A Little Office Organization (& Sorting Books By Color)

Our office looked like this when we first laid eyes on the house.

Then it looked like this on moving day.

 And here’s what it looks like about a week and a half into living here.

On one hand, it doesn’t look THAT crazy. I mean there could be a llama standing in the middle of the rug eating popcorn. But on the other hand, this room has a LONG way to go before it’s functional for two working adults (yup, we currently only have one desk going on). And the whole all-furniture-against-the-wall-with-a-little-round-rug-in-the-middle thing is a little weird.

As for what we’re envisioning down the line, we’d love to have some sort of double desk action going on (probably floating or as a peninsula so it’s attached to one wall on the side) with lots of storage and some awesome organization stuff in play. So a few images that are currently inspiring us for this room are:

  • this one (maybe we can add built-ins and a window seat under the bay window?)
  • this one (additional shelving might be handy, and I love how these don’t all line up)
  • this one (those glass fronted cabinets! Me-ow!)
  • this one (cool beams for architecture, fun lighting, graphic curtains, and lots of storage)

While we let things percolate and brainstorm what we really want to gain from the space, I like to gaze at the things that I like in the meantime. Like this corner. Clara reads/hangs out in the chair, and a big leafy green plant in a long low window = one of my favorite things.

Here’s the corner on the other side of the bay window. We leaned our big chalkboard there, and Clara has already been tagging it up, so we like the idea of having some zones for her along with eventually having two functional work areas for us.

It’s the lightest/brightest room in the whole house, which is just right for an office and a spot for Clara to come in and hang with us, so it’s nice that it worked out that way. This was originally a formal living room, but we don’t need a family room and a living room, and we love a cozy living/family room in the back of the house (where nobody can see our TV glowing from the street). And since that room in the back was also off of the kitchen and in close proximity to the deck along with having a fireplace, we thought the light and bright room that was somewhat closed off from other spaces was the best spot for an office.

Here’s the other side of the room, where the storage/function that we do have is currently residing. The Ikea bookcase on the right was in our sunroom, but that’s an awesome addition since we lost the built-in cabinetry from our previous office. The filing cabinet on the left was always in our office (it’s from Ikea with Hobby Lobby handles) so that’s where the printer hides along with a bunch of files on the bottom shelf.

And I can’t believe I’m a blogger who hasn’t put my books in color order yet. Hello? Have I been living under a rock? Turns out it’s fun and takes about ten minutes. I used to wonder “but is it harder to find books because they’re arranged by color instead of topic/author?” But let’s be real. I never arrange them by anything (not by topic, color, or even by size – I usually just randomly stack them everywhere. So it’s just as easy to find them as before, and maybe even faster if I remember one as having a certain colored cover (then I just have to look on that shelf and can ignore 80% of the other books on the bookcase).

Among the books are a few file boxes, some notebooks and post its, receipt storage, and little desktop things like our pig speaker dock, a bajillion pencils, and a tiered little white box from Target a few years back with three “inboxes” for storing things like tear sheets, printouts, and other worky stuff. And that’s my little cork board from my closet leaning up against the wall (thought that might be helpful for work stuff – maybe if we frame it out and properly hang it up?).

This shot is just funny to me because it demonstrates that no matter how much help a room might need, if you get close enough, you can usually find something sweet. Crop, crop, baby.

Although my favorite shot of the room so far is this one. Sure the lighting’s harsh and it’s a little crooked, but I walked by and saw Clara playing in that big bay window and it was perfect.

Just like that detail shot two pictures ago demonstrated that moving closer can strategically crop the weird stuff out, this picture is a funny reminder that moving further away can conversely reveal even more to be done. Like more blue trim to paint, more wallpaper to strip…

… and more old carpeting to send packing.

We’ll get there someday.

Psst- Last night we shared our favorite video of all time on Young House Life. Oh man, that kid.


