Decorating Tips

Nicole Balch Office Redux Under $200

August 26, 2008

Hello there! It’s me Nicole again from Making it Lovely. I’m transforming my so-so house into a lovely home, and I thought I’d share a little of my process with you while Holly’s away!

My office was one of the first rooms I finished when my husband and I moved into our home last year. As you know, I own Pink Loves Brown and I work from home, so I needed my office to be functional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t put all that much thought into the design of it. It’s really not that bad, but I’m ready for a change.

Nicole Balch Office Redux Under $200(photo by Evan Thomas, from my Apartment Therapy House Tour last year)

Here’s my office as it is now:

Nicole Balch Office Redux Under $200

The basics of the room will be staying. That means I’ll be keeping my desk, chair, bookshelf, lamp, and several other items. I’m even keeping the paint color! Normally, paint would be the first thing to go because it’s such an easy way to change a room for little money, but I think the color will work really well so it’s staying!

Nicole Balch Office Redux Under $200

I’m only changing four things. That’s it! I think it will make enough of a difference to keep me happy for a while though.

I can make the curtains out of Robert Kaufman’s Purple Utopia fabric for about $50 and then splurge on a Thomas Paul Flourish violet linen pillow for $100. I’ll attempt to make a slipcover for my desk chair (around $10), and then I’ll pick up a new Helmer drawer unit in white from IKEA for $40. The red one I have now could be spray painted if I wanted to do this all for even less, but I actually need another draw unit in my studio so I’ll just bring the old one up there.

So with two purchases, two sewing projects, and $200, I can have a whole new look! That is unless I change my mind and go with something else first. It’s been known to happen. ;) So what do you think about my office ideas? What are some quick changes you’ve made to spruce up your home office lately?

(images linked to sources above, layout and text by nicole)


  • Reply Kara August 26, 2008 at 6:40 am

    I think your office looks lovely already, but it’s going to be GREAT when it’s been re-done!

    Karas last blog post: I Wish More People Used Brightkite

  • Reply rebecca August 26, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Fantastic office re-vamp! …and on a budget too. I just love it. I have to get me that red draw tower from Ikea.

  • Reply daisy janie / scoutie girl August 26, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Very pretty Nicole (both of them). It’s amazing how much lighter the paint swatch looks in the bottom collection, even tho it’s exactly the same. Love that effect!! Have fun!

  • Reply Diana August 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful! What a great way to update your office! I love your desk choice, and I have that same IKEA shelf unit in my office! My hubby and I tacked brightly painted backerboard to it to give it a little kick. And I had to buy a lovely plant to keep me company. But sadly work on my office/workspace is slow-moving, with so many other house projects in the works.

    Dianas last blog post: Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution

  • Reply PJ August 26, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I can’t wait to see the results of the update! I love how just a few small changes can make a big difference.

    PJs last blog post: my new bamf* ride

  • Reply Nichole August 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    The colors and simplicity of your office are inspiring! I have to ask (and sorry that this seems kinda dorky), but what about the multi-level organizer on your desk? I’ve always tried finding cute yet useful office items like that, but always end up with the bulky black plastic ones! :)

  • Reply debra August 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    i love the pillow you have picked out for the new office! it really pulls the colors together (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s just super cute!)

  • Reply Taylor August 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Who says great decorating can’t be dirt cheap?!
    Not to mention it’s amazing how a few small changes can make a world of difference!

    Looks great.

    Taylors last blog post: Copper Earrings

  • Reply All Things Lovely August 26, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    It’s going to look absolutely gorgeous! The colours are so pretty and feminine. My office is a slow job, I’ve painted it, and now I’m slowly repainting old furniture white. Another year or so and I should be done!

    I love how you’re also going with a white base and then adding snippets of colour, can’t wait to see the finished result.

    All Things Lovelys last blog post: My New Bedroom

  • Reply Making it Lovely August 27, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Thanks, everyone!

    Nichole, the organizer on my desk is actually two organizers stacked on top of one another. The horizontal trays were from The Container Store (they’re just silver mesh and they stack together). The hot pink divider on top that holds paper vertically was by Isaac Mizrahi for Target.

    Making it Lovelys last blog post: Home Magazine

  • Reply Becky August 27, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Love the mood boards! And you know what, I have gotten several brand new Thomas Paul pillows off of ebay, usually in the $30 range. The exact one you like may not be listed, especially if it’s the current season, but there may be one with the same colors you like. Just an idea.

    I’ve gotten the yellow/gold barnwood pillow, the big green bouquet one, and others. And don’t get me started on his melamine plates–seriously addictive!

    Beckys last blog post: My Beauty Autobiography: Sell a Child and Buy This Stuff

  • Reply Mary T August 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    How is that chair to work in? I’m guessing good as you’re getting a second one! I’m thinking about getting that for my own home (and pink!) office.

  • Reply katelynjane August 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I have that cream colored drawer set from IKEA (: They’re really handy for storing little things, I love it!

    Thanks for the link to that fabric site too, I’ll have to buy from there for my bags!!

    katelynjanes last blog post: The snow will kill me yet.

  • Reply katelynjane August 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Um yeah, also, that’s so not my blog post it linked too…weird…

    katelynjanes last blog post: The snow will kill me yet.

  • Reply Elizabeth August 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    This office is beautiful!! And it’s going to be beautiful again. I’m in love with the desk. I see a change in my future…. :)

    Elizabeths last blog post: My First Daring Baker’s Challenge!

  • Reply Pencils August 27, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I think it will look great! I love the curtain fabric. I think your office will be more calm with the new scheme, which might make it easier to get work done.

  • Reply Jennae @ Green Your Decor August 28, 2008 at 9:24 am

    I’m a little partial to the original pops of red, but I love the new fabric and pillow ? mostly because I love Thomas Paul. Either way, you have impeccable taste!

  • Reply Sugarblush August 30, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I’m totally loving the new look. The office will look great. I love that pillow!

  • Reply maryam in marrakech September 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

    oooh, I want your old office. The red is so invigorating. But white will be very fresh:)

  • Reply martie June 30, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    hey! great office! I think that you should tell us how much each item costs so that if someone likes a piece of furniture, they can just glance at the price and decide whether or not they should buy it. Thanks!

  • Reply Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS July 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Great job! It’s so important to have your work space be inspiring! Here are some more affordable tips from my Gold Notes blog: Each one is $150 or less!

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up