Home Office: Before and After


Not exactly formal dining room kind of  people, we decided to convert our rarely used (and dated) dining room into a home office for two. Here’s what the room looked like before.

Sad, I know. Those chairs rarely had bottoms in them and instead of food, the table collected mail, packages, coats, and other random items. We have a table that seats up to 6 in our kitchen and an outdoor table where, weather permitting, we eat all of our meals. Living in a slightly less than 2,000 square foot house, one of my biggest pet peeves is wasted space. I knew that by turning this room into a home office, we would increase it’s usage by 364 days a year. I’d say mission accomplished.

So without further ado, here is the finished home office.


So here’s the run down on what took place. We sold the dining room chairs on Craigslist and put the table and oil painting  in storage. Next, I chose the material from the curtains from Mary Jo’s Fabric Store and coordinated the paint color to the curtains. Actually, Frank, my paint guy, coordinated the colors. I just nodded my head and said “whatever you say, Frank”.

After painting the room, I chickened out of sewing curtains and went with stitch witchery for a no sew curtain solution.

After the curtains, there was a long period of indecision when we figured out the craigslist bookcases wouldn’t fit. After selling the bookcases and making a trip to ikea, we decided on these Ikea pieces as well as a rug.

Images from Ikea.com

Putting the desks together was a snap but then I spent the next 3 weeks trying to figure out how to bring it all together. Some new shelves, 2 cork boards from Walmart, some new chairs from LampsPlus.com (on serious sale), accessories from around the house, and finally our new light brings us to our new home office which probably gets more use than any other room in the house.

The best part in my book is that after selling the dining room chairs, previous desk, previous desk chair, and craigslist bookcases,  this new home office only cost $105 and a little change. That’s right, we went from this:

to this…

for only an extra $105 out of our pockets! It goes to show that between bargain shopping, using coupons, buying second-hand when possible, and re-selling your used items to support your budget, you can transform a room on a small budget. It just takes a vision, research to find the best deals, flexibility when things don’t go the way you intended (like the Craigslist bookcases and the Home Depot shelves), and patience, grasshopper, plenty of patience.

Have you restyled a room on a budget lately? What were your money saving tricks?
I’ve listed source information below:
Chairs – LampsPlus (at a sale price of $99, which allowed us to get 2 for the price of 1)
Wall Picture Frames (silver) – Ikea Ribba Frames (already had)
Lamps – HomeGoods (already had in bedroom)
Light Fixture – Overstock.com
24″ X 36″ Cork Boards – Walmart
Curtain Fabric: Robert Allen Khanjali Peacock purchased from Mary Jo’s Cloth Store
Wall Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue HC144
Trim Color: Valspar semi-gloss ultra white
2 Drawer File Cabinet (which I just noticed is not in any of the pictures) – bought from Craigslist (Crate & Barrel brand)
Other Accessories – Already owned, from around the house and came from here and there.
Oh happy day! I’m so excited this project was featured in the July 2012 issue of Better Homes and Garden  and on the Better Homes and Garden website.

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77 Responses to Home Office: Before and After
  1. Dodi
    October 13, 2011 |

    Daaaaang Gina! Nice work!!! Looks great! Funny how in different photos those blues look totally different. You done good, Monk!

  2. Andrea
    October 13, 2011 |

    Good job girl! Looks great. Love the light. I did end up getting the Vika system. Yay. Might take me longer to finish the office since the pieces I want are more than what I want to spend.

  3. Love love love it!

    What a great job you’ve done on this…and yes, I’ve been watching since June!

    That light fixture is just perfect and will still be fine if you ever decide to turn it back into a dining room! (I’ve just purchased a similar one for my client’s dining room)

  4. Mindy
    October 13, 2011 |

    Ooooh, aaaaaah. That’s a tad bit nicer than the hole I sit in. :) Super fun.
    I’ll be waiting for that light fixture to make it’s reappearance. :)

  5. Bella Michelle
    October 14, 2011 |

    I love it! You did a great job (though I can relate to your project set backs way too much!!!) I think my favorite thing is the fabric of your window treatments….love, love, love it!

    Happy Weekend!!! Hopping over from Amanda’s Weekend Bloggy Reading Party!

