$15 to a Functional Office

Yes, you read that right, 15 dollars!!

I seriously feel like I won the Goodwill lottery with this luckiest furniture find EVER – especially since I had zero dollars in the budget to furnish this room!

But I really should back up and start this story from the beginning.

On move-in day we had all the rooms clearly purposed, so that all of our arriving belongings could go straight to their new homes. The poorly drawn floor plan below shows each of our upstairs rooms (mostly to size), and their respective uses.



After all the boxes had arrived and the moving trucks pulled away, our Office/Bedroom 4 went from looking like this:


To this disaster area:


I slowed picked my way through all the artwork and decor over the next few weeks, but  it stayed in this state of disarray longer than any other room in the house. I closed the door to the headache inducing yellow room at the top of the stairs, and let myself move on to something more pressing. I knew we didn’t “need” this room anytime soon.

My exact plan for this room involves a rotation of uses in the years to come. Here’s the five year plan: first an office, then a nursery (eventually – don’t get excited), then a guest room.

I was totally happy to leave this room as a closed-door staging area until I stumbled across this gem at the local (and incredible) Goodwill.


I’d seen it a few days earlier, but this time I was with my mom (the visionary) who turned the hutch around (it was backwards) on top of the desk to reveal what a useful piece it was! I think everyone was simply confused by it as it was setup before.

The best part (no secret, from the photo above) was the price!


But it gets even better!!

The sweet lady at the register asked if I was eligible for the discount. Not knowing what she meant, I shook my head no and was still delighted to pay only 20 bucks for an awesome piece for my home! Then she asked if I was shopping with my mom (who was behind me in line), and if she was eligible for the Senior discount. She absolutely insisted on giving it to me, and I was shocked to learn I received another 25% off my entire purchase! In the end, I paid 15 dollars for my brand new (to me) office furniture!

It took two SUVs to get it home that evening (I don’t miss you at all NYC subway/delivery fees and scheduling restrictions!). Mom and Dad helped us get it out of the vehicles and up the stairs. And… there it sat for at least a month, until I was ready to paint and place the unit in its final resting place.


It had its share of nicks and scrapes, but a furniture marker made those mostly invisible with only a few minutes of attention.



My next step was choosing the right paint color for the walls.

As you can see from the earlier photo, I’d already painted a few samples on the wall (SW Software, and SW Special Grey), but they really weren’t sending me. I couldn’t decide if it was the yellow glow that was affecting them – or if I just needed to go back to the drawing board.


As I completed painting a few other rooms in the home, I realized that I was really loving a lighter and brighter palate. Since this room only had one window, I was really concerned about making it too dark with a moody gray on the walls. I also didn’t want to go through the hassle of repainting this room as it transitioned from office, to nursery, to guest room. I needed something neutral ENOUGH, but also fresh and calming.

One day, I just went for it. No sample pot – just give me a gallon of SW Online. I’d held the paint chip up to my collection of colors I already loved in my home, and I could see that it matched well in its vibrancy and lightness. I hoped it would give this room individuality (by not repeating a color from another room) and still and give me that feeling of continuity, freshness, and “bringing the sunshine indoors” I was looking to achieve.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 3.42.23 PM

I didn’t even move the bookshelf – because I couldn’t get it to budge on my own- but I did stand on top of it and paint around it…truly professional grade work here folks.


That night I asked my husband to help me move the desk away from the wall, and I finished painting and trimming during nap time the next day.

Sadly, this photo is pretty grainy – but you get the idea.


We needed to solve a safety issue with the hutch before we could load up the bookshelves, and luckily my parents came by a few days later for dinner.

My mom had a fantastic idea (are you noticing a theme here?!) for adding a piece of decorative trim to brace the hutch edge where it met the base. (I’ll get you  visual momentarily). There were scratch marks on the top of the base that looked like this piece might have fallen before when the front edge of the bookshelf splayed under the weight of the books it would hold.


With a little guy running around, we wanted to make sure this thing was solid. We added two brackets to the back of the piece to hold the hutch to the top. Then, to prevent the edges of the bookshelf from slipping off the sides we used trim nails to attach small pieces of decorative trim to each side of the hutch. (I’ll stain these eventually).


They are surprisingly solid and are holding the hutch in place wonderfully!!

The office (per the usual) still has a long way to go before looking truly finished, but here’s where this one 15 dollar piece, a piece of trim, a coat of paint, and a 5 dollar chair (that still needs a lot of love) got us.


Since I’m currently blogging in my new office, I’d say it’s a pretty good sign that this room is moving in the right direction.

Now the next important decision…do I place my DIY pizza box artwork directly across from my desk, or is that a recipe for disaster?? And cravings?


What inspires you as you sit in your office? Scenes that reflect the view you’d like from a vacation home? Inspirational quotes are everywhere right now, but I’m just not sure they will last the test of time.  Suggestions are welcome!!








4 thoughts on “$15 to a Functional Office

  1. As usual your blog is great. It’s like being a friend that you are sharing with. Love the desk!! What a find! Wall color seems a good choice. I would love to have a piece of furniture like that. One piece combining so many. Your home seems like such a warm and welcoming place.


  2. Pingback: Inherited Hues: Upstairs | Tickled in NYC

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