Friday, August 20, 2010

My Little Office

My office is one of my favorite rooms; good thing, too, since it seems to be the one in which I spend the most time...and aside from the computer, it was one of the least expensive rooms to decorate. I thought I'd share some of my thrifty finds and decor tips with you today.
As you can see, the focal point of the room is a grouping of black and white family photos on the wall above my desk. Almost all of the frames were yard sale and thrift store finds, many of which, I've re-done. One of my favorite techniques for doing old frames in metallics is the use of floral spray paint. It has a sheer quality about it which adds color, but allows a little of the woodgrain to show beneath, much like a stain. I like to layer on various metallic paint colors until I reach an effect that I like.

I also like to incorporate other types of objects such as plates, cherubs, vintage postcards, and memoribilia related to one of the pictures. For example, I hung my mother's dog tags from her time in the navy
during WW2 over the edge of the frame holding her navy photo. In another instance I attached a patch that my father received when winning a volleyball championship to the photograph of him accepting the trophy.
My mother's dog tags adorn her Navy photo.
In order to achieve a pleasing effect when doing this type of arrangement, one must be careful to keep balance in mind. The arrangement need not be completely symmetrical, but objects of similar visual weight should
In order to balance an 8 X 10 photo on the other side of the display, I hung a similar size frame around this plate.
be used to balance one another. Another trick is to keep frames somewhat similar in tone, i.e., all gold, or all black; or if mats are used, stick to a single color. Also, I've found that an arrangement of photographs generally looks best with all black and white or all color images, but not a mix of both. If I had used color photos here, I would have kept the accent pieces to a single solid hue.

The desk is one of my favorite junk shop steals, at $15. Of course, when I found it, the veneer was peeling badly, so I just stripped it of the veneer, painted it white, and distressed it.
I also decoupaged a rose cut-out from vintage wallpaper as a cheerful accent. The hardware is original and by itself worth at least the price of the desk! The chair is a standard issue cheapie office number, which I slipcovered to dress it up a bit.
The hutch above the desk was another junk store bargain at $5. It is in actuality a shelf that I painted white, but it serves the purpose just fine and keeps some of my favorite collectibles in easy view.
The bookcase was an ugly wood-tone laminate piece that I nabbed at a yardsale for next to nothing. A good coat of primer plus some white paint and vintage knobs completed its makeover.
As you can see, I've made jackets for most of my books using wrapping paper that coordinates with the room. Another trick that I like to use for making a bookcase display more interesting is to keep some books upright and others lying flat. The horizontal books make a nice pedestal for display; in this case, for the first camera that I had a child. I've also accessorized the shelves with an old silver trophy and some small vintage garden books.
My loveseat was picked up curbside for free! This time a few white sheets came to the rescue in the form of a slipcover. I've made a number of cushion and pillow covers of various materials and change them out to suit my mood. By the way, whether you need to hide ugly upholstery or not, if you have pets, slipcovers are the way to go. Just pop them in the wash and never worry about your furniture being soiled.
If you're a regular reader, you've seen this chest before. It recently made the move from my livingroom to the office, where it still provides much-needed storage and display space.

While not, perhaps the things you'd drool over in your favorite magazine, the major furnishings in this room were purchased for well under $100. A little imagination and elbow grease were all that was necessary to turn them into the foundation of a room which is both livable and fun. So in closing, I'd like to encourage you not to put your decorating dreams on hold, even if the budget is. Upgrades can be made later, but in the meantime, making do really isn't so bad...

Until next time,

This post is shared on "Show and Tell Friday"
at Cindy's gorgeous blog, My Romantic Home. You should check it out....lots of great ideas to discover!


  1. I think your office is adorable! I love your desk the rose accent is the perfect touch!!

  2. What a beautiful area to call an office!!! Wow.

    Here's My SnT for the week Hope you can drop by for a visit.

  3. Its tough to get comments when you got five people following you!!!:) Its amazing how fast they start to come around and want to chat though. Like me for instance, I'm sticking around. For the most part we are a friendly bunch best I've ever seen on the internet. Just sometimes, silly stuff happens.

  4. I really love your desk! It is so cute and is an amazing find!

  5. I love the little black and white office chair. It's so sweet.


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