Author Topic: Ugly office syndrom  (Read 475 times)

JRTomlin

Ugly office syndrom
« on: February 26, 2019, 04:51:23 PM »
My office - what would be the second bedroom - is what I can only describe as ugly. I'm trying to figure out how to make it look comfy or welcoming or at least not ugly without spending a fortune. Any suggestions? Any 'not ugly' home office pictures?  grint
 

Captain Cranky

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 05:35:53 PM »
Are you willing to supply a before pic?  Grin

Unfortunately we don't have a spare room at the moment, so my office is a corner in the dining area. I recently made a wooden corner desk so I could 'make it mine'. The desk is a little dodgy, but it's solid and I love playing with power tools so I had fun. I built a budget pc to go with it, bought a 34" ultrawide wide curved monitor, decorated with a lamp, crystals, a plant, pictures on the wall and a huge year planner that I can't not see. I can literally just reach up and cross off another day on my tracker, I've stuck a few motivating quotes on there....I'm happy for the moment. I'd show you a pic but I haven't gotten around to sanding and staining the desk yet so...lol. When I do I'll post one, if it doesn't come up too shabby!

I guess the easiest/cheapest way to redecorate would be to get a cheap but pretty rug, some plants (greenery makes anything look better IMO) a few pictures that make you feel good when you look at them..if you do a google search for cheap DIY decorating ideas or something you might find lots of inspiring pics. Good luck!

ETA: Sometimes fixing up old furniture isn't too expensive either. My mum had all this country-style wooden furniture that was looking worse for wear, she just sanded the tops of everything, used spray paint to do all the legs etc in a nice cream colour, re-stained the tops in a beautiful walnut wood stain, and it honestly looks like new furniture, I was blown away. She had the sander, so all it cost her was spray paint and a wood stain with a lacquer in it. Maybe fixing up something could help?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 05:44:39 PM by Captain Cranky »
Keep your head down, keep on swinging.
 

VanessaC

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 05:51:53 PM »
Can you work out what's annoying you the most about the room? 

I moved house about 3 1/2 years ago and still working on it, but basically there's usually something that really irritates me, so I tackle that first, then move on to the next thing.  It means none of the rooms are really "done" but they are all liveable.

Having now had two home offices in different places, the things that annoyed me most were: clutter, lighting, and feeling cramped.

So, I spent at least a day tidying up - bin / recycle - got more shelving space, a new desk that I though was bigger than I needed (pro tip - they never are!), some storage boxes for bits and pieces, and new lamps. All that was from Ikea so didn't cost a fortune.

Lighting for me is really important as I do get migraines from time to time - I need at least one desk lamp, and as little overhead lighting as possible.  I prefer to have at least two sources of light at "desk" level, and a standard lamp if I need more light.  Also sit the desk so that i'm shoulder-on to natural light.

Sorting each place was hard work, but by the end of it I had a much happier working environment even though it was the same floor space.

If your issues are more cosmetic than organisational, I also have a couple of motivational quotes and usually a couple of landscape photos / prints hanging up to one side - not in front of me, as I'd spend all day staring at them and not working. Oh, and lamps, too!  Softer / better lighting makes a massive difference, in my experience.
 

Genre: Fantasy
 

JRTomlin

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 06:12:59 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm not cramped which actually may in a way be part of the problem. It is a fairly good sized bedroom for a second bedroom and only has my desk and a bookcase in it. Oh, yeah and stacks of books I don't have room for in my bookcase. Lots of books. And dog toys... all over the floor because I have a westie.  :dog1:

So it feels ... cold is the only way I can describe it. Normally I don't mind simple and understated but this is going a bit too far. But I just can't think of anything to do with it to make it, as you say, a happier work environment.

I think more, softer lighting would help. That's a good point, Vanessa.  I have some good-sized paintings downstairs and I might move one upstairs to my office. I can't have plants because my cat eats them. I love plants. Unfortunately, Jude does too. I might try a vase of dried lavender though and see if he eats that. Crossing my fingers.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 06:22:08 PM by JRTomlin »
 

Captain Cranky

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 06:34:24 PM »
My cats eat plants too  :icon_sad: I persist, buy plants that aren't toxic to them and shoo them away when I catch them. I'm determined to have some damn plants in my house! I actually have a couple of fake ones too that I 'planted' in nice pots with stones and look surprisingly real. Keep your eyes peeled, never know what might cross your path  Grin I agree with Vanessa too, lighting is important, I've spent way more money than I care to admit on lamps, especially those Tiffany-style ones. Rugs and lamps, I'm a sucker for them.
Keep your head down, keep on swinging.
 

