Ask the Cheaping Girls - Office Edition

Hello Everyone!

We have a quite a backlog of "Ask The Cheaping Girls" questions. My goal is have all of these answered in the next week.

WE LOVE YOUR QUESTIONS!! Keep them coming and we'll keep our 2009 resolution to get them answered in a more timely fashion.

This question comes from Ashley, who needs to vamp up her office. Since her original office is now the nursery, they have moved the office into their master bedroom.

"I like the space, but I cannot figure out how to decorate it on a very low budget. Any ideas to give this little office nook a lift?"
I work remotely from a home office. I live in an open loft so my office is right in the middle of my house where everyone can see it.

A critical item for me is my filing cabinet, where I not only have files, but I hide business books, reams of paper and other random items.
A second critical item is cute storage containers. I like the Kassett series from IKEA for long term storage - samples of work and important documents that I need to keep around for a while.

You can also find fabulous little boxes for odds and ends at TJ Maxx and Ross. I hide all of my pens, post-it notes, paper clips, cables, etc. in these three boxes that are made from recycled magazines.
I would recommend the Linen Bulletin Board from Pottery Barn. It’s a tad expensive at $129 but we’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. And don't be afraid to put an over sized item in a small space. Mom and Janaan both have one of these (Mom gave me one for my birthday but I had to return it because my walls are all concrete and brick. Sniff...Sniff...) and it’s large enough so that you can display a calendar, greeting cards and all of those little reminders in a lovely way.
Just because it’s an office doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and inexpensive little touches. If you must have a stack of folders or papers on your desk (which I often do), it helps that everything is in a cute file folder. Then it just becomes another decoration in the room rather than a pile of paper. I found these file folders at Ross.

Other cute office supplies:
Letterpress Calendar
Trendy Staples - Seriously
Fight the Cubicle Blues

As much as possible – avoid cords. I have a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse for my iMac and it helps reduce the amount of clutter on my desk not to have a bunch of cords around. I also suggest buying a surge protector power strip with a cover on it. These are pricey, but are well worth the cost when lightning strikes near your house (yes, this has happened to me). I like the Belkin Small Conceal Surge Protector.

A lot of non-office furniture can be useful for the office. In Mom's office/craft room she used metal kitchen racks for storage (we bought these at Costco). All of the baskets and boxes on the racks are from Ross and TJ Maxx:

I am a big fan of exposed objects (my kitchen cabinets have glass fronts). Mom and Janaan both have this ribbon rack (again, I have one of these in storage due to my concrete wall situation). These are available on custom order from Rod Works.

Rod Works also makes a wrapping paper rack similar to the ribbon rack, but we have all bought this outdoor Huson Plant Pot from IKEA and put our wrap in there.

Earlier this week, our friend Kim suggested that we check out Ali Edwards new nursery on her blog. Her nursery is really lovely, but her office is fabulous as well:

She has a great mix of found items and a mix of styles - new, vintage, creative, random, fun, eclectic. There are great ideas in both the nursery and the office.

So to make a long story short (too late...):

- Don't be afraid to put something large in this space - a bulletin board, mirror, or photograph/collection of photographs

- Hide tiny/unattractive objects in cute storage containers

- Hide cords and cables and electronics whenever possible

- Use the objects in your office as part of the decoration - paper, wrapping, ribbons, folders, etc.


The Cheaping Girls


Ryan & Ashley Blair said...

Well, you will have to stop by my blog to see what I did. . .however, my laundry room/ craft room is my next project. I think I will have to use the ribbon spool idea. Thanks you guys!

Natalie said...

Hey There!! Your blog is private now. Can we get an invite? See you Sunday!! :-)

Ryan & Ashley Blair said...

My blog was private then I changed my mind. . .so, go for it.

rochelle said...

Natalie- try Tap Mounts for your brick and cement walls. We had to use them when we lived up at the U in the University housing. We had cinder block walls (sexy, I know...) anyway Tap Mounts were all we could use to hang decor. I know you can get them at K-mart, but you may try some of the other big box stores. Great post!!!!

zobars said...

I like the way you have stored the ribbons and the pot is a great place for your wrapping paper.