Deb Nelson’s Office Makeover Tips
Warm up a cold, empty office with colour, pattern and texture.
The room had good bones: a beautiful dark hardwood floor, just enough space and a large window outfitted with plantation shutters that let in plenty of natural light. However, the expansive white walls and uninspired furniture felt clinical, not homey, and zero storage meant there were few places for clutter to hide.
Deb suggests layering your lighting. “A combination of task, table and overhead lighting allows illumination levels to be tailored to meet different needs,” she says. Layout is also crucial; moving the desk away from the wall toward the centre of the room allows for extra shelving and added dimension. Here, Deb chose backless shelving, leaving an unobstructed view of the grasscloth-covered walls. Buying large furniture pieces from big-box stores — such as the Ikea shelving — allowed her to invest in more expensive fabrics and wallpaper.
Deb corraled small utilitarian accessories in trays and boxes of varying sizes and colours to keep things organized but not boring. Like most designers, she loves to use fresh blooms to brighten up a space. Here, vases filled with seasonal flowers add colour and a sense of life.
“Mixing open and closed storage allows clutter to be tucked away while also displaying cute organizers,” says Deb. For an inexpensive upgrade, she recommends dressing up an old bulletin board with affordable burlap and black tacks — creating the perfect backdrop for chic inspiration photos.
Try pairing an exotic print — such as the one Deb chose for the drapes — with a global-inspired kilim for a fun play on textures. A modern side table and colourful throw on the chair keep the look casual.
Deb chose cream linen drapes in a large-scale hand-embroidered print to create the illusion of a larger window. She also went with mid-tone wood accents to add warmth and play off all the lovely rattan baskets.
The white lacquered desk, sideboard and bookcases look sleek and modern against the neutral palette. Deb used many vibrantly hued lacquered trays and catchalls to provide continuity and a pop of colour. Her inspiration colours for the room are a bright yellow (Hot Curry) and a creamy white (Corn Rows), both from Para.
Deb chose natural materials such as grasscloth, linen, rattan and burlap to mellow out the modern, lacquered furniture and give the room a warm, earthy vibe. When splurging on materials — such as the green grasscloth wallpaper — use toned-down neutrals that will allow you to change up the accessories and update your look for years to come.