VanessaC

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 07:48:23 PM »
Your mention of lavender made me wonder about scent - I am not a massive fan, but I do have scented candles in places around the house, normally gathering dust.  Although they can be overpowering, sometimes having a bit of fragrance can help. 

Also, sounds like you need another bookcase.  Let's face it, very few of us are going to get rid our precious book collection.  Grin
 

Genre: Fantasy
 

Captain Cranky

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 08:02:10 PM »
I'm having a really freaky psychic moment, because I was looking at my candles and atomiser thinking to come here and mention it. Weird... I would take that as a sign, you need lamps and candles immediately JR  grint
Keep your head down, keep on swinging.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 10:37:58 PM »
Paint, all the walls or the one you see the most when you walk in.    Or stencil something on the walls.
Valence and/or curtains.  My living room walls are green and I have a oil rubbed bronze rod with plain cream panels, that we never close, hanging on either side.  It is a nice way to frame the view.  Hit up the clearance sections of BB&B (if you have that near you) or thrift shops.
Ditto for art for the walls, thrift stores always have tons, very reasonable, it make take a while to find something, but when you see the right things, you'll know.
Shelves for the books - wall hung, floating, put framed photos in between the books to make it more personal.
An asymmetrical wall look is interesting.  Brackets and laminated boards are not that expensive.  The store will usually cut the boards to order no charge.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 11:58:03 PM »
Paint, all the walls or the one you see the most when you walk in.    Or stencil something on the walls.
Valence and/or curtains.  My living room walls are green and I have a oil rubbed bronze rod with plain cream panels, that we never close, hanging on either side.  It is a nice way to frame the view.  Hit up the clearance sections of BB&B (if you have that near you) or thrift shops.
Ditto for art for the walls, thrift stores always have tons, very reasonable, it make take a while to find something, but when you see the right things, you'll know.
Shelves for the books - wall hung, floating, put framed photos in between the books to make it more personal.
An asymmetrical wall look is interesting.  Brackets and laminated boards are not that expensive.  The store will usually cut the boards to order no charge.

I was going to suggest thrift stores as well. That's where I get most of my decor although I do have a few nice prints from my favorite author/artist (Ryn Shell).

I did manage to get rid of most of my books and I only have one book case in my office. The rest of my books are scattered throughout the house.

But thrift stores do always have tons of mirrors and pictures, not to mention vases and artificial plants. You just have to be patient because some of it is junk, but I've found a number of treasures in among junk. I try to watch for the color of the week (50% off) and usually go to GW on Wednesday because it's senior discount day (25% off). That's 55 and older.

My house is pretty much decorated, paint, drapes, lighting, even new flooring, but now that you bring it up, my office has been left to languish underneath a ton of clutter. I think I need to start chipping away at it.
           
 

JRTomlin

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 12:10:50 AM »
I must admit I am kind of picky about art. I doubt I could find that at thrift shops, but I do have a number of paintings already. There is one I could move into the office. There are a couple of good sized windows in the office, but the view out of them is not that inspiring, just other condos. I do think new curtains are a good idea though.

Unfortunately, getting rid of my books is not an option. They are all non-fiction/reference that I use for research. I have a pretty substantial collection on Scottish history, very little of which is available in local libraries. A couple of new bookcases to hold them would also cover the rather blank walls, which would have the advantage of getting a few stacks of books off the floor and organised. 😜

Thanks for all the suggestions. You are definitely giving me something to think about.

Edit: I'm like you, Maggie Ann. The rest of my house is decorated or largely so. Of course, I will probably update occasionally, but my poor office has just been left to languish, a total mess. 😏
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 12:15:43 AM by JRTomlin »
 

LilyBLily

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 12:15:43 AM »
Cloth softens the feel of a room considerably, so a daybed, rugs, curtains, an upholstered chair or loveseat, and a pillow or two will all help. Decent pieces sometimes show up in yard sales or at high-end thrift stores. Or you may have a relative anxious to donate a piece.

