Home Office Design Tips for Entreprenuers

My Top 5 Interior Design Tips for Your Home Office -Guest Post for Identité Collective

It's hard to believe but I've actually spent the majority of my Interior Design career as a self-employed creative entrepreneur. Not only have I learned a lot about business over the years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to efficiently and productively work from a home office.

Working from home and still getting the work done is a struggle for many entrepreneurs which is why I'm so excited to share the guest blog post I wrote for The Identité Collective, a full service creative studio serving boutique lifestyle brands. In this post I'll share my top five interior design tips for creating a productive and inspiring home office. 

You'll also get a a never-before-seen peek into The Indentité Collective founder's new home studio, including links to her favorite office furniture, decor and gadgets. If you like bright, white spaces you want to see this home office!

These tips work for everyone, no matter how much space you have in your home. Get my best home office design tips for entrepreneurs by clicking here

Product Highlight: MegMade One-of-a-Kind Furniture

An interview with MegMade founder, Meg Piercy.
Hand-painted and restored furniture for everyday living.

Today I have a very special post for you! If you love the look of unique painted and restored furniture you need to know about MegMade, a Chicago-based showroom that offers furniture refinishing, upholstered pieces, and more. Since its 2012 inception, Meg Piercy, founder of MegMade, has grown her business from painting changing tables in her home basement to a booming business that has sold over 3,000 pieces of furniture and has shipped to over 30 states. 

Wells Dresser by MegMade - Photo by  Aimèe Mazzenga

Wells Dresser by MegMade - Photo by Aimèe Mazzenga

I first heard of MegMade through one of my favorite podcasts, The Lively Show. In this episode Meg honestly discussed finding self-worth beyond work, marriage, and motherhood. I immediately checked out Meg's work and her one-of-kind furniture pieces have continued to appeal to me over the years. I believe it's important to bring objects and experiences into our lives that Elevate the Everyday, and Meg's furniture represents this so well. They are beautiful, functional pieces that you can incorporate into your daily life. After years of following her work I wanted to know more. Meg graciously agreed to an interview which you can read below! 

You clearly take great pleasