Monday, December 21, 2020

Extreme Room Makeover: Remodeling An Office/Excercise/Craft Room

Ohhh, y'all. Y'ALL.

I'm excited about this one.

Our friend Sue works from home, but also uses her home office as a place to exercise and do her crafting. That's a lot of time in one not-so-large room, and when I first walked into the space about two months ago, I immediately saw why she'd asked for help. Let's get right to the "before" shots, and go over what we wanted to change with this makeover.

First, since I'm no good with suspense, here's the big Wow Factor before-and-after.



::happy chair dancing::

Of course that "After" doesn't include the brand new craft room we built in her closet, but you already saw that a few weeks ago. (Or if you didn't, click here!)

Let's look again at that Before:

Right off the bat you can see this room is a mish mosh with no clear purpose or zones, and the furniture placement isn't doing it any favors. The bike and divider screen are right smack in the middle, making the room seem smaller than it is, and the two bookshelves are both too big for where they're placed.

My first priority was to shift the furniture to fit the room better, and to establish 3 separate zones: work, exercise, and crafting. Within 15 minutes John & I were moving furniture around, and you can already see a big improvement with just a few tweaks:

Sue only had the divider screen in there so she wouldn't have to look at her desk while she cycled. So with the bike turned this way, no need for a divider! This also makes a much clearer zone for exercising in that corner.

This bookshelf right inside the door made the entry so tight that Sue's husband couldn't even get his wheelchair past. So that definitely had to move!

Now with that smaller bookshelf gone, you can actually see Sue's desk, and Ken has plenty of turning radius to come inside to visit.

Before, the other, larger book shelf was pushed so close to Sue's desk that she risked banging her elbow every time she turned:

Note how the bookshelf didn't have many books on it, either; just craft supplies that stuck out too far.

Then there was the Post-It issue: Sue had been taping all her work notes and maps to the walls and even her computer monitors, so we needed a better solution for those.

Now all those craft supplies are neatly stored in the craft closet, and the bookshelf holds actual books on the other side of the room. Then John built that giant cork board to hold all of Sue's notes & maps.

(Confession: I asked Sue to take all her papers off for these photos, so it's not usually this bare, ha.)

Before this wall only had an old cat tower on it, but now:
This bookshelf fits the wall just perfectly!

Sue adores Winnie the Pooh, and also collects stuffed animals, but she kept them all hidden away in her closet. John and I dug them out and hung this little display ledge for her - and then had to assure her that yes, adults can decorate with stuffed animals, too. You should have seen how happy she was about this, gang. It was like we gave her permission to be herself, somehow, and just thinking about that makes me get teary. If you ever wonder why I'm forever encouraging you to decorate with the things you love, this is why.

I also organized and labeled the bookshelves: reference, fiction, etc. Sue asked for extra help with organizing, since that's where she struggles most, so I tried to label absolutely everything, ha.

Here's the Before of the end of that wall, at the back corner:

And here it is after:

When it came to paint colors, Sue's only request was they feel "warm and cozy." So my challenge was finding an accent color that was still warm, but that wouldn't make her fall asleep, ha. This bright salmon pink made me second and even third-guess myself, but now I love it as much as Sue does. It goes great with the tan, has plenty of energy, and makes Sue feel like she's in a different space altogether from work.

We needed better storage and organization for her exercise mats, weights, resistance bands, etc. My solutions cost a whopping $2:

 That's one Dollar Tree bucket on the floor, and one Dollar Tree shelf riser on the wall:

By mounting the shelf sideways and slightly bending the bottom legs up (so the mat won't roll out), we created a PERFECT wall rack for Sue's yoga mat and foam roller. I found a rack almost exactly like this online for $30 which gave me the idea - and my version costs a buck. BOO. YAH. (Is this the one thing I'm most excited about in this entire makeover? Maaaaybe.)

This wall is still a little bare, but there will be a piece of art soon on the tan part. (I'd show you, but it's a Christmas surprise for Sue, shhhh.)

We already covered the closet, but let's look again at that sweet sweet before-and after:

Ahhhh. It just never gets old.

Again, click here if you missed that post.

Oh hey, and now you can see how that bright band of pink in the closet ties in with the exercise corner:

You can also see Sue has a clear path to roll up to the closet in her office chair.

Sue is OVER THE MOON, by the way, and tells me each space feels like a completely different room to her - which was always the goal, so I'm super chuffed.

We pulled in that extra side table/cabinet from another room, because believe it or not this once-claustrophobic office felt TOO EMPTY. The cabinet is also hiding a big router box and plug on the wall, so it's doing double-duty.

Over on the wall with Sue's desk, we used this white vinyl tape from Amazon to make some chic modern stripes:

The vinyl tape is so thin you'd swear the stripes were painted on; it even takes on the texture of the wall! And we got 36 yards for less than $7, hot dang. I'll definitely be using this again in the future. It's fiddly and requires at least 2 people to apply, since it likes to stretch out, but totally worth it.

