Making a Functional and Beautiful Office/Guest Room

For the foreseeable future I know we won't be living in a home with two separate guest room and office spaces. In fact, when we're living in Manhattan we'd be lucky to have enough space for any sort of combined guest room and office!

I have always loved the warm and sunny, yet somehow neutral, colors of this guest room/office that was featured in a Sept 2004 issue of MS Living.


Looking beyond the great colors, the functionality of this room is pretty awesome. There are some really great ideas that I am definitely saving for later:

1. Removing the closet doors to create a desk space is an old trick, but adding curtains makes the desk space look less like a transformed closet and more like a custom nook.

These sheers from Pine Cone Hill are very similar to the featured curtains. It would also be really easy to whip up your own version with a pair of cheap IKEA sheers (you could tea-stain or dye them to get a similar color) and a few yards of ball trim. Looks like the Martha team put two rows of trim here in the inspiration room, which is a great, full look.


2. I love the thick shelves in the desk nook. Does anyone have an idea how to achieve this look without paying a carpenter to do it? Maybe doubling up some MDF and then caulking the seam?

3. Putting a nice table lamp on the desk really steps it up. Ebay is my favorite place to look for quality vintage lamps. I've noticed that pairs can be pricey, but single lamps are usually a steal. Don't forget to check out your local thrift stores for great lamps, too, just make sure to add a clean, new shade.


4. Hide all the office supplies and other junk in coordinating, labeled boxes. IKEA's are fine, but the Container Store's boxes are my favorite.


4. I think the best idea from this photo is to install double glass doors. The glass really opens up the small space, provides more light and helps the room to feel more like an office. If you added some DIY shades to the door windows, there would be plenty of privacy for your guests.


Do you combine your guest room and office spaces? What do you find works for you?

16 comments:

Polly R said...

I love this room! I love the thick shelves too. Could you not just buy some thicker wood and paint it white? Hmmm I have no clue about DIY shelving though, so I might be wrong.
I love the little officey space. All such lovely colours. I would never think to use them. xxx

Jessica said...

Oooh!! Pretty! Thanks for the morning eye candy! :)
Jessi

La Maison Fou said...

I have seen in new construction shelving made from 1x4 or 1x6 and then capped on the front with a 1x2 all across to give the look of a thicker shelf.
This is a pretty look.
Leslie
lamaisonfou blog

hqm said...

I have used a core door for shelving. They come in all different sizes...I used a 2 foot wide door for my sewing machine table, it sits on a base, but looks built in b/c I added trim and a skirt.

pve design said...

I have seen several rooms function as both and think they are quite clever. I also have painted in many homes where I thought the humongous bathroom could double up as a "craft" room.
I like breathing more life into one space.
pve

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Oh this is a beautiful room. One that I'm seeing for the first time! Perfect timing too, because I'm working on an office at this moment.

Lisa said...

gorgeous room! regarding the shelves I think Leslie's comment above is correct. The shelf itself is probably mdf with a 2" trim or casing added to the front to achieve the thicker look.

Cindy said...

Ikea has thick floating shelves that you can mount on a wall:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20151309

homemaker Hobbies said...

I LOVE that yellow room. So bright and cheerful:)

Heather said...

It's a beautiful room, and I love the curtains. I think if you go to a lumber store, they can cut the wood exactly to your specs. Could put a trim on the edge as others mentioned. Also...I've created my desk out of a door that's resting on 2 file cabinets. I love it because it's much deeper than most desks.

Lucy C said...

What a great use of a small space. Can't help but love the colour as well. I look the way the desk has been built into the corner and the desk lamp is so cute.

Anonymous said...

If you did double up MDF or another material, there are great iron-on veneer strips available at woodworking retailers like Woodcraft or Rockler.

Tara said...

my husband and I have a combo room in our 2 bedroom apartment right now. It's worked really well, so far! We found a desk that coordinates perfectly with the nightstands, and left out the dresser. We never have guests longer than 5 days, so a dresser isn't necessary. We leave the closet space for the to hang things though. When the guests arrive, we simply put all the office-y things (computer, boring note pads, bills, etc) into the bottom desk drawer and lock it. Then we top the desk with local postcards and guidebooks, pretty pens, and other more decorative things. It takes 3 minutes to switch it all over and makes it a consistently usable space in our small place!

Erin said...

I actually had two Ikea LACK shelves that I wanted cut down to put in a closet space like that. I wrapped two inch wide masking tape around the shelf on both ends where I wanted the cuts to be to protect the "wood" from splintering, then hauled them to my local Home Depot where they were kind enough to cut them down for me on that huge saw they have in the lumber department. It worked amazingly -- very clean cuts that made for a tailor made fit, just like in the photo you posted!

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Mary Ellen said...

Lisa & Leslie are definitely correct. My husband and I redid my mom's home office in a similar space. We installed two rows of wall-to-wall shelves above the desk, and trimmed them out with 1x3's to make them look thicker. FYI: Trimming the shelves like this also allowed us to hide the under cabinet lights we installed to provide additional task lighting.

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