  6. Shauna@Satori Design for Living
    October 14, 2011 |

    Love the transformation. You did a fabulous, budget-friendly job!

  7. michele
    October 14, 2011 |

    I really like the office but something about the corkboards doesn’t look finished to me. Have you thought about covering them with fabric? Just an idea, it probably wouldn’t even matter once you fill those up.

    • Crystal (theweekendhomemaker)
      October 14, 2011 |

      Hi Michele – My plan was to cover them with a linen-like fabric and use nailhead trim to ‘finish’ them off. I just haven’t gotten around to it.

  8. Devon @ Green House, Good Life
    October 14, 2011 |

    Looks great! What a transformation!

  9. Kelly @ Corner of Main
    October 14, 2011 |

    It looks lovely; the perfect place to blog!
    Stopping by from Serenity now,
    Kelly @ Corner of Main

  10. Angela
    October 14, 2011 |

    YAY!!! The reveal!! It looks fantastic!! I can relate to the patience thing but it’s not working for me and our office redo. Great job!

  11. Angela
    October 14, 2011 |

    PS. Do you love the rug? I like the simple design and price and it looks durable? Is it comfortable?

    • Crystal (theweekendhomemaker)
      October 14, 2011 |

      Hey Angela – It’s perfect for the office, because the flatweave allows the chairs to roll on it smoothly. It feels like a sisal rug so it has a natural texture. Meaning, I wouldn’t want it in my living room but it’s great for an office, sunroom, or kitchen/eating area where you want something durable.

  12. Cameron
    October 14, 2011 |

    Crystal! It looks AWESOME!!! You did an amazing job!!

  13. Erin
    October 14, 2011 |

    Wow!!! I LOVE the results! The Palladian Blue is GORGEOUS! We actually just painted our bathroom that color this weekend…I could sit in there for hours, it’s so pretty. I love the way your white furniture just pops with it, and how awesome it looks with those fab curtains! GREAT JOB!!!

  14. Maury @ A Fabuless Home
    October 15, 2011 |

    This looks amazing! Great job!!! Favorite part is either the office chairs or the curtiains. I found you on Serenity Now and I’m a new follower. I hope you’ll follow me back but no pressure! :)

  15. Rene
    October 15, 2011 |

    This room looks great Crystal!

  16. Latoya @The Scotts Crib
    October 15, 2011 |

    I’m in love! You did an awesome job:)

  17. Amanda
    October 16, 2011 |

    Wow, that is an amazing transformation!! It’s fabulous AND functional! Love all the furniture and accents. You can’t beat that price for a complete room makeover – kudos!!

    Stopping by from the link party at Serenity Now. :)

  18. ToTheMoonandBack
    October 16, 2011 |

    Wow! What a transformation! Love what you did and how clean, organized, functional and beautiful it all looks.

  19. Erin @ Stumbling Tongues
    October 17, 2011 |

    Looks fabulous, Crystal! And I am *beyond* amazed that you pulled this transformation together for just $105 out of pocket!! I’m in the middle of re-doing my home office now, and you have definitely inspired me with this makeover :) Hooray for thrifty decor!

  20. Debbie~refreshrestyle
    October 18, 2011 |

    Love your new office and the price of it is wonderful!

  21. Elyssa M
    October 18, 2011 |

    Fabulous! I need to work on my office/craft area and I’ve been waffling on a paint color. After seeing this I am sold! I love this room, and I love that you did it on the cheap! Thanks for sharing!

    I pinned this to my home office board!

  22. Emily
    October 18, 2011 |

    Great job! The fabric you used for the curtains looked sooo familiar to me- and I just realized that John and Sherry at Young House Love used it in their dining room! http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/06/my-babies/

  23. Midwest Mrs
    October 19, 2011 |

    Looks amazing! Love the color and the desks. Looks so sharp! Nice call on the light fixture too; it’s a great shape for the room.

  24. Lisa
    October 19, 2011 |

    Looks great! Very stylish and budget friendly, perfect combination!

  25. Karen
    October 20, 2011 |

    Love it all….the great deals, the transformation, the great space to work. I think Ben Moore’s Palladian Blue is one of their best colors….I have it in my kitchen! How did you know about the great chair sale? WIsh we had a Lamps Plus near us (D.C. area).

