We’re all about transformations and this before & after featured in Getting Organized Magazine (winter 2012) is great example. In this case, it was a blank, blue slate with some semblance of an office and other miscellaneous furniture. Fast forward to a highly functional and stylish home office with red accents and a minimalist, but cozy vibe. It was pretty obvious that the original space lacked cohesion of any kind, or even an obvious function, but more often than not, we end up with spaces whether we like to admit it or not. Want to take your catch-all room to something more wow and functional? Basically, it goes like this:

STEP 1: Define the space. What functions does it need to serve? Multiple people?

STEP 2: Declutter. Donate that rogue microwave or your extra sofa and you’ll thank yourself later! Paring down the items in a room helps to solidify a room’s purpose.

STEP 3: Decide what furniture you need for the space and where existing furniture will live.

STEP 4: Create a plan for shelving/storage/function. This is sometimes easier said than done, and stores like The Container Store will gladly assist in the planning and decision-making as it pertains to storage and shelves.

STEP 5: Execute that awesome plan you have in place!


What’s so important to remember is that creating a cohesive look can be as simple as using your favorite bold color as an accent to a neutral palate to tie it all together. So, pick your favorite color and get going!

STEP 6: Paint! By painting everything in white or a light neutral (hello, blank canvas!) this allows you to play around with less permanent elements and have a bit of fun mixing and matching. It also creates a serene environment, which is oh so important in an office space, and frankly, every space.

STEP 7: Go shopping! Below are specific suggestions for how you can get this look for your own space.

  • START WITH SHELVING: The shelving system seen here is the ELFA system from The Container Store and is a modular, flexible system of rails, shelves, and add-ons to give you all of the best storage options. The ELFA system tends to be industry standard. While it can be pricey, the options available make it more than worth it, and they have semi-annual sales if you time it right. Also important to note that home improvement stores like Lowe’s have competitive systems you can buy, just be sure they have the configurations and accessories you’ll need to be most effective.
  • STORAGE BINS: You can get these exact bins from IKEA for a very reasonable price. They’re great because the label very clearly tells you what is in each container without showing you the complete contents. These are also quite nice because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, while still keeping the overall look of the room cohesive and put together. Anything that can be labeled from the outside is a good idea.
  • GENERAL DESK STORAGE: Aside from paperwork, you will likely find that you have a lot of office supplies, including stamps, staplers, scissors, writing utensils, and just generally anything related to clips or paper supplies. For items like this, it’s often best to keep it minimal and using trays like these from Poppin help give everything a home with not too much extra space to fill up. The great thing about these stylish bins are that they look great on their own and you’ll want to keep them out to admire them; in turn you’ll keep yourself tidy because the open tops don’t allow for excess clutter to build up. Win win.
  • DESK CHAIR Chairs are the perfect place to add a kick, because while they can pack a visual punch, you spend most of your time in it aka you don’t lose any tranquility with a bold, bright pattern. For instance, this one from IKEA.

STEP 8: Put it all together and enjoy! Now you have all of the pieces you need and plan for your newly decluttered things, you’re at the fun part: putting all of those things in their new homes! Remember like with like and labels are your friend; before you know it, you’ll have everything in its right place.

Images from Getting Organized Magazine Winter 2012

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