Before I had a chic studio, I used to have a home office. To be honest, it was an excellent home office: Herman Miller workstation, matching chair, very neatly organized, etc. And what I did in there was good work. Over twenty years I ran a freelance writing business, did a psychology degree and Honors thesis, created online decluttering, organizing, and productivity programs, started a popular blog for introverts, and wrote and published two books.
But in there I always felt just faintly… miserable. Do you know why? Because it was an office.
More recently, over the course of a couple of moves, I turned my home office into a chic studio. An atelier. Here are the 6 steps I took.
1. I bought low, white, light furniture
- My desk has no storage or drawers – it’s just a simple, white table with silver legs.
- The matching chair is white and modern.
- I have a pair of small, low, white bookcases with no back and varying shelf widths – so they don’t look boxy or heavy.
- For storage I have a set of art drawers – low and wide and white, bien sûr.
- I also bought an angled art desk and stool, which is where I practice calligraphy.
2. I cleared the desk surface
On my desk I only have:
- my Mac
- a Kartell lamp
- a glass jar of pens, hand cream, and my rose gold Eiffel Tower scissors
- a succulent in a white pot
- and a pair of tiny turtles (one glass, one metal), named Titian and Tintoretto.
I cover the desk with notebooks and colored pens (and chocolate) while I’m working, but put everything away so the desk is clear when I’m done.
3. I arranged the bookshelves with creative books and art supplies
- I have a white Sonos speaker for listening to music – mostly concert music or chillout.
- There’s always a plant there too – I rotate plants through the apartment.
- Of course, there are all my research books for current projects. Right now there are books about art, calligraphy, style, elegance, and all things chic.
- And I have clear jars filled with art supplies – brush pens, glitter pens, gel pens.
4. I recruited an inspirational ‘team’
- On the bookshelf there’s a whimsical LED flamingo lamp called, ingeniously, Flamingo – they are beautiful and gender-neutral and remind me to celebrate difference.
- I have three Lucie Kaas kokeshi dolls – Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and Karl Lagerfeld, who inspire me to be creative and chic and hard-working.
- There’s also a pink print of Audrey, because I believe in pink (my favorite color) and because Audrey.
- Finally, I have a Pop of Ayra, from the very end of the series. She’s my favourite Game of Thrones character because right from the start, she knows who is, and she always stays true to herself: No, that’s not me. I wish I had her self-knowledge so young – but I’m determined to embrace it now.
5. I switched to studio-worthy activities
In my home office I used to:
- Make an effort
- Be busy and stressed
- Set unrealistic deadlines (which, shockingly, I never met)
- Design what I thought people wanted
- Write to word counts
In my chic studio I now:
- Make art
- Am in the flow
- Complete creative projects (when they are finished)
- Design what I alone can offer
- Write until I get tired
6. A different name… and it smells sweeter
Now, I always refer to ‘my studio’, never ‘the office’. At first this felt odd – like when you’re just married and saying ‘husband’ sounds weird and pretentious and eventually he says can you stop calling him that and maybe you’re reading too much Jane Austen. Now it’s natural.
Now, I love doing my creative projects in my chic studio. Like writing this post and making this blog for you, precious reader. And I never feel miserable in here. Not even faintly.
Are you inspired to turn your home office into a chic studio?
What changes will you make?