  26. billT
    October 20, 2011 |

    I have the same IKEA bookshelves and have never installed them because I am not sure how to anchor them to the wall. There will be a lot of weight and they need to be installed on a stud, but that doesn’t work out due to the length. What did you do? Thanks.

    • Crystal (theweekendhomemaker)
      October 20, 2011 |

      Hi Bill – That was a concern for me, too. I measured out the studs and ensured that at least one side of each shelf was anchored into a stud and then used a toggle screw for the other side. To be safe, my shelves are mostly decorative and don’t hold a lot of weight. Hope this helps.

  27. ZipCodeFriday Finds - ZipCode
    October 21, 2011 |

    […] Another amazing DIY room conversion. I think the most impressive thing about this one is the out-of-pocket costs (after selling some of […]

  28. guest
    October 22, 2011 |

    It looks just like Young House Love’s Office

    • Crystal (theweekendhomemaker)
      October 22, 2011 |

      Thank you. However, I think there’s is much prettier. Nonetheless, I’m happy with how ours turned out.

    • guest2
      November 10, 2011 |

      ditto. :-/

  29. Jenn
    October 25, 2011 |

    Love it! It’s funny to me that I just rearranged our formal dining room last night into an office/craft space, and then I saw your post on House of Turquoise! Fabulous job (and I do the same thing–I sell stuff from my house to furnish the next thing I want to do.) awesome

  30. Jem
    October 25, 2011 |

    Great room!

    I love the silver/metal picture frames. Do you know where I can purchase them?


  31. Cathy
    October 25, 2011 |

    Good for you for being brave enough to ditch the formal DR in favor of a useful office! The space looks fabulous. LOVE the chairs and as I am in the process of updating my own office and in the market for chairs, I want to know how you like them and any particulars you can tell me about them.


    Cathy @ Room Rx

  32. Jenna
    October 25, 2011 |

    WOW, I love the transformation! Those chairs are FAB! And the symmetry of it all just has me swooning. You did a great job!

  33. Julie
    October 28, 2011 |

    LOVE IT! I didn’t realize you did the dinning room and not the living room… you are soooo creative!

  34. dana
    October 30, 2011 |

    wow! the chairs. i have been lusting after those chairs FOREVER. you really got them for $99? wow. i just signed up for lamps plus newsletter. i wonder if they will ever be on sale like that again. wow.

    room looks so terrific. congrats.

  35. Nicole @ PostGrad
    November 5, 2011 |

    OMG I love it! I love how it looks so similar to the Young House Love office – I’m planning on doing the same thing in my house! The fabric is perfect.

    • Crystal (theweekendhomemaker)
      November 6, 2011 |

      Thanks, Nicole. I don’t think mine looks 1/10th as good as theirs (YHL) but it looks a lot better than it did when it was a dining room.

  36. m @ random musings
    November 5, 2011 |

    the transformation looks fabulous!! Did you know these are the same curtains from yhl?

  37. Shelly
    November 5, 2011 |

    Hi, I’m popping over from Better After. Are you sure you didn’t get this transformation published in a magazine? We actually use our dining room -we do not have a kitchen table, just a bar/counter. But, even if we didn’t use our dining room, I would be afraid to take the plunge and re-purpose it!! Good for you!! (Now that I am thinking about it…. the previous owners used the dining room as a den -go figure! :) Love, love, LOVE your transformation! (Can I work on my blog there?)

  38. […] Home Office: Before and After [The Weekend Homemaker via Apartment Therapy] featured workspaceworkspacesdesks  Discuss  Share  Tweet  Email  More   get_count_post('http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/11/the-former-dining-room-workspace/','post-406883'); « Previous post […]

  39. taosaur
    November 15, 2011 |

    I’m not usually a fan of Lifehacker’s Ikea idolatry, but in this case the color scheme adds some necessary warmth, and those chairs were a great find. Using the too often dominant chrome-and-white as an accent works to great effect in this layout.

  40. studentchef3
    November 15, 2011 |

    Wow she did this w/IKEA products? I could really apply some of the ideas for lighting to my own den. Impressive!

