Tuesday, July 6, 2021

New Room Makeover: Spider-Man Home Office Reveal

Our friend Ray recently got a great new job with one big caveat: it's a work-from-home deal. With 3 young kids at home on summer vacation, that meant he needed a proper home office, STAT.

John and I immediately jumped in and convinced Ray and his wife Julianne to swap the kids' current playroom - basically an extra bedroom at the end of the house - with the family office, which had 2 sets of French doors and zero privacy. Next time I'll show you how we turned their old office into a Star Wars-themed playroom, but first, let's see the playroom-turned-office:

 Ray had already moved his standing desk in here, but this room used to house toy kitchens and princess castles and LOTS of LEGO.

The entry door has an unusal angled wall butted up against the closet:

You can see furniture arrangement is already a challenge, since I was determined to get Ray's desk off the walls (too clausterphobic) while keeping the natural light behind him. More on that in a bit.

First, though, that old carpet had to go. John and I quickly sliced it into strips, rolled it up, and carted it out to the garage, followed by the padding. After cleaning up the concrete, John got right to installing some gorgeous new vinyl laminate:

John finished the flooring and trim in a day, then I scootched around doing all the caulking, puttying, sanding, painting.... ug. Quarter round is such a pain, y'all. Worth it, but a pain.

Next we replaced the old kids' fan with something more chic:

Ain't she a beaut? It's from Home Depot, here's the link.

Then the fun part: painting the walls!

Ahhh. Am I the only one who breathes a little easier just looking at this? It's so calming. I especially love the color with the flooring.

This is the most accurate photo of the wall color, by the way; it's a gray blue called "Meditative" from Sherwin Williams. It's going to look more baby blue in some of my photos after this, but trust me, in real life it's more gray.

Now let's peep that oh-so-satisfying B&A:

Aw yeah. This room went from pre-school to undergrad in 3 days flat!


Let's go straight to the reveal pics, and I'll fill you in as we go:

The furniture placement took some trial and error, but placing the desk at an angle facing the door solved all our problems: it doesn't feel cramped and closed in by being against a wall, it keeps the natural light behind Ray, and it gives him privacy on Zoom calls when the kids inevitably come barging in.

We all remember this lesson, right? :D

Plus, see how wide open and even sparse the room looks from the doorway?

At first glance you'd think the desk is the only furniture in the room - which is by design.

Once you walk IN the room, you see all this:

Ta-daaa! Semi, not-really-hidden bookcase!

There's also a printer stand tucked in the back corner:

And more Spider-Man goodies on the wall back there:

When we first started planning this room I have to admit I wasn't terribly excited - not until Ray mentioned he had Spider-Man collectibles he'd like to display. Y'all, the heavens opened. I heard music. Specifially the Spider-Man theme song. Suddenly I had a THEME.

Obviously we kept it subtle, but my favorite thing in here is the new canvas wall art we installed:

The canvas set was only $26 on Amazon, but they come rolled & unstretched:

John was prepared to make wooden frames to staple these to, but then we got to brainstorming and came up with a dirt-cheap and MUCH easier solution: pink insulation foam.

Yep, just cut the insulation foam to size, then literally duct-tape the canvas pieces around it. BOOM. Done. No messing with wood or glue or nails, and the art is feather light, so you can hang it with a single thumbtack! Woo woo!

(Big Ol' Caveat: Obviously this isn't for heirloom quality art, y'all. Duct tape your canvases at your own risk.)

Next I pulled that cream color from the art when choosing the curtains, since the room was feeling dark with all the black furniture.

Here's a wonky panaroma looking back toward the door:

I had such a blast styling the bookcase: I sorted all the books by topic and author, labeled the shelves, then decorated with little things Ray already had.

I like to label shelving on the flat surfaces inside, as opposed to the edges. It looks cleaner and is easier to read on lower shelves. (I'm using stickers from my label maker, so they're removable.)

Danny Haas is a mutual friend of ours, so of course his art book gets center stage.

After I first finished the room it was a little on the sparse side, so Ray found a few more collectibles to add to the bookcase top, and even unearthed some of his childhood comicbooks to frame for the side wall. When he told me I immediately asked to come take more photos for y'all, because look how nice!

The wall art and extra things on top make all the difference.

Julianne, Ray's wife, was laughing telling me how excited he was to actually take some of his collectibles out of their original packaging to display. That makes me so dang happy. Like I'm always telling you bots, display what you love. Decorate the way YOU want. It's your space, so make it yours!

Ray even added this ombre fade on top with his work books. I mean, c'mon. This guy doesn't even need our help over here:

Here's the view from Ray's desk:

The door is black because they added some sound barrier foam to it. Time will tell how it holds up to 3 yelling children on the other side, ha.

Little Spideys on the desktop:

The desk has no drawers or storage, so I picked up a little $10 desk organizer for the pens and post-its and such:

Hold up, that's not Spider-Man!

Hmm. Well, of all the Avengers, I'm guessing Peter would pick Mr. Stark to share a desk with.  ;)

I hope this makeover made you smile, and gave you some design ideas for the future!

And a huge thanks to Ray and Julianne for once again trusting us with your space, love y'all 3000.


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  1. Thank you, Jen and John, for doing the office! It's been such a blessing to transition to remote working with a dedicated space. We're thankful to have friends like you two! :)

  2. That looks so great! I especially love the bookshelf. The rainbow organization, the collectibles on display, the neat stacks of books...I am in book heaven.

  3. This is so cool! Normally, office makeovers are so bland at the end, but this is fun and still professional-looking!! <3

  4. The wall color is definately more calming in the after shots!

  5. That foam canvas mounting is brilliant! I wish I had thought of that before I hung up a similar 5 piece canvas set. I just trimmed the canvases down and push-pinned all the corners. Looks fine, but dang does yours look so much better!

  6. You two are wizards! I seriously wish I could fly you to my house and let you work your magic in my house. I'd pay good money!

  7. Can I ask why you want natural light behind? I tend to like facing a window, and I'm wondering what I'm missing about putting a back to the window. Thanks!

    1. Putting the window behind is just to help light the workspace, since the only other light source (the fan) isn't very bright - and also so Ray isn't squinting into the sunlight by facing the window. Totally a matter of preference, though.

      In fact I'm working right now facing into a window, and always have. My office is too small to have the desk any other way, though, and I work nights so the light source doesn't matter.

      (Not light related, but I do hate having my back to the door; I'm forever twisting around to talk to John in the doorway. If I could put the window behind me, I would in a heart beat.)

    2. Thanks for your reply. Gives me ideas for interesting furniture rearrangements. I forgot about this question until I was in a new space and talking to someone backlit by a window. I hurried back to read your reply and rearrange my office.

  8. The voices in my head want to put a potted plant between the corner of the desk and the outlet so that you can't see the cord, but that's just them. ;)

    1. I think I agree with your head voices, ha. Actually the cords on the desk bother me more, though I did my best to corral them.

  9. Love it! I like seeing how you can display fun collectibles while still having it look like a grown-up and functional room.

  10. This is a totally cool office! When I started working from home about 9 years ago, I quickly realized I needed a dedicated space with a door that also didn't become the family dumping ground. We took added a wall of closets to hide the crap. I painted it a muted lavender and my step-dad installed the tiniest lavender crystal chandelier that I found online. It's my happy place now lol mostly because it also doubles as my craft room! ...and the laundry, and utility room. Talk about multi-purpose!

  11. Love this! Serene and stylish and pulling the cream color for the curtains is just *chef's kiss* perfect.

  12. This looks amazing (no pun intended). I swear you could make a side hustle out of people mailing you photos of their bookcases, books and stuff and telling them how to arrange it. Curating a bookcase like you do is an artistic gift!


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