When it came time to renovate the orange-hued room in her 1920s Michigan home, Patti Mapes had a vision. She wanted an office that was inspiring, conducive to productivity, and, most importantly, that didn’t look like what she calls, “the inside of a cantaloupe.” Over the course of a year, this teacher transformed her spare room into a bright and organized office space with a hint of playfulness to get her through grading mountains of student essays.
When we asked Patti to describe the room before, she said:
It was like living inside of a cantaloupe. It was a light orange and not at all inspiring. The closet did not have any doors, but there was already bead board on the walls.
A fresh coat of white paint to match the wainscoting was step one to make the space feel open and inviting.
Patti attributes her year-long timeline to the fact that she couldn’t find the perfect desk. When in doubt, DIY! Using a filing cabinet and trestle from IKEA, Patti did just that. Her DIY desk not only gave her the ideal custom piece, but probably contributed to her low bottom line. The entire room cost about $100 for materials, which included: paint, a sharpie pen for the wall design, bi-fold doors, and a few desk parts. She sourced pieces she already had to fill in the rest of the room, giving them a new lease on life.
While Patti is head-over-heels over her new office design, an artist’s work is never finished. When asked if she would change anything, she responded:
I absolutely love this room now! It has such a fun vibe and there are so many different aspects of the room to admire: the bi-fold doors, the color of the desk, the DIY wallpaper, and the cute patterned rug that ties it all together. Whenever we have guests, I make sure to show it off right away!
I don’t know if I would do anything differently, except maybe add a comfortable chair in the corner. (You can’t see the oversized wing-backed chair in the opposite corner. I’m still looking for something cozy to curl up and read a book.)
As a teacher, Patti takes her work home with her, making an inspiring at-home office crucial to success. For anyone looking to follow in Patti’s footsteps and improve his or her at-home office situation, Patti had this to say:
My words of advice would be to just do it! Don’t worry about failing or messing up with these DIY projects. The worst that could happen is that you have to start over- and the materials aren’t that costly. I would also say to have the patience to let a room evolve. This was over a year’s worth of projects and rearranging and mulling over furniture. Enjoy the process.
Thank you, Patti!