Shared Office & Dining Room

If I could have my way, I would live in my pretty, cozy photography studio. Everything is so bright, airy, and clean there, a far cry from the normal state of my home. Unfortunately, I can’t live there (in fact, it’s forbidden in the lease agreement) and the bulk of my workload happens at my home office. When we first moved into this house, we considered sharing my office with either the master bedroom or my daughter’s room. It didn’t take long before we realized that the hours I worked would interfere with both my daughter’s nap schedule and my night-shift husband’s sleep schedule. Both options were very quickly taken off the table. The left the living room or the front room, which had been designated as the dining room. Now, I’m one of those people that gives into distractions, which meant the more barriers we could place between me and the rest of the house, the better. So, the front room it was!

Shared Office & Dining Room

The only probably was that the room was designed with a dining set in mind, not a home office. While it had a large, gorgeous bay window, it was also limited on wall space and the room’s only light was centered and hung low in anticipation of a table. Still, we had to find a way to make the space work.

Day 1 Dining Room

We started by painting the walls a soothing shade of green from Olympic called “Soothing Aloe” (Valspar’s “Cool Cucumber” is a close match) to add some lightness and cheeriness to the room. Unfortunately, the ceiling was forced to remain the same builder’s tan as the rest of the house. It’s going to be quite the undertaking to paint all the ceilings a crisp white, which is another battle for another day.

Over the next few months and LOTS of hours spent on Pinterest, we added pieces here and there, trying to achieve the look I had envisioned. The results are… close. There’s a lot more clutter than I would like and I’ve yet to find the perfect storage method for all my necessary supplies, but we’re getting there. The dinning room table and chairs still need to receive a makeover of their own, and I’ve since redecorated the shelves and added more pictures to the wall, but it’s slowly turning into a room that is both pretty and functional.

Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7526 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7522 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7520 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7521 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7523 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7524 Megan Marlene Photography, Anchorage Newborn Photographer_7525

For my desk, we went with this one by Threshold found at Target  (which is currently on sale for $88!) and paired it with this dining chair to bring in some much-needed texture. We grabbed the chair on sale for 50% off, which was a good price for the quality level, though I wouldn’t pay full retail.

After loving the look of the desk, I needed some storage for my files and packaging and added this cabinet and a simple white nine-cube (the kind you can find everywhere from Ikea to Walmart). I adore the cabinet itself, though the files didn’t fit nearly as well as expected. Oh well, just another excuse to do some more shopping!

Speaking of Ikea, I really wanted their wall files, but unfortunately, we don’t have a store up here. Thank goodness Amazon sold them! At a premium, of course. I tell you, someone could make a killing acting as a go-between for Ikea and non-continental-US customers. Hey! Alaska’s a state, too!

When it came to decorating the rather large wall above my desk, I wanted something that would inspire me on a daily basis, but not the typical word art or panting, though I adore those as well. Instead, I decided to do a gallery wall of all of our extended family. The result is one of my favorite features of the whole room. At any moment of the day, I simply have to look up and I see my mom cuddling with my daughter on our favorite beach, my now-heaven-bound grandmother smiling, surrounded by kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. I see Micah’s dad, known as “Appa,” holding Caleb, and even his laugh lines were smiling. I’ve added it the gallery over the last few months and even now there is a fresh box of frames waiting to be hung. Oh, and we use these frames in a mix of black and white for some added variety.

Now, let’s talk budget.

Paint – 1 1/2 cans, approx. $25
Desk – on sale, $90
Chair – on sale, $45
Cabinet – on sale, $105
Wall Files – regular price, $50
White And Black Frames – multiple sets, $90
Dining Room Table & Four Chairs – thrifted, $120
Nine Cube Cabinet – on sale, $40
Blue Chair – thrifted, $20

Total- $585

There. I *think* that’s the all the major furniture and design elements. All the links can be found below, including some of the other pretties, too. All in all, we love that we came in at a comfortable price point while managing to find some great pieces on sale and at thrift stores. The entire process took about three months from start to finish but we’ve kept making small improvements and updates since then (including raising the light fixture!). After nearly a year in this room, I’m not as in love with the green as I thought I’d be, so that may be changing in the future. Either way, be expecting an update in the next few months.

What is your favorite “combo” room? How have you managed to find that balance between pretty and functional, while being budget-friendly?
(And should I keep the green or go with something more neutral?) 

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Paint- “Soothing Aloe” from Olympic 
Desk – Target
Office Chair – Target
Cabinet – Target
Wall Files- Ikea (also from Amazon)
White and Black Frames- Amazon
Large White Frame – Michael’s
Gold Frame – Michael’s
Quilt – Fred Meyer’s
Decor – mostly Target, Michael’s, JoAnn’s, and Fred Meyer’s

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