  1. Vanessa says

    My teenage nieces are weirdly obsessed with llamas and would find a llama eating popcorn in their house just about the coolest and funniet thing ever! Not crazy at all! The house is looking wonderful! Those wood floors upstairs are swoon worthy and I am sure the rest of the house will be just as “swoony” (yep…that is totally a word) soon!

  2. says

    Putting in my vote for some glass-fronted cabinets here! I have one full of trinkets and treasures and books and it’s such a JOY that none of the stuff needs dusting (our house gets dusty in 0.5 seconds). I also really like the Ikea Billy bookshelves that have a door that’s glass up top and solid below so you have a nice mix of on show and hidden storage.

    • Anna-Lisa says

      I vote for glass-front cabinets too – I’m imagining a modern take on a study/home library, since the room is big enough for more than just desks.

      Also, I might be crazy and it might totally clash with the green things already in the room, but would the rug from y’all’s last living room work in here?

    • Marcee .... ILLINOIS says

      YES! Wow … for sure you are off to a grand beginning. What a lovely house.

      All your current “picks” are fabulous …. so nice. I absolutely adore those yellow bookshelves. Extra space for junk is the best invention …. ever. They are glassed-in right? This lady is not fond of dust-bunnies. Been doing the daily cleaning toooo long.

      Keep on posting …. we will keep on reading!

  3. says

    It’s so weird not seeing your space all polished and modern but I know patience come to those who wait! I’m sure you’re much more anxious to ‘get on that’ than we are though! Off to the other blog, I love Clara vids! She’s a sweetie!

  4. says

    One of my Dad’s favorite movies is *Dead Poet’s Society* because it taught him to take a different perspective. Perhaps cropping or zooming in/out is photo version of that. :-)

    Way to go on finding and enjoying beauty in all of the moments!

  5. says

    That Clara picture is a keeper for sure! I LOVE all of the natural light you guys get. I can’t see a window from my little cubicle and must work by the flickering light of a florescent bulb…my job is pretty glamorous. :)

  6. Melody says

    When I see all your stuff in place for now, I think what a workout it’s going to be to move it in order to do your stripping and painting! Were you guys ever tempted to do all the walls before you moved in? Would you ever dream of owning and redoing an empty house all before you moved in?

    • says

      Nah, it typically takes us a few years to paint all the rooms of a house (just because we like to pick colors as we go and take our time with that). So we’d probably end up repainting stuff if we rushed into doing all the rooms at once before we moved in anyway. I’m grateful that it’s not a big deal for us to move furniture and paint rooms (I think we’ve done that 20+ times or so, haha).


  7. April says

    It’s going to look awesome when all that blue trim is gone! YUCK!!! The layout looks great and I like Clara’s desk in front of the bay window to look outside.

  8. says

    The natural light in that room is beautiful. I would love to see built-ins and a window seat! That would be a sweet little nod to the history of your home. I like how it kind of serves as a playroom too, to keep Clara busy while you work. Working from home doesn’t always have to mean locked up in a room. I much prefer open spaces!

  9. Alicia says

    I love the idea of a window seat with storage! I always wanted one as a kid…oddly inspired by Brenda Walsh!

  10. says

    We’re in the midst of our office redesign and we’ve been so focused on adding character to the door frames and getting the stencil on the wall that we haven’t really thought about the other fun stuff like built ins and decorations. We love the sunshine and brightness of your new office! Thanks for your inspirations, can’t wait to see what it looks like once you tackle the trim and walls!

    • Marcee .... ILLINOIS says

      Haaa. Sooo funny. Remember though …. Candice has tons of assistants + helpers making decisions. The outcome is (usually) gorgeous {{but}} we rarely see all the burps along the way. Only gripe re CO = she uses too much very heavy fabrics/materials.

      P.S. Sherry …. Clara’s train set is adorable! Does she play w/it? Several months ago I purchased (4) Thomas pieces for my adorable 2 year old great-niece …. a 2013 holiday gift!

  11. Peggy says

    I’m so jealous of your Real Wood Windows! Your house has beautiful classic details; I’m looking forward to seeing the modern spin y’all will put on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *