Formal Dining Room to Masculine Home Office

Jeannett!  What’s going on here?!  You’ve blogged sporadically for months, and now you’re blogging all kinds!  Don’t you have a million and ten things to do before your trip to the hospital with Jill in just a few days?!?!?!

Dear Reader, I’m a Professional Procrastinator.  I thought you knew.  Love, j.

You might remember this photo from my original We Just Moved In post.  This room sits right inside the front door and is intended to be a formal dining room.  We have no use for formal Anything in the Universe, and my husband is self-employed.  They have an office space off site, but it isn’t uncommon for him to work from home on weekends and evenings.  He really needs to have a dedicated space to work from, and this space was the perfect size for a home office (and ironically, on the small side for a formal dining room).

When we first moved in, I dived in headfirst on painting and decorating our home.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  But this poor little room was left neglected and character-less.  In fact, it was down right depressing in there.

Andy happened to have a several day business trip to Dallas, on the same week as his birthday.  (Okay, fine…this all happened in SEPTEMBER.  Listen, at least I’m writing now, right?)  We are at a point in our marriage where we are hard to shop for, so I thought a perfect birthday gift (besides the obvious, ahem), would be to surprise him with a decorated office space.


Inspired by this image, I went to work.

I wanted to be careful to keep this room feeling both professional and masculine, and that it was HIS room.  I use it for blogging, but it was to be HIS office.  I settled on a navy blue/gold/white color scheme. Even though gold is trendy right now, it’s also super classic.  The fact that it’s the color du jour right now simply meant it would be easy for me to find things that worked.  And that proved to be so true as I went hunting.


I’m a big fan of gallery walls, and Andy had a handful of framed photos and awards that he likes to display.

I started by painting the back wall a deep navy blue.  (New York State of Mind by Benjamin Moore).


The rest of the walls were painted the light gray (Burnished Clay by Behr) that I have running through the rest of the living areas so that it all tied together and it kept the room from getting too dark and dreary.

First, I shopped my house for things that might work in the room, and then headed out with a Porkchop in tow to see what else I could find on clearance.  (Because I buy next to nothing full price, as you shall soon see).


We had the desk already, but it was a simple DIY.  Three cubby type shelves from Wal Mart and a large piece of melamine cut down to size.

We also already had the big G (I got it at Joann’s for a couple of bucks), and I spray painted it gold (it’s made of cardboard/kraft paper).

The big gold mirror was a clearance find at Ross ($7.99), and while it’s useless so high up, I liked that it filled up a lot of space and reflected light in the room.

The computer monitors were mounted directly onto the wall, freeing up maximum desk space.


This big clock was also on clearance at Ross (for $9.99) because it has a couple of dings in the frame.  I keep meaning to touch up the scratches with a marker, but it honestly doesn’t detract from the look and I keep forgetting.  Maybe someday.


This mail sorter was one of the only things I paid full price for, ($19.99 at TJ Maxx), but I really liked it and knew that while I could make due with most things, I would likely never find something with this mix of metal and wood.


You might remember the big chandelier that was hanging in here.  Once Andy was back in town, I had him pull that down and hang this DIY drum shade light.  I found this simple lamp shade and bought a hanging light kit…for less than $25, we had a new, sleek lighting fixture for a fraction of what one of these cost.  Of course, a set of small hands scrunched it so now it has a small dent in it, but just whatever man.  Although it drives me BATTY.

And you might remember that I took that same ugly chandelier, hit the metal with a coat of spray paint and hung it in the porch.

Anyway, back to the office…


I happened upon this PERFECT little bankers lamp at a yard sale for $7.  I was thrilled that it had a white glass shade instead of the traditional hunter green.  I may or may not have squealed in public.


A tiny white and gold ceramic dish (also on clearance, from Target) is perfect for holding little odds and ends.


The gold tint glass pen holder is actually a vase/candle holder I had from a thanksgiving table spread I did a few years ago.


And this leather catchall holds paper clips, media cards, and assorted Lego pieces.  (Clearance.  TJ Maxx)  I think it’s supposed to be for watches and jewelry type of thing.


I found this letter tray at Target (not on clearance), and it was another one of those rare times when it was too perfect to pass up.  Even if it was full price.


This wall is my least favorite part of the room simply because it’s a mish mash of lots of small pieces of furniture.  Someday, I would love to have a wall to wall, floor to ceiling bookshelf custom built for this entire space and get rid of all the little things.  But that’s expensive, and I was trying to put this room together on a tiny budget.  And that kind of thing kinda falls into the “remodel” category, as opposed to the “decorate” one.

Nonetheless, I did what I could to maintain my masculine theme and made this little vignette with a wood slice (I already had; purchased from World Market two years ago), a candle (I also already had), a space shuttle clock (Andy already owned), and a big rock Henry had excitedly brought in the house one of the first days after we moved into this house and gifted me as a present “because Mom, you really like white, and I really like rocks, so I thought this would be cute in our house as a decoration.”

That’s mah boy.


A chunky woven basket holds more odds and ends…in this case, camera lenses and random phone cords.  (TJ Maxx…I think it was $6.99)



I stinking love this little table I found at Target (on clearance).  Right now it holds our charging station.



I also found this white and silver speckled basket (on clearance at Ross), and I thought it would make a perfect wastebasket for the office.


In this corner sits an extra kitchen table, that landed here because I honestly didn’t know where else to put it.  Someday I’d love to replace it with a big, comfy leather chair, but in the meantime, I found this navy and gold throw pillow to soften it up.  No one sits in that chair anyway, so the pillow is mostly for looks.  Also, it’s really soft.  And pretty.

And when that big, comfy leather chair is there, that little gold and wood table would be perfect right next to it, don’t you think?



This orange chippy chest was Andy’s dad’s and it came to live with us after he passed away.  It’s not the best place for it, but for now, it houses extra office supplies, printer paper, and assorted cords.  We’ll never get rid of it, but this is admittedly not the ideal permanent home.

The briefcase was a gift I bought for Andy way back 11 years ago when they first started the company.  We were young and broke as all get out, but I TOTALLY splurged and bought him a real-life leather case for his birthday.  (In fact, I remember him nervously asking how much I spent on it).  Both as a present and as a symbol of my faith in his new entrepreneurial adventure.  I remember him feeling silly taking it back and forth to work at first.  Now he never leaves it home.


His and hers chairs.

His is 100% more comfortable than mine.

Mine is 100% cuter than his.


(Random story about that blue chair: I found it at Goodwill several years ago, loved it, but had absolutely ZERO use for it.  We didn’t even have this desk yet.  When I asked how much, the manager brightened and said “If you take it right now, and get it off my floor, I’ll give it to you for $15.  It’s been here for weeks.”  I gave her $15.  It wasn’t until a while later, that I realized you can buy this exact same chair at Target for $99.99.  SCORE.)


I’m super happy with the way the office turned out.  It ‘s a perfect space for Andy to work, and it looks nice even though it’s one of the very first things people see when they walk in the house.  And that big window gives it just enough natural light to keep that navy blue from making the room feel like a dungeon.

Someday, I would love to finish it off with wood/laminate floors to match the rest of the house, a big leather chair, and a built in bookcase.


And this is definitely, so totally, on my wish list someday too.  But that’s shockingly expensive.  Maybe someday.

I love that Andy has a true space to work in that fits his personality and isn’t just a hodge podge corner of the house.  I think he likes it too.

Okay, maybe I should go pack now.  But I won’t.  I’ll paint a room or something instead.

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    Love it. I’m laying here with after-crash whiplash hell, wishing I could paint my walls that lovely shade of blue, or anything really lol

    Great ideas, as usual.

    Many happy thoughts being sent your way for the next few weeks.