I myself love stark Japanese decor, but that look doesn't work in a rented room with twelve layers of paint mostly applied by slobs. After struggling in numerous apartments, I realized it was better to go the European way and cover the walls with art and photos, and the floor with rugs, and get more furniture in. Then the focus was on the furnishings and not the condition of the room itself. I've known people who covered walls in fabric, too.

Knickknacks are visually refreshing, too, but they pose a maintenance problem because they get dusty. I met a guy who had hundreds of tiny toys, but had put them all behind a layer of plastic (plexiglass, I suppose). Clever.   
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 12:21:43 AM »
But thrift stores do always have tons of mirrors and pictures, not to mention vases and artificial plants. You just have to be patient because some of it is junk, but I've found a number of treasures in among junk. I try to watch for the color of the week (50% off) and usually go to GW on Wednesday because it's senior discount day (25% off). That's 55 and older.
:

Sorry going off topic, waiting for the eggs to finish cooking.
Thrifting is definately about the process for me.  One day at Savers I saw stacks of player piano scrolls.  I have an incredibly tacky print of a wine bottle in an incredibly tacky frame, but it was a Riesling and the colors were perfect.  (I'm not picky about art :) )  I just love looking at the crazy assortment of everything.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 01:24:30 AM »
But thrift stores do always have tons of mirrors and pictures, not to mention vases and artificial plants. You just have to be patient because some of it is junk, but I've found a number of treasures in among junk. I try to watch for the color of the week (50% off) and usually go to GW on Wednesday because it's senior discount day (25% off). That's 55 and older.
:

Sorry going off topic, waiting for the eggs to finish cooking.
Thrifting is definately about the process for me.  One day at Savers I saw stacks of player piano scrolls.  I have an incredibly tacky print of a wine bottle in an incredibly tacky frame, but it was a Riesling and the colors were perfect.  (I'm not picky about art :) )  I just love looking at the crazy assortment of everything.

It is such a kick when you find something that works and at a bargain basement price, isn't it. I found two shadow boxes with distressed green and cream frames that I got for my bathroom. Beautiful with the gray/green walls. At $2.99 each and 50% off (it wasn't senior day), I snatched them up.

I am a thrift store Ninja!!!
           
 

Sarah

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 07:32:20 AM »
Another inexpensive idea for walls is wall decals from AliExpress. Especially good if you're renting and/or can't paint the walls.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 08:25:42 AM »
Another inexpensive idea for walls is wall decals from AliExpress. Especially good if you're renting and/or can't paint the walls.

I've used

wallies.com

I did the Tuscan villa window view in my foyer. Really nice and easy to do. They range in price from $9.99 to $79.99. Might be some more expensive but I didn't see anything higher than that.

Here's some right up your alley.

https://www.cafepress.com/+scottish+wall-decals


           
 

angelapepper

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2019, 08:56:40 AM »
Inspiration board, maybe?

I've got 2 big magnetic whiteboards. I thought I'd use them more for book plotting, but I don't. They are, however, great for pinning up art cards, postcards, etc. Lots of color and interest but no serious art commitment.
 

bookworm

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2019, 11:50:46 AM »
Another inexpensive idea for walls is wall decals from AliExpress. Especially good if you're renting and/or can't paint the walls.
I bought this mirror from AliExpress. Haven't put it up yet though.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Large-Acrylic-Mirror-Surface-Pattern-Wall-Sticker-Personality-Home-Decor-Living-Room-TV-Sofa-Wall-Self/32873958091.html
 

bookworm

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2019, 11:54:58 AM »
 

She-la-te-da

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2019, 06:53:26 AM »
Paint, draperies, rugs, art, furniture. Usually the cheapest and easiest things to do. Especially bookcases. I tend to go to thrift stores, but there are consignment shops and higher-end second hand/antique stores that would probably have the more classy stuff (though it's amazing what I see at thrift stores).

I wish our Goodwills had their senior day on Wednesday, and gave 25%. Ours is Mondays, and only 10%. The Salvation Army is Wednesday and went up to 25% about a year ago, so we try to check them out. They just don't get the good stuff like they did before they moved. :( Still, the occasional diamond shows up.
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 
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Llano

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2019, 01:33:33 PM »
The people who built the atomic bomb worked in wooden barracks with linoleum floors, ugly metal desks, wooden chairs, no air conditioning, coal-burning stoves, on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, and couldn't tell anybody what they were doing.

