Let me introduce you to my workspace:
Underwhelmed? Confusingly overstimulated at the same time? Eyes sore from overexposure and lack of focus? Ugh. Me too!
First, some backstory.
When introverts move in with other introverts, they aren’t suddenly capable of spending every second together. Instead, they continue to seek out places for solitude and quiet activity within their shared home. In our old apartment, we had two bedrooms. One was our actual bedroom and the other became the “everything” room where we could take our needed respite.
The everything room is where our bikes, Greg’s drums and other music equipment, my computer desk, my vanity, and all our extra clothes and accessories lived. It was a small, crowded space but we edited and organized mercilessly and it functioned as a great secondary space. For the next five years, I naturally gravitated to the everything room, where my computer and dress-up lived, and Greg spent more time in the living room and kitchen, where the TV & food lived.
We got used to having our shared-but-separate space and agreed that in the condo, where rooms abound, we’d each get a room for ourselves. To that end, the basement is currently becoming the coolest studio/hang out space/games room in the universe while one of the upstairs bedrooms has become my office.
My office was the very first room I put together after we moved in. The living room looked like a living room on the first day, but the office was “complete” after less than a week. I was so ready to have a space to hide out and relax away from the ongoing chaos in the rest of our home – especially as the holidays loomed. I was able to set up so quickly by more or less replicating the “office” aspects of our everything room into this new space in the condo.
The only downside to how quickly I set up this space is that very, very little thought went into it. We slapped up the paint before I moved in and I already knew I didn’t love it (too purple) but I value my marriage* and so I have not asked to repaint. Like the guest room, I wanted a cozy, enveloping feel to extend the idea that this is my oasis in a hectic world. What I didn’t consider was how this room has a considerably smaller window and a layout that doesn’t allow the light to bounce around like it does in other rooms.
I also have very dark furniture. I’m drawn to masculine and industrial-ish pieces. In the past, things haven’t gone too far into the abyss because I have so many obnoxiously bright and feminine accessories to lighten and liven things up. Unfortunately, when this room requires my desk to be sandwiched in an actual closet, no amount of quirky crystal paperclip holders are going to lighten the mood.
Because I’ve suffered several concussions, the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage is extra-applicable for me. To combat this, I try to display as many of my items in easy to see or very well-labeled places. I’ve also found that being able to see what I’ve got is awesome for sparking creativity! The downside is that it can begin to look cluttered and chaotic. Not the vibe I’m going for in my personal cocoon!
I still love everything in my office, but I don’t love the way it’s working together. Here’s my plan for making it better: Lightening things up and reducing visual clutter.
My first thought is to Paint All The Things! But that’s not terribly realistic. This home is temporary for us and while I’m all about personalizing a home no matter how short your stay may be, I like the finishes on the furniture in this room. In another home, the dark tones could work perfectly so I won’t be pulling out paintbrushes just yet.
If I’m not painting furniture, my next thought is textiles and storage! I can trade the blankets and pillows in here for something lighter; maybe properly recover my ratty old office chair.
The armchair also needs reupholstering at some point, which is why fabric samples are on the arms. Choosing a light, solid colour would both lighten the room and reduce visual clutter.
Substituting a lighter rug should also help. There’s a mystery stain on the carpet that’s not going anywhere, so some sort of rug is needed. The navy blue is just too dark. The pattern is also a bit juvenile, which wouldn’t bother me in one of my more “adult” spaces, but I have a lot of toys in the office. I want to juxtapose my youthful hobbies with a more sophisticated space. This is Pretty Nerdery, after all!
Beyond that, there are too many things fighting for attention in this space. I love everything that’s on display, but it’s too much! Editing is going to be my mantra.
Originally, I planned to just live with the room as-is until I could finish up all the other rooms in the house… but then I’d be waiting forever! I’ve never “finished” a room in my life! So consider this the Before, even though it’s also the first After!
(*People will tell you that IKEA is the ultimate test for marriages. We are outliers because we love IKEA, but we fucking HATE painting walls! The first time I helped Greg paint a wall we nearly broke up. At this point we just grit our teeth and hurry the hell up!)