Lex & Chris's Office Overhaul: What Would You Do?

Lex & Chris's Office Overhaul: What Would You Do?

Catrin Morris
Sep 1, 2011

Lex and Chris are fed up with their office. It has become a repository for random furniture and a ton of paperwork and piles. Not only do they want new furniture but they also want a new system for filing papers and minimizing clutter. Before moving forward, however, they wanted some guidance on what furniture to buy and how to situate that furniture to make the room a calm and efficient workspace.

Objectives and Priorities

Desk Space: The most pressing priority is to expand the surface space to accommodate two people at once. Currently, the single desk is not enough space for the desktop computer, a laptop and bill paying. Lex is keen on the Pottery Barn Bedford modular set, pictured in Image 3. While the ensemble is very nice and does provide a lot of storage and desk space, there are other options, one of which is to use the simple mini parsons desk from West Elm for the laptop work, with another larger desk for written work and desktop computer work.

Storage and Filing: Currently files are scattered around the room in small pieces of furniture and in file boxes in the closet. Their office is especially disorganized right now because they are in the middle of a big sorting and de-cluttering process. But on any given day, the room does tend to get cluttered quickly, Lex admits. Given her tendency to create random piles, they should avoid open cabinets and shelving. Instead, Lex and Chris should opt for storage with doors that shut. If they do go with bookshelves or other open shelves they should be filled with file boxes and baskets to create visual cohesion. The key here is to minimize dead shelf space, which will quickly attract random bits of paper and piles.

A Lighter, Brighter Space: Moving the desk closer to the windows will give Lex and Chris more natural light while working. Replacing their current hodgepodge of dark wood furniture with white or light wood pieces will also bring freshness to the space. The existing rug looks busy but may be less so once the furniture is updated. Alternatively, switching to simple modern rug or even a traditional oriental rug could nicely complement sleek, white furniture.

Images and Inspiration
1. Lex and Chris's home office — On one end of the room, by the door is the desk; on the opposite end, by the windows is a big couch. Not shown are a large antique china cabinet and a closet, where boxes and files are currently stashed.

2. Rough sketch — This graphic is a rough sketch of how their office is currently laid out. Notice the large antique china cabinet on the left. While this cabinet is quite pretty it gives the room a somewhat gloomy and dated feel. I am usually a big fan of mixing old and new but in this case I am not so sure. Instead of storing books and piles as it currently does, this piece would be better used elsewhere to display more attractive objects! By removing the cabinet, Lex could free up a whole wall for more efficient and practical storage, including cabinets with doors that close.

3. Bedford home office modular components from Pottery Barn, $149-$499 — This is the Pottery Barn Bedford modular set that Lex is considering because it provides workspace for two people and considerable storage space. Given the Bedford's low profile, Lex and Chris should consider installing cabinets above the desk to take advantage of the vertical wall space. While the Bedford set is very nice and practical, it may be more fun and less generic to experiment with an assortment of desks and file cabinets from varying sources and of varying styles.

4. Potential desks — In the center is the Parsons mini desk from West Elm, $199. The mini Parsons desk is perfect as a secondary desk for the laptop. Circling the Parsons mini desk, clockwise from top left are some options for the main desk, which would hold the desktop computer: Vika Amon table from IKEA, $135. Expedit workstation from IKEA, $119. I love this piece and anything from the Expedit collection. Bottom right is the lovely Trestle desk from Nood, $279. Bottom left is the larger parsons desk, which is popular for a reason. It is simple, versatile, and inexpensive! This version of the Parsons desk is a bit cheaper than its equivalent at West Elm. Home Decorators, $179.

5. Potential storage and shelving options — Lex and Chris should consider filing cabinets and shelving with doors to reduce visual clutter. Clockwise from top left: Incognito compact office from Crate & Barrel. Ash wood cabinetry conceals a compact workspace. Hidden assets like a laptop/keyboard/writing desk pullout, file and storage drawers, one adjustable/removable shelf for CPU or open cubbies with cord management cutouts. Printer shelf extends on glides.
$999. On the right of the Incognito is the excellent storage ottoman from Ballard Designs. Doubling as an ottoman, this is the filing cabinet that doesn't look like a filing cabinet. In addition to a space for filing documents, the bench has an interior pocket holds a portable work-surface and there is a spot to store office supplies. Can be covered in a variety of fabrics for an additional fee. $299+. Classic lateral and mobile file cabinets from West Elm, $279-$499. Below the West Elm cabinets is the Aspvik filing cabinet from IKEA, $199.

6. SF Girl by Bay. I think this room is a great model for Lex and Chris. A Parsons desk and IKEA storage come together for a clean, bright modern and inexpensive office. The main change I would make is using file boxes or baskets in the Expedit shelves to minimize visual clutter. The key here is to eliminate any surface that could be a magnet for random piles and clutter!

7. Via Decorpad. Here is another home office with IKEA's Expedit shelves and West Elm's Parsons desk. I like the colorful boxes and containers in the shelves.

8. Meghan's Unabashedly Feminine Home Office Tech Tour. Here is the IKEA Expedit workstation in action. This office, however, is too cluttered for Lex and Chris. They should aim to keep open shelf space to a strict minimum.

9. Nick Keppol's Picture Perfect Modern Office Tech Tour. What a gorgeous home office. Lots of character and personality but notice that there is not a ton of blank space waiting to be cluttered up with piles. The surface of the cabinets is used for decorative pieces, while all practical pieces are carefully stored out of sight.

10. Canadian House and Home. The Panton chair and trestle desk are a lovely, light combination in this workspace.

11. Canadian House and Home. Here sleek white minimalist cabinets keep unsightly paperwork out of sight. Definitely a good model for Lex and Chris.

12. A Beautiful Well-Organized Home Office & Studio. Here's an interesting alternative to using two different desks: A central shared work area.

13. Tiel's Breezy Queenslander Home. A wide flat file cabinet is an excellent option, especially for storing their kids' artwork!

14. A Bright and Beautiful Bungalow From an Ohio Trio. Here is an example of how less is more in a home office. Bare wood floors and lots of open space!

Images: As credited above.

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