The Office

I painted the 500 lb credenza over the weekend, which spurred the official decorating of my office. By Monday night the last coat of poly had cured and we brought the furniture inside. Tuesday morning I headed down to my basement to go ‘shopping’ for my sorely neglected office, a long and narrow room off…

I painted the 500 lb credenza over the weekend, which spurred the official decorating of my office. By Monday night the last coat of poly had cured and we brought the furniture inside. Tuesday morning I headed down to my basement to go ‘shopping’ for my sorely neglected office, a long and narrow room off our living room. Seriously, the office was a mess – boxes still everywhere.

The dreaded Before shot. The contents of my desk were all over the floor while my desk was getting a face lift.

Here’s how I put the room together with almost no money:

1. Revamped Parsons Desk

I bought a vintage Parsons desk on Craigslist a year or two ago for almost nothing. This is after I sanded it.

I had painted it a fun green color, but now I wanted a sort of dingy pale aqua color, similar to Martha Stewart for Valspar “Vintage Map.” Since the desk is pretty small, I decided to save money on paint and mixed my own color using some glossy white latex and a little bit of turquoise and brown acrylic craft paint.

I rolled on the paint with a mini-roller and did about three coats. After letting the last coat dry overnight, I used my favorite product – Wipe On Poly. Yes, it’s as easy and awesome as it sounds. Polyurethane sealer that you wipe on.

Action shots!!

Two good coats of Wipe-on in “Gloss” and 24 hours of curing time and the Parsons desk looked as good as new.

2. DIY Fabric Shade

I used about a yard and a half of linen from my stash and a roll of 1.5″ red grosgrain to make a fabric shade for the window. It still needs to be lined, but it’s not bad for a $0 project. Here are the instructions for making your own.

3. New (old) RED Credenza.

After reading this post from Nick Olsen a while back, I picked up a couple cans of Rustoleum’s ‘Saftey Red’ Spray Enamel at Home Depot for a client’s project. We ended up going with a different color scheme, but I kept the spray paint. And I’m so glad I was able to use it on this project! Isn’t it a fun color? The perfect orange-red.

Since I know you will ask — I did prime the credenza first. Well. Part of the credenza – just the top since that’s the part that gets the most wear.

I rolled on my trusty Zinsser and let it dry while I worked some magic on the dingy brass hardware with white vinegar and salt.

The credenza ended up needing two or three coats of the spray enamel. Because I invested $2.95 in this reusable spray painting nozzle/trigger/thing, my pointer finger and I are still on speaking terms. AND the paint job looks professionally sprayed.

The freshly painted credenza got two coats of Wipe-On Poly as well and it was done. I love the way the cleaned up brass hardware looks against the orangey red!

4. Pretty Inspiration Boards

I picked up a pair of very cheap cork boards and painted the frames with that same yellow paint that I used in my girls room (Martha Stewart “Olive Oil”). No need to tape or to be careful with the paint job here since the cork will be covered up.

I measured and cut up some old fabric that I bought for a project and never used (–Are you picking up on a theme here??) and simply ran a line of fabric glue around the border of the cork board. I glued one edge at a time and smoothed like crazy so that the fabric would lay perfectly flat. (PS the fabric is an outdoor print made by Waverly, called “Lovely Lattice” in Lagoon)

Then I fabric glued on some red gimp/trim to cover any imperfections or gaps in the border.

I hung up the refinished cork boards about five minutes before taking pictures, so I haven’t had a chance to really style them yet with inspiration stuff, but that can be a fun ongoing project.

The rest of the room was put together with stuff I already had. An IKEA rug, an eBay lamp, some prints from a vintage shop, etc.

And that’s it for my (basically) $0 office redo! I’ve got some sort of cold/flu situation happening, so I think I’m going to call it weekend. See you back here Monday?

xoxo, Jenny

Join the Conversation

215 thoughts on “The Office

  1. I love the painted credenza! Can you spray it with all the doors/drawers in place or do you take them out and spray separately?

  2. Wow, this is unbelievable. I can't get over the transformation of these pieces and your styling is just perfection. You're inspiring this very not handy girl to try her hand at some DIY. :)

  3. Jenny —

    What's the economic cost? Your cost of goods was practically zero, but if you include labor (yours) and design expertise (yours) — aren't we looking at hundreds if not thousands of dollars?


  4. um. are you kidding me? I absolutely love it. love.

    you are too talented. I am so in need of a pinky finger's worth of your talent, its not even funny.

    hope you are well. your little green notebook is popping up on all sorts of blogs of people I know. you are famous, girl.

    tell Michael hello from us.
    love, sarah

  5. Beautiful! So fun. I love you for the inspiration and know-how you are sharing! Thank you, thank you. Keep it coming. I love the befores and afters. You're one talented gal!

  6. Gorgeous! You gave me a wonderful idea! I have an old, ugly dresser in the garage ready for yard sale day. It's about the same size & style of your credenza. I would love to do the same thing you did, only in a green color and get rid of my TV stand in the living room and use it to hold my tv and store items in the drawers, games and such. Thank you so much! You're a genius!

  7. I am a relatively new reader and this post has single-handedly inspired me to finally whip our tired den into shape. It has so much potential and needs a good dose of vibrant color — your scheme here is outstanding. Did the rug inspire your color scheme..? Everything works so well together and I certainly wouldn't have thought of that combination myself if I hadn't had some sort of piece to pull from. Absolutely beautiful work — and I will definitely be getting my hands on that spray nozzle!

  8. Ummm….WOW, gorgeous and cheap, so my style! I love your use of color and it's just so perfect together without being too matchy-matchy. LOVE it! :)

  9. love, love, love the credenza – like some other people, I had my doubts when you first posted about it but it turned out amazing! the bulletin boards are great too. I love the pale blue storage boxes – they aren't ikea, are they?

  10. You are amazing. I've been reading your blog and then realized just yesterday . . . I know you and Mike (who has been friends with my brother, Stephen, for a long time). We met at my mom's house last Christmas when you came over. I made the connection when you said you were married to a lawyer and lived in Delaware. Small world! I love your blog and desperately want to hire you for design help when we buy a house. Thanks for all the awesome inspiration!

  11. Wow, it's just beyond amazing. I absolutely LOVE what you've done, and you're really a genious with colors. I love the safety red you used for the credenza, I've been looking for something similar for an old antique frame. Needless to say – I'm a huge fan of what you've done!

  12. I LOVE IT!!! i had painted a credenza red a while ago, but after seeing ur orangey red i'm going to have to redo mine. It just gorgeous! What is the color you have used on your walls?

  13. LOVE the credenza.

    I finally got my husband to agree to let me paint our coffee table teal, so do you have any pointers, since it is a high use piece (as in we eat at it and not the dining table). I already have paint that is unfortunately not spray paint, but I need to match another piece I painted that is not high use.

  14. I'm new to your blog and I must say I LOVE your office transformation! The sideboard now has a nice Asian feel to it. My only suggestion is that you get a larger black shade for the lamp on the sideboard. Everything else is stupendous!!

  15. wow, wow, wow. LOVE the credenza transfer and i will be trying the cork board idea today!! thanks for sharing.

  16. gorgeous, i am so impressed with your decorating skills – i would have never thought to put all those colors together, but they are smashing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    love your blog and peek in here all the time – this is my second time looking at your office. love love love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. oh my goodness. i just love love love this look. how hip and modern and bright and fun. will be going in my inspiration binder.

  18. Watch out, old ugly cork boards in the garage, I'm on to you! Especially, thanks for the trim tip to bridge the gap b/n fabric and frame. Molly

  19. Love the office! Inspirational for sure. I just painted furniture over the weekend and wish I would have known about the sprayer. I am going to have to buy one ASAP.

  20. Jenny, What are your thought re: spray painting vs. regular painting? I have an old credenza that I'd like to re use in my LR, but can't decide if spraying or just rolling it on is best.

© Jenny Komenda. All Rights Reserved.
Site by