My writing space: before & after

I’m always interested in learning about writer’s work spaces–offices, coffee shops, the couch! It’s so interesting to get a glimpse at where (and how) the magic happens.

Back in December, when I was still working part-time at my web design job but had every intention of eventually writing full-time, I decided I wanted a dedicated writing space at home. A room I could go to and write. A space that would be for work, but would also feel like an escape and a comfort. A place I wanted to be.

This all lead to a huge overhaul of a spare bedroom in our house. So today, in addition to showing you my writing space, I wanted to share some before and after photos of this office remodel πŸ™‚

This was the room before it was my office, while I was in the process of cleaning it out (click to enlarge):

It has three windows and gets lovely light, both in the morning and evening. That couch in the corner has a pull-out bed, hence why this space was doubling as a very lame guest bedroom. There are some weird built-ins on the wall next to the door that we still use as extra closet space. (Currently they hold winter jackets and scarves and holiday decorations.)

I wanted to keep the couch for two reasons: 1) so the room could continue to double as a guest room, and 2) because while I love to work at a desk while answering emails, writing blog posts, and revising, I am still most comfortable drafting on a couch. (For me, something about being comfortable and relaxed helps the words flow more than sitting at a desk ever will.)

I had a plan to turn the far corner and wall to the right of the built-ins into my official “work” space. After lots of measuring, sketching, and pinning, I made a trip to Ikea. The Engineer helped me assemble everything, and I then spent the next few months filling my new office with artwork and decor that make the space feel like me.

Here’s the end result (click to enlarge):

And here’s a closer look at some of my favorite details in the room.

vintage globe (Etsy), framed greeting cards (Rifle Paper Co.), and some inspirational block letters (Michaels)

illustrated wall calendar (Rifle, again)

print of the incredibly inspirational Holstee Manifesto

candle holder & lantern (Pier 1) and another fun print (by Melanie Linder and snagged via Fab)

It’s the little things that I love about this office. The fact that the couch is right nearby. The creamy whites and blues and greens. The pops of color in the rug and wall map. (That map is magnetic, by the way, and I plan to put it to good use while plotting one of these days.) I’ve got tons of storage space between the cubbies and filing cabinet. And it’s just cozy. It’s a place I love to spend time in. (Which is an important thing when I seem to spend 90% of my days here.)

It was a long time in the making, but I’m so glad I took the time to redo this office the way I wanted. It’s truly a joy to wake up each morning, stumble into the kitchen for my coffee, and then head to “work” in this room. Truthfully, it rarely even feels like work. πŸ™‚

What about you? Do you have a dedicated writing space? Where do you work from? Tell me in the comments!

35 Responses
  1. Sarah G.

    So lovely! I love the color scheme and all the prints. I actually saw that calendar at a stationary store one day and was very tempted by it! One day I aspire to live someplace where my bedroom is not also my office. A girl can dream.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I’m a huge fan of the soft color scheme too. (Very calming for when I’m wrestling with a revision πŸ˜‰ ) Start pinning/collecting inspiration now! Than you can act quickly the day you have a dedicated office room πŸ™‚

  2. Oh it’s SO lovely! I’m so glad you did a full before and after. I, too, am sort of oddly obsessed with people’s work spaces. And every print you chose is pretty much perfection. What a fantastic space to get inspired in!!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Half the reason this post took so long was that I wanted to do the true before/after, so even though the desk and cubbies were up pretty quickly, it wasn’t until months later that I had shelves and art and decor. (But it was worth it. It’s truly an inspiring space to work in πŸ™‚ )

  3. Kristin Halbrook

    What a great before and after! I’m inspired to add more prints and writerly inspiration to my office space thanks to this. Love it!

  4. It’s beautiful, Erin! I have to say: I’m a little jealous. Since we moved, my writing space is the poorly lit kitchen table. πŸ™‚ Love all the details the the tranquil color scheme you chose. Here’s to lots of productivity in your new space!

  5. Kelly Fiore

    Erin, this is so lovely! I have a map in our front room/library that is mounted on a cork board and we put little pins in it every time we go somewhere new. It’s one of my favorite things. This is a great space – I know you’ll put it to good use!

  6. Beautiful, Erin. Really Gorgeous!!! I love it!
    I write in the train, pretending on the couch sitting next to my hubby since that is where I write otherwise. Like you I cannot write sitting at a desk, it just doesnΒ΄t feel right πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks, Elodie! And the desk is just too restrictive to the loose flow of ideas, I think. Revising at the desk I’m fine. Better than on the couch, even. But not when I’m trying to get the story out during a first draft!

  7. I’m pretty jealous of your snazzy workspace! Since I’m currently in the eating-ramen-several-times-a-week part of my life, my writing space consists of a desk I found for $20 on Craigslist. It lives in my room, and is covered in neon sticky notes.

  8. Sallie Mazzur

    Wow, what a great space! It definitely helps that the room you chose had good bones to begin with. I always find myself looking at each room I go into as a potential office. I end up thinking how I could rearrange furniture and put bookshelves on that wall, and etc. If I could have my way, I’d have a house full of office style rooms, all with different themes! (Wishful thinking… πŸ™‚

    It’s also really practical that you kept the pull-out sofa. Not only does it benefit your writing with being comfy, it can double as a guest room when you need it. I enjoy staying in people’s guest rooms that have their own spin, just because you can learn a lot from a person when you see how they decorate and fill their own space.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Jean Giardina

    Just beautiful, Erin. I love the natural light. Very inspiring. Here’s to many happy hours spent working in your new space.

  10. Emy Shin

    Oh, that’s such a gorgeous office. I remember drooling over your desk space in your Go Away, I’m Reading! video — and it’s so nice to see the entire office.

    My favorite piece of decor is the Holstee Manifesto. It’s definitely something I’d want for my own future dream writing space.

    I don’t have my own office, mostly because I’m constantly moving at the moment, so I try to keep my possessions light. Mostly, it’s just a desk with a calendar. But I do hope to settle down and have my own little writing space in the future.

    1. Thanks, Emy. For what it’s worth, this is the first official office space I’ve ever had. Until now, my desk was always either in my bedroom, or cramped against a wall in the living room, etc. It’s nice to have a dedicated room now.

  11. Very nice! I love all the personal touches you’ve included. We just moved into a new house, and I’ve claimed one room as a sewing and writing room. I love it already–it’s all windows πŸ™‚ Now for getting everything put away…

  12. I love your office, and as I said, I love the organization. I totally need some of those skills. My organization style can be called “organized chaos,” which just looks like mess to everyone else. πŸ˜›

    I love reading and writing on the couch too, but I’m actually more productive at a desk with writing! I think it’s the whole sitting up straight thing. It gets me to focus. Haha.

    And I love your prints!

  13. Bruce

    Very lovely and stylish. As an HGTV fan, I’d say you’ve got another career option in design if you get bored with writing. But oddly enough it is a space I could never work in. I’m one of werdios that wants to work in a cave. Give me a hobbit hole with no windows:) I’ve even blacked out the one window in my basement office with black paper. As a teacher I’m surrounded with people, noise, and disruptions all day so when I write I want to shut out the world as much as possible. It’s just me, my books, my rock collection and a very quiet carved troll named Steen.

    1. Thanks, Bruce. And you know, needing to work in a cave doesn’t sound too weird to me. (In college, when I was studying web design, my favorite lab to work in was dark, without any windows. I liked how I couldn’t see outside, especially if the weather was great and I was stuck at a computer.) But for writing, I seem to like windows and light.

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