Setting the Tone
Even before we bought this house 2 years ago, I already had the home office pictured in my mind. I wanted a timeless, moody office that enveloped me. I pictured cozying up to a fire with a cup of tea and a good book and yes, occasionally working at a big wood desk. Actually, what I really wanted was an old-fashioned study with dark wood and even darker walls and for a butler to bring me tea and biscuits every afternoon at 3pm.
I had home office inspiration saved and one element kept popping up in all my photos: deep, dark walls, trim, and ceiling. So, that became my non-negotiable. Alas, the butler became optional.
When I toured this house and peeked a home office that had a fireplace and lots of light, I knew (KNEW!), that this was the setting for the office I’d been imagining. I’m not saying that this is what sold me on the house, but it didn’t hurt that I could picture the one room that was already designed in my head.
The Foundational Elements
The wall color when we moved in was a brown color that wasn’t doing the space any favors.
Even before we moved in, I painted the walls an inky green color by Benjamin Moore called Regent Green. It set the stage perfectly for the look I was going for which was a contrast of dark and light.
There were 4 different types of flooring on the main level alone with the office flooring being a dated thin planked oak that were original to the house when it was built in the ’90s. The floors in the entire house, including the office, were replaced by wide plank luxury vinyl tile that we had used in our last house and loved. Although I prefer the look and feel of real wood, we have 3 dogs so something durable was the right call and I don’t regret it at all. Our floors are amazing!
Furniture and Decor
I love searching through Facebook Marketplace to find furniture. Unlike with new furniture, I find that older furniture is made with attention to detail and long-lasting materials.
- Vintage Desk and Filing Cabinet: I struck gold with a vintage matching set – a desk and filing cabinet – showcasing rich wood tones that create a complementary contrast against the dark walls. After having the desk for a few years, the leather top started to show signs of age, so I replaced it, but other than that, the set is sturdily made and heavily used by just about everyone in the family.
- Freestanding Globe: When we arrived to pick up the desk and filing cabinet, the seller also had this large, freestanding globe that he was looking to sell so we snatched that up quick! It now stands in the corner and is the perfect conversation piece.
There is an antique fair in my area that always has the best finds and the first time I went, I stumbled upon a pair of vintage camel saddle stools that I now use a plant stand and accent seating. I really hemmed and hawed over whether to get them since they were a bit pricey, but I’m so glad I pulled the trigger. They are distinctive pieces that I wouldn’t have been able to find new and I feel lucky to have found them.
And I also bought some pieces new to include the glass and metal coffee table and the camel colored velvet couch that my dogs love sleeping on in the afternoons.
The Art of Lighting
Dark walls, ceilings, and trim can definitely set a mood in a space, but it can lean to the gloomy side so we needed the right lighting to set off the space. I chose three different classes of lighting and firmly believe that every space needs these three combos:
- Task Lighting: I like using a floor lamp with an adjustable arm to beautifully light a reading or workspace. I’m on the hunt to replace the one I have in the office currently with something with a bit more personality and really like this one.
- Ambient Lighting: A chandelier or pendant with a warm, dimmable bulb to cast a soft, inviting glow is a must. Dimmable recessed lights work as well, and we used both recessed lights and a chandelier in the office. I really like this chandelier because it leans toward being modern but still works in this space because of the brass and black accents.
- Accent Lighting: Sconces or a gallery light pulls a space together and we opted for a brass gallery light above the artwork.
- Natural Lighting: And of course, candles in any space are always set the tone. I’ve moved around these candlesticks from room to room because they’re so versatile and should really just get another set.
This was the first room I designed in our new home and it’s now my favorite room in the house. It has that cozy enveloping feel that I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Room Paint Color: Regent Green by Benjamin Moore (Flat on the walls and Satin on the trim work)
Camel Saddle Stool (similar)
Freestanding Globe (similar)
Filing Cabinet Area
Arch Mirror (similar)