  41. ange
    December 29, 2011 |

    This is so wonderful! I love making offices/cloffices out of unused spaces! The curtains, the lighting and the clean simple lines of everything, beautiful!

  42. Love it all! The colors! The fabric! The chairs! Stopping by from Not Just A Housewife …

  43. Diana
    January 13, 2012 |

    This is beautiful, so calming. Good for you on giving up the dining room for something more useful.

  44. Crystal
    January 20, 2012 |

    We must be twins! I’m Crystal, corporate, two kids and don’t have time for this but love it! We’re also putting our plans together to build a double desk in our bedroom (no separate office). I didn’t see what happened with the Home Depot Shelves? Check out my blog if you have time – 29ruehouse.blogspot.com!

  45. Lori
    January 31, 2012 |

    The office looks beautiful (and so functional)! It’s great how you turned an un-used room into something that really works for you.

  46. Jenny@EvolutionofStyle
    February 2, 2012 |

    This is such a pretty office space, and I’m sure it’s as functional as it is beautiful! I love the paint color (perhaps I’m a bit biased since I have the same color in my family room). ;-). Great minds, right?

    Thanks for linking up to my first Room Evolution party! Looking forward to seeing more!

  47. Jena @ Involving Color
    February 9, 2012 |

    Crystal, your dining room turned office looks amazing! If we had a larger area in our kitchen for a big table, I would totally do the same thing. The paint color you chose is beautiful and I would love to do a feature on your office and add it to my paint color galleries. You wouldn’t have to do a thing, just let me know if you’re interested!

  48. […] The Weekend Homemaker has a beautiful dining-room-turned-office. I love that they took a space that they rarely used and made it more functional. The color is Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue. Head over to her site to see the transformation! […]

  49. […] your desk partner there’s always the options of splitting the space in two.{picture sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,and […]

  50. […] Weekend Homemaker goes over the process in transforming this dining room into a creative home office, including a […]

  51. Jenny Griffin
    June 9, 2012 |

    Hey Crystal!
    I had a friend come over who is an interior designer, who suggested we do a built in office in our sunroom. I LOVE the idea, but do not want to spend the money that would entail right now. So, I have been thinking of other options. I noticed we had these 2 tall skinny bookshelves in our garage from a previous entertainment system that would work perfect on either side of our windows (if I painted them white), and my wheels started turning. Been thinking of how I could connect the 2 with a desk & had this picture in my mind of what I wanted. Then this morning I thought of your office makeover & realized it was YOUR desk I was picturing!! What is the length of your desk? Did the desk top come separate from the cabinets underneath. Did all of those pieces come from ikea? With a little creativity I think I can make this work! ;). AGAIN..thanks for your inspiration!!

  52. Katie
    June 22, 2012 |

    Hi, Crystal from neighbor east of you on the Crystal Coast!

    Your transformation lives on almost a year later! So, my VIKA cabinets are in, my pendant lamp arrived from O’Stock today, my swing-arm lamps were a find for $25 from Target – my dining room transformation is coming together. AND my Waverly fabric arrived today! So, did you free-hand your curtain pattern or would you mind sending me in the direction of what pattern/idea you followed? I love the little rings/gathers up top – gives it a more finished/polished look than just plain panels…Thank You!

  53. Lucy
    July 6, 2012 |

    I saw your office in Better Homes and Gardens and looked up your blog – amazing! I am so inspired. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!!

  54. Shannon
    August 14, 2012 |

    Hi, Crystal – your office has inspired us to re-purpose our never-used dining room as well. Can you tell me what is the total length of the two desks across the wall? I’m headed to IKEA tomorrow and want to be sure I can make that desk work in my dining room. Thanks!


  55. don
    October 26, 2012 |

    the room looks great, we just had our sunroom converted into a year round room so we can use it as an office, got so many ideas from your pics, thanks

  56. 15 Homework Station Ideas
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  57. Karen
    July 1, 2013 |

    Love this room! Trying to find the parts for the desk at IKEA but am having trouble figuring out which table top you used. All the ones I see are either too deep and will give a substantial overhang or are not wide enough to accommodate office chairs after the bases are added. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

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