Create a Quirky Cottage-Style Home Office
Earthy florals, wood, and stone mingle with an industrial metal desk for an updated take on an English farmhouse look. Here's how to re-create it on a budget
A home office should be functional, but not at the expense of character—or even a little risk-taking. The design of this workspace, for example, is traditional English cottage style with a twist. It's where nature-inspired wallpaper and 19th-century antiques, such as a spindle-back armchair and a rustic pine chest, take supporting roles to a scene-stealing mid-century brushed-steel desk with an industrial edge.
"There's a quirky juxtaposition of styles and periods, but the harmonious colors and weathered finishes make it work," says Ros Byam Shaw, author of Perfect English Farmhouse (Ryland Peters & Small), which features this room. The contrasts continue with accessories such as a graphic flat-weave rug, which enlivens and warms up the limestone-paver floor. Keep reading for ways to strike a similarly pleasing balance in your home office.
Trade a nondescript filing cabinet for a tall dresser to stow papers and supplies. This one has a weathered finish that resembles the homeowner's antique pine dresser.
About $180; walmart.com
Instead of paying $1,000 or more for a restored industrial-style desk, get one in used condition and fix it up yourself. We found this beige one for About $275 at Build It Green!, a reuse center in New York City. Remove old paint with an eco stripper, such as SoyGel. Then buff the bare steel to a soft sheen with a random-orbit sander, and top with clear polyurethane to prevent rust.
Rather than relinquishing space to a desk lamp, stand a light beside your work surface instead. The mica shade on this one radiates a soft glow that's easy on the eyes.
About $50; target.com