Compared to that my writing space looks positively luxurious. It also has high-speed internet. Nobody but me ever goes in it, so I don't really care what it looks like.
 

JRTomlin

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2019, 02:27:15 PM »
That's kind of the way mine is, Llano. (I mean like yours, not Los Alamos) but I have come to the point that I find it a bit depressing. On the other hand, I still haven't done anything about it.

I am absolutely not a DIYer, so painting involves contracting it which ... yeah, not in a hurry for that. I'm keeping an eye out for a collection of art for the walls though and new curtains. That will be a start.
 

Joseph Malik

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2019, 12:55:32 AM »
I've posted this before, but I carved out a space behind my garage. We used book proceeds so we could write off both the construction costs and the square footage. I appreciate that not everybody has this option, but My God, if you do, DO IT.





 

Maggie Ann

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2019, 03:09:01 AM »
I've posted this before, but I carved out a space behind my garage. We used book proceeds so we could write off both the construction costs and the square footage. I appreciate that not everybody has this option, but My God, if you do, DO IT.



Really nice!

My den is my sewing and craft room, my writing room, and my I-really-should-do-something-about-these-stacks-of-paper room. We won't even mention the shelves full of books and memorabilia and just I-like-it stuff.  Or the dog bed.
           
 

DrewMcGunn

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2019, 05:05:37 AM »


I love the old legal bookshelf against the wall. I've got a five-stack old Globe-Wernicke against the wall, next to a print of Alphonse de Neuville's Defense of Rorke's Drift. It helps to set the mood.

Drew McGunn
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2019, 07:41:04 AM »
I've posted this before, but I carved out a space behind my garage. We used book proceeds so we could write off both the construction costs and the square footage. I appreciate that not everybody has this option, but My God, if you do, DO IT.


Nice! That's a great workspace.

I have both the room and the privacy that many authors would give an arm for and haven't done anything with it. I have decided to frame my collection of political cartoon prints and those will be my wall art. I am trying to talk my SIL into painting for me so I don't have to pay to have it done. I am SO not a DIYer. But with his work schedule that is a bit iffy. 😜
 
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Cathleen

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2019, 08:53:23 AM »
Art is good. I second the suggestions above--more bookcases. Thrift store finds are okay because you can paint those, too (although you'd have to sand it first. YouTube is your friend here.)

There's no reason to balk at painting. My four-year-old grandson paints his Home Depot project every month. You pick a color, you brush the corners and fiddly bits, and then you roll the rest. It's just hard work. Do it in bits so you don't get overwhelmed. Or have a painting party and provide the pizza.

Note: Be sure to cover your head when you're rolling the ceiling or you'll be getting speckles out of your hair for some time. : )

Also, consider a daybed with lots of colorful cushions. You can get really neat covers for them on Amazon so you can keep changing them out. And valances or curtains.

I generally like cool colors, so my default recommendations are pale gray, green and blue. I'm not so keen on the other end of the spectrum, but a pale yellow is warm and looks nice with white trim and ceiling. If you want something more neutral, a tan works pretty well.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Ugly office syndrom
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2019, 09:57:00 AM »
Art is good. I second the suggestions above--more bookcases. Thrift store finds are okay because you can paint those, too (although you'd have to sand it first. YouTube is your friend here.)

There's no reason to balk at painting. My four-year-old grandson paints his Home Depot project every month. You pick a color, you brush the corners and fiddly bits, and then you roll the rest. It's just hard work. Do it in bits so you don't get overwhelmed. Or have a painting party and provide the pizza.

Note: Be sure to cover your head when you're rolling the ceiling or you'll be getting speckles out of your hair for some time. : )

Also, consider a daybed with lots of colorful cushions. You can get really neat covers for them on Amazon so you can keep changing them out. And valances or curtains.

I generally like cool colors, so my default recommendations are pale gray, green and blue. I'm not so keen on the other end of the spectrum, but a pale yellow is warm and looks nice with white trim and ceiling. If you want something more neutral, a tan works pretty well.

I took my grandson and granddaughter to Home Depot for their projects, too. Great marketing on their part, but the kids loved it. Grandson ran out of room for badges on his apron, he had so many. Granddaughter ended up golfing on Saturdays with her father so she stopped going with me.

Paid off, too. Grandson puts together all my flat pack furniture.  :banana-riding-llama-smiley-em
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 09:59:07 AM by Maggie Ann »
           
 
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