We re-used some art Sue already had, and hung a small ledge from Walmart under it to display her work awards.

It wasn't 'til after we hung this that I realized the mountains echo the pink triangle on the other side of the room:

That's another random happy coincidence.

A lot of my work in this room is unseen, but I got huge satisfaction organizing all of Sue's desk drawers, and even tackling the mass of wires and cables behind the desk. These were all over the floor collecting dust bunnies, plus you could see them from the front:

Remember how I said I keep finding uses for these Dollar Tree wall racks? Well here comes one more: mount one on the wall behind/under your desk, and use it to hold all the power strips and extra wire:

Ta-daaaa! We mounted the two power strips to the wall, and then between the wire rack and a dozen or so zip-ties (also from Dollar Tree), I got the whole tangled mess off the floor and neatly contained.

So satisfying, ahhh.

A look at the desk wall.

Welp, bots and babes, I think that covers everything! All told the only expenses in this makeover (not including the closet) were the wall paint & tape, two picture ledges, cork & trim wood to make the board, and a handful of Dollar Tree containers. Total cost, roughly $100. With the costs from the craft closet, that puts this entire room makeover at about $185. Not too shabby!

I hope this helps inspire you to tackle your own spaces: to experiment with "zones", to try fun new colors, to display what you love, and most of all, to look at what you already have in a new light.

I also hope this week is peaceful, restful, and healthy for every one of you. Sending extra virtual hugs to my UK friends today, plus anyone else out there who needs one. This isn't the holiday week we wanted, but let's focus on the little moments of beauty and connection, the little sparks of joy, and hold on to each other any way we can. It's going to get better, I promise. You're going to get that real hug. In the mean time, please reach out and check in with each other, and don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

If you're alone this Christmas Eve and want to virtually hang out with some fellow geeks, come join us on the Epbot Discord at 8:30pm EST while we watch a couple Christmas movies. I think we've decided on Emmet Otter's and Mickey's Christmas Carol, and/or maybe Rudolph? Whichever, the point is we're going to watch stuff and chat and share funny .gifs, and it's gonna be awesome, because y'all are awesome.


  1. I love the pop of salmon! It's definitely an energizing color and the shape gives it movement! I need to unearth my desk from the mounds of paper, and this redo is helping me think about getting off my butt and tackling it. Great work, as always!

  2. That salmon color is perfect, great choice! And I was thinking that corner was mountainesque before you mentioned it. The different zones definitely gives the room more flow and maneuverability.

  3. I can't say how much I love this. I, too, have an office/craft/sewing/exercise room and, although I have the zones down it's been .. well ... overflowing a bit recently. The upcoming holiday is my chance to reorganize and this has given me some great ideas! I especially love the idea of using what you love in your space ... my framed LP cover from Willow gives me much love everyday, as does my favourite entrepreneurial quote, reinterpreted for me by my talented artist daughter-in-law. Happy Holidays, guys! Love to all in the Epbot community, and especially to Jen, John and the kittehs for making this year suck SO MUCH LESS than it would have otherwise xxx

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are getting ready to move to a smaller home and these makeover posts are being a big help :)

  5. Awesome makeover! I love the color block thing you did on the exercise wall. My friend used that technique to update her daughter's bathroom .

  6. This is amazing and I wish you could come help us in Jersey. We live in 500 sq. ft. and neither of us are particularly good with geometry.

    ...You should start a virtual business! I would pay for this!

  7. I love the yoga mat and computer cord solutions!! So smart!! It’s such a great transformation- very inspiring!!

  8. It is a really happy space. I'm glad you got to do this, and I thank you for sharing it.

  9. Very nice, but what about the cat? You've removed the cat furniture! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CAT?

    1. LOL, I promise you, the cats RULE this particular household, so they're not being neglected. I've mentioned adding a cat hammock to the side of the desk, since that wouldn't take up too much space - so that may be a future project.

  10. This makeover is such a pleasure to behold.

  11. One of my projects for 2021 is to deal with the guest bedroom/I'm just going to put this here until I figure out what to do with it room. This makeover helps so much with my planning. Eventually the guest bedroom will be a guest/office/craft space.

  12. That looks amazing! I love it so much. I'm getting ideas for reorganizing my home office/craft room. I actually have tons of space, I just need a way to organize it effectively. Thanks for sharing all this!

  13. I really wish you were in Australia. I need so much help getting my new place under control, and seeing how you do this stuff is amazing!

  14. Very nice job. I had to weigh in on a cozy paint color, because I love Sherwin-Williams Red Cent. It's a coppery orange, or terra cotta. This is the third house I've used that color in, because the room in the first house was so cozy and comforting.


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