Accessories, House / Office Dressing Room

My Office Gets a Fresh, New Look

A week ago my office / dressing room grew up a little bit.  It transformed from from cutesy colorful to a more mature, classy colorful – all thanks to the addition of some curtains, and the removal of my pink and green floral cork board and some other random clutter.

It’s amazing how a pair of well-chosen curtains can really dress up a room.

I haven’t shown you this room in a long time, primarily because when I moved my sewing studio out of it to the basement last January, my office was put on the back burner. It was painted and somewhat decorated, and was certainly functional the way it was.

Until I spotted these curtains at Ikea:

Ikea Chartreuse Navy Floral Curtains Janette
That’s when I knew it was time for a change.  They were so fresh! So classy! So colorful! I loved the floral pattern in navy blue, chartreuse, a muted teal, and the palest seafoam green.  And at $25 a pair, I had room in my budget for the impulse purchase.

“Ooh, a quick and easy way to freshen up my office!” I thought to myself.

Until I got home and realized I’d have to rearrange all the furniture in my office to make them work.

Before the Curtains

This is how my office and dressing room looked for the last few months, before I hung the new curtains.

But before you peek – It’s funny how just one look at photos of a space can open your eyes to a myriad of design problems.  Things that I’ve stopped noticing in real life pop out from the photos, screaming “fix me, fix me!”

Case in point:  There’s so much clutter and lack of coordination. Yellow laundry basket, random foot stool, etc. Alas.

Office Before Curtains 2012

Photo taken with back against closet opening.Doorway is on my left.

Things that make me cringe from this angle:  The random hanging lamp that once hung over my sewing table, the cork board which really just serves as a cute clutter-collector, the general clutter surrounding my secretary desk.

But back to the main point:  I couldn’t hang my curtains because the secretary was too close to one of the windows.

Office Desk Before Curtains

Photo taken from doorway to office. Closet is on the right.

From this angle you can really see how the secretary left no room whatsoever for the curtains to hang on this window. I remember how excited I was when I first found the secretary; it literally fit between the window sill and the wall with less than an inch to spare.

(Not pictured is my closet.)

Office Secretary Before Curtains

Once I realized that I had to move some furniture around to make the curtains work, I enlisted Ryan’s help, and a lot of this happened:

Office Furniture Mess

I tried one furniture layout after another, so thoroughly that each piece of furniture was on each wall at some point during the night.

After the Curtains 

I came to the conclusion that, with my large, wide dresser and my tall mid-century secretary, there really was only one layout that worked.

Office Dresser After July 2012

Photo taken with back against closet opening.Doorway is on my left.

My desk is now at the other window, tucked against the spot where the secretary sat.  I don’t love that it has to butt up against the curtains.  What do you think?  How bad a design move is it to have a desk against curtains?

(Psst: If you’re curious, you can learn about my window frame jewelry display here. )

I could move the secretary to the guest room and put the desk back where it sat before the curtains came.

Chatreuse Office With Ikea Curtains July 2012

Photo taken while standing in door to office

The changes aren’t over, however.  My office still has some growing up to do, mainly in the form of graduating to a classy wood desk and ditching the white laminate Ikea one.   I’m envisioning a rustic, farmhouse-style table / desk that I’ll build from scratch . . . which means it’s probably time to pull out my doweling jig kit again!

Even without a fancy wooden desk, however, I’m thrilled by how much the curtains change the look of the space.  *Insert excited squeal here! *

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  • Reply Nette @ This Dusty House at 12:28 pm

    I love the changes! And, I can totally agree with your idea to incorporate a farmhouse style table for a desk. These days, I’ve been working from home a lot and using our dining room table – which is kind of farmhouse style… – as a desk and it’s PERFECT. Nice and big to spread out, but not so big that things are out of reach.

  • Reply Tonya Renee at 4:03 pm

    Your secretary is beautiful.

