I’m very fortunate to frequently work from home, so one of the “must haves” when we were buying our home was for me to finally have an office space so that I could “shut the door” on my home office. Up until we moved, my “office” consisted of me and a beanbag tray on the sofa; I dread to think the damage this did to my back!
One of the huge benefits of buying new builds is that the layout is very much designed for modern living. The number of people working from home has increased by a quarter of a million in the last decade, and the modern build home answers this need for a home office area. I was just thrilled to have my own room for work that would be a separate space from the rest of the house. As such, this was one of the first rooms I decorated.
This was the first decisions we needed to make. We chose the flooring before we even moved in so really had no concept of what we wanted in the room. We went for Amtico Flooring in a bronze floorboard effect. It reminded me of a New York loft style and was such a characterful tile amongst largely “safe” choices provided by the developer.
Thankfully the flooring is a feature in the room that I am totally thrilled with and I think adds a lot of character to the room. The light reflective nature of the bronze finish means that the deep colour does not drown the room.
This room was the first room where I decided to go really bold with the colour choice. I adore teal and think that dark colours really make art work pop; I work in a creative industry so its important to me to be surrounded by things that inspire me so I planned to have a lot of artwork in this space. As always, I wanted to use Valspar paints; this brand is hands down the best brand out there for colour choice and quality; they are fantastic value for money and I haven’t used any other brand of paint in the house.
There is so much choice with Valspar, which can be overwhelming. I knew I wanted teal so took home several swatch cards for different tones. The great thing about Valspar, and a mark of the quality of their product, is that the swatch cards are pretty much an exact representation of the colour. So sticking these on the wall gives a pretty strong indication of how it will look. I did get a sample pot in two colours; I love the Valspar sample pots because they are so big! You can cover a really big area making it a lot easier to visualise. We settled on Night Swim which is a really dark teal with higher levels of black; I adore the colour and am so happy with the choice.
The desk, quite rightly, takes centre stage. This is not only my favourite features in the room, its one of my favourite pieces of furniture in the house.
I found it on Etsy by a company called Design Shack (@designshackinteriors) who individually hand make their items using British reclaimed timber. They specialise in crafting bespoke industrial style furniture, so we were able to get a desk the exact size we needed. I try wherever I can to support small businesses; its the best way to get something of high quality that’s totally unique and, by the way, not as expensive as you might think. The quality of this piece is second to none; chunky, “proper” wood beautifully treated and crafted. We went for a deep size, 65cm, which gives a vast expanse of room to spread out in the workspace. I strongly recommend investing in key pieces of furniture like this; they will batter and fade to tell a story of their time in your care and become a timeless piece of your home.
You can find our desk design on Etsy here
The desk chair was a total bargain from Homebase. I have had it for years and what it lacks in style it makes up for in comfort. It is most definitely on my list for upcycling and I would like to experiment with fabric paint on this item. One of my favourite instagrammers @rachaelhavenhanddesign uses fabric paint like a pro and has inspired me to give it a bash… watch this space for a possible future blog post!
There is a real mix of artwork in this room. As this is a space that only I use I have been able to indulge my love for Disney here, so there are nods in the artwork, ornaments and stationery that I thoroughly enjoy wistfully staring at while I’m at my desk or on conference calls! As a serial faffer, the positioning of artwork in the room is constantly evolving, but there are two pieces that are very much a constant on my desk
The picture of the eyechart has been with me for many years and is one of my favourite bargains. Its a piece of wrapping paper in a cheap ikea frame; total cost about £8.50! I started doing this when I lived in my first home and couldn’t afford any “proper” artwork. Independent card shops are a fantastic place to find unique wrapping paper. You can also scour Amazon for some great finds and whenever I’m in London I try to swing by to Liberties stationary department for some more great finds.
Lastly, the skull picture that sits on my desk. This is by one of my favourite artists, Ali Gulec. I found Ali on Society 6 and he is an illustrator based in Istanbul. Ali uses digital and traditional collage, painting, photography and sometimes all of these techniques in one piece. If like me you are a fan of skulls, you will adore his artwork; he says “I have observed through the years that, people are excited to see something resembling death doesn’t need to be scary and can be appealing for any person, even for my grandma!” You can find Ali on instagram at @aligulec_ikiiki. You can purchase Ali Gulec artwork through Esty and Society 6.
The frame is from The Range and comes in white, which makes it super easy to spray paint to a colour you prefer. I went for a copper tone for this picture, which sets off the colours nicely.
The shelving in the office is just an ikea Billy bookcase (is there a house in the UK that doesn’t have a “Billy” somewhere in it??) So its nothing fancy, but I think they work really well into the corner of the room to keep our books and life admin tidy. We had these in our old flat and affectionately called it “education corner.” While in London I had the books organised by colour, but this was short lived and never made it to Bristol.
We decided to not pin the backing onto these shelves so that the wall colour can be seen through it (note that this is not recommended by ikea, but I’m hoping the fact we drilled them to the wall will balance that out!) I love having a space where we can keep all our paper work organised and tidy so that it doesn’t creep into other areas of the house! There is also an Ikea Malm chest of drawers (another ikea item that is surely owned by every family in the country) in the room, which is crying out for some repainting and decoupage… again, watch this space for that project!
The lamp on the desk was originally purchased for the lounge. Its the Arthur floor lamp from made.com, but we found in the lounge that light at floor level did not have any advantages. I moved it into the office as a desk lamp and it works perfectly in the space. We have put a filament bulb in it as it adds to the industrial feel, this gives out a gorgeously warm light which serves as a great contrast to the cool tone walls and neutralises the light in the room.
There is a globe that sits on the bookcase that holds huge sentimental value. It was one of the first gifts that Mr PHD bought me over 10 years ago. I had always wanted a proper globe and he went all out on this one! He found it at Stanfords in Covent Garden; an independent map and travel book shop that’s been going since 1853. The effort he went to in order to find the perfect gift based on a fleeting conversation we’d had on an early date told me pretty early on he was a keeper! You can find the same globe here.
The curtains are in a fabric that I saw being used in an episode of The Great Interior Design Challenge (favourite show ever!) to upholster a sofa. I absolutely adored the deep colour and botanical pattern of this ikea fabric so had my mum whip up a curtain. We had these curtains in the hallway of our London flat and they translate just as well in our current home.
Those are some of my favourite bits, if there is anything in the office that you spy and would like more information on then do let me know in the comments or contact me via the contact link or instagram.
So that’s our office! A real heaven where I can work productively and constantly be inspired. It really is one of my favourite rooms in the house; ironically, I love the view into it so much that, despite my original intentions, I rarely “shut the door” to this space.
Disclaimer: I have not been paid or sponsored by any brand in this Office Tour. These are my recommendations and any links are not affiliate links, just an effort to support small and high quality businesses.