How I Created a DIY Home Office
Thanks to the pandemic, I created an office in a hurry, and on a budget.
COVID-19 Makes an Entrance
Not many of us were too worried about the virus we were hearing about, a Coronavirus coming from China, although there were people in the office who were panicking. Our workplace allowed those who were very concerned to work from home well before the governor announced the stay-at-home order. The rest of us washed our hands a lot and helped each other remember to not rub our eyes or even touch our faces.
A State of Emergency was declared by Governor Mike DeWine on March 9, 2020, after three people in Cuyahoga County tested positive for the virus. He ordered all bars and restaurants to close on March 15, 2020. During the next week, the state closed gyms, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters, barber shops, hair and nail salons, and more. By March 22, DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton announced a stay-at-home order, allowing only “essential” workers to work outside of their homes.
So, we all left the office–some people almost running, as if the virus was literally in the air, chasing them–wrapping our Macs and monitors in bubble wrap, and carefully putting them in our cars. I think we all were assuming it would be a few weeks at the very most.
I definitely consider myself very lucky to be in the situation where two of my kids were out of the house. I don’t mean that the way it sounded, kids, but this allowed me to take over my oldest daughter’s room. (Nope, she wasn’t too happy about it.)
A “Pinterest Fail” Girl Sets Up a DIY Office
I am the ultimate “Pinterest fail” girl, and those memes crack me up. I just wanted to create a clean, open space for working where my mind would be clear so that I could write.
I liked the bedroom paint color (Sherwin Williams Silvermist, a blue-green-gray blend), so I kept it.
Although I knew I could get an inexpensive desk from Ikea, I wanted a deeper option so that I could push back my large monitor far enough to have a nice amount of space on the desk.
On a Saturday morning, I hit six thrift stores and finally found an old table 3’ 8” wide by 2’ 3” deep. It cost a whopping $37. I painted it white, but I didn’t feel like I had enough room for other essentials like books, pens, and pencils, etc. I tend to reference all sorts of books when I’m writing for work, and I needed a place to plop them down, open, if necessary.
In the garage, I had a very odd table that my grandfather made in high school shop class. It was stained a very deep, dark walnut color. It was almost black. It had two leaves that could be opened. I decided to paint it white, open the leaf just on one side, and it made a perfect extension of my desk.
At another thrift store, I had found an old dresser that I also painted white, and although I took pictures before the drawers had knobs, I used the same retro knobs and drawer pulls the dresser had when I bought it. I stationed it behind my desk as a credenza. It holds stickers, watercolors (just for fun, I’m not Picasso), markers, research on a planner I’m planning to create, etc.
The best thing I did was to look for inspiration first, so that I had an idea of the kind of feeling I wanted to have in the room.
I hit up Target for the little gold lamps on the credenza, and curtains, choosing a goldenrod yellow print and gray and white panels.
I also have my grandmother’s old vanity with a big round mirror. I painted it white as well and put it opposite my desk. It’s great to have a mirror in the room, because it reflects the outside light, brightening up the room.
I do have bookshelves, of course, and they are packed with AT-A-GLANCE and other planners, from my job where I write the blog, as well as all sorts of reference books, magazines, and assorted nonfiction. My fiction mostly lives in my living room and bedroom.
I had a bulletin board but decided I would make a collage of sorts behind my desk, so co-workers had something besides me to look at on Zoom calls.
My golden retrievers, Samuel Jackson, and Chappy come to work with me every morning.
And here we are now, more than two years later.
I feel like I am more productive working from home, although I miss the creative department’s antics.
What about you? Do you work from home? Do you like it? Please share your thoughts.