  • Reply Jenn@ahomeinthemaking at 4:06 pm

    Those curtains are great! They look perfect with your wall color and add so much warmth to the room 🙂

  • Reply Ashley Ratliff at 5:26 pm

    That is the color scheme of my kitchen if you throw a little orange in the mix! I love it! My “office” is currently my junk room. I really need to get on getting it cleaned up.

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 10:28 am

    My studio walls were that exact same color before I switched rooms. In fact, it really might be the exact same color – the paint looks like a perfect match in the photos. (Benjamin Moore Pear Green. True random story: When I bought the paint, the guy asked me if I picked that color because I have a special affinity for pears. I do like pears, but no, I picked the paint for the color. He then exclaimed “I PAINT PEARS!”)

    Anyway…I had such trouble decorating around the pear green. Evidently, I just needed some curtains! But now the pear green room is the guest room (ok, actually it’s a storage room) that I plan to paint blue and my studio space is red (from the previous owners) that I plan to redecorate in gray and yellow. Someday…

  • Reply Robin at 7:58 am

    I love these curtains! They look fantastic. 🙂

  • Reply Cheapohmom at 8:00 am

    I have a farmhouse table as a desk.  I love it and will never go back.  Have you considered putting the desk in the middle of the room.  I have it that way but do not have anything pulled in on it.  My chargers are on other surfaces.

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 10:28 am

      Thanks for the idea! I love the idea of a desk in the middle of the room, but sadly I have my huge computer which kind of requires lots of cords.

  • Reply Janie at 7:30 pm

    The chair looks great in front of the window and the dress on the wall in the above photo is nice.
    Can you move your desk and hutch out from the corners? They look like they are being punished and have to sit in the corner. Bring them out!

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 10:28 am

      Thank you! I hadn’t thought of that so I’ll try pulling them closer. I always have the instinct to put things in corners, but you’re totally right. They need to come closer. 🙂

  • Reply JoDi at 4:17 pm

    I agree with you. The desk in that corner looks “off.” What if you centered it in front of that window instead of having it all the way in the corner?
    Or how about putting the secretary back in its original corner but at an angle so more of it is on the closet wall and you have space on the window wall for the curtains on the right side?
    It’s hard to tell how big the space is between the closet opening and the corner, but in the picture it looks like you could also put the scretary back in its original spot but turn it 90 degrees so its back is against the closet wall. You’d lose the outlets, but there must be others in the room you could move whatever that is that you have plugged in there.
    Just throwing some ideas out there for inspiration!

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 10:29 am

      Jodi, after much thought I’m 99% sure I’m going to do your plan. I have to re-measure – the secretary may be a smidge too wide to fit how you suggested but I have my fingers crossed. I think the corner that I just put my desk in is just way too small for a desk. Thanks!

  • Reply FuzzyEgg at 4:14 pm

    Try centering the desk in front of the window BUT pull it away from the wall and place the chair on the opposite side. (Sitting with a window to your back is supposed to be a feng shui power position.)

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 10:31 am

      I had no idea about that feng shui concept. Thanks! In this room though I don’t think I can pull it off – I have the desk against the wall for two reasons – I like to have the cords behind the computer all hidden, and with an outlet nearby, and also I really, really, like to look out the window when I am at my desk. Thank you for the suggestion though!

  • Reply My New & Improved Window Frame Jewelry Storage & Display! | The Borrowed Abode: Adventures in decorating a rental home. at 2:57 pm

    […] display frame is definitely around for the long haul.  And I’m loving how it looks with the new curtains in my office.  Thanks, by the way, for all the furniture layout suggestions last week. This side is good to go, […]

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    […] August I hung curtains in my office.  Immediately the room looked so much more polished, but the process of hanging them showed me […]

  • Reply Rochelle Chandler at 8:59 pm

    I love these curtains! How long ago was this post? I searched on the ikea website and could not find them.

    • Reply Jane at 8:24 am

      Hi Rochelle,
      Unfortunately this was a few years ago. They are no longer selling them, but you may be able to find them on Ebay!

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