: it's Ben More Woodlawn Blue (HC-147).
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:26AM
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If you turn your desk facing the camara, put a panel across the front to hide the cords. You could use a simple plywood covered in a fabric that's cute or get creative and make a stencil quote, add your monogram, a picture, a chalkboard, etc. One simple easy idea, if you get file cabinets (which seems to be thing most needed), you could get a tall one and one a little shorter to go beside it, on the wall that slopes & put cute baskets or fabric covered bins on top of each for items waiting to be filed, read, etc. it will follow the angle of the ceiling be cute & functional.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:04AM
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The first thing that came to mind was to set the office area apart by placing an area rug in the designated area.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:39PM
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just an ida
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Jane Beiles Photography
I photographed an office with such a similar layout - attached for your inspiration! Hope this helps - Jane Beiles
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I would pull the desk away from the window a few feet. Maybe turn it the other direction. That way you can see out both windows.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Sara Bederman Design
The space is such a lovely color! Consider adding a desk with a return to get more surface area and benefit from using more of the floor space. Position the desk with the main surface opposite the window so your back is to the window when you are working. This will create a defined work one. Also add lots of shelving and file cabinets for organization. Using glass and chrome furniture will make a nice impact.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Ruth Felice
I would bring in a hide a bed and a couple of comfy chairs then I would place the desk behind the couch(like a sofa table)and use sheving anclosed storage(built in drawers in the left hand corner)and maybe some breezy off white curtain with a pattern or color.some art would be nice too
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Keep the clutter to a minimum by scanning all your paper when you're finished with it. I use PaperPort Professional 14. Simple to organize. Get an HP laser MFP & don't look back, spend about $5-600 so it lasts a long time. I have all personal & professional documents since 2004 & can locate anything quickly. Back up, of course. No filing cabinets ever again. Use that space for something pretty, fun & interesting. Bring your work area way forward into the room with perhaps a round table & chairs. I can understand wanting to stay by the window & I'd do the same. I have many reference binders & am scanning them too into OneNote--binders on steroids. Have fun.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I used a hanging barn door system to separate my office from the rest of my attic space. There is space above the rail to allow for air flow and climate control. I used salvaged doors, the two on the ends are stationary and provide wall space. The inner two open and close.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:15AM
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Very cool -- reminds me of a Dickens storefront. Who wouldn't want to go to the office?
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Elena Babushkin
Hi, what color did you paint the wall? Looks great!
    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:54AM
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