Published On March 12, 2018 | Last Updated November 07, 2018

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Home office makeover
The den, bonus room, family room…. What is this extra space in your home really meant for, anyway?  And what’s the best way to use the room?

I call my front room “The Study.”  It’s a combo home office, library, sitting room.  And it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Here’s how I transformed my room from a dirty and awkward space, to a comfy retreat, packed with useful efficiency.  And the absolute best spot to relax with a book.


This room was marketed as a Den when I bought the house.  I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  But I loved the bay window, even though it was hidden behind blinds that had been “modified” by cats.

Home-Office Before

I didn’t really know what to do with this room at first.  And since I was moving from a small studio apartment, I didn’t have any furniture for it either.

Rather than just rushing out and buying furniture to fill the space, I took some time to think about how I wanted to use the room.  It gets great afternoon light, and has a lovely view of the front yard.

Before putting any furniture in the room, I painted the walls a soft gray-blue.  And then, after lots of planning, and saving up to buy some specific furniture pieces, I think the result is pretty great.

Home office makeover

The warm wood and leather tones in this room make it feel very classic.  Let me tell you about some of my favorite features, in case you want to copy some of these ideas.

Shelves, Work Station, Filing Cabinet

I bought shelving units from Staples for the back wall.  This included a desk and hutch unit, which makes a great home office work area.  (The exact set I bought is called the Lexington RTA Harvard Collection, but it appears to be discontinued.)

I use some of the small home office organization techniques I described in a previous article to get the most out of the space.

The shelves are used for storage, and for holding my book collections.  My organizing method is to sort books by topic, and then by size.  For example, all of my Agatha Christie mystery novels fill one shelf.

Books on open shelves
Open shelves are perfect for books, and storage space.

Since they weren’t custom built for the space, the shelves don’t entirely fill the wall.  In the corner is just enough space for a small filing cabinet.  This one was a salvaged thrift store find.  It’s perfect for keeping my important papers in order.

Home office filing cabinet
A filing cabinet tucked in the corner keeps paperwork organized.

A couch for relaxing

A leather reclining love seat continues the rich look of the cherry wood shelves.  It’s such a warm and inviting spot to relax with a book, or cup of tea.

Old maps hang above the couch.  A side table made to look like an old steamer trunk carries on the hint of old world travel.  It also adds a little more storage space.

The paper lantern in the corner is one of my favorite additions.  For just a few dollars, it adds a little touch of character.

Home office library

The best seat in the house

The bench in the bay window is one of my favorite spots in the whole house.  I love sitting in the window alcove on a cold but sunny day, enjoying the view outside.

Window seat bench

The bench also opens for even more storage.  There is so much storage space packed into this small room!

Window seat bench with storage

The Study

With all the woods, leather, and warm colors in this room, it has a classic feel.  And that’s why I call it “The Study.”  It’s part home office, part library, part sitting room.  And I love it all.  I hope it’s given you some ideas for your own home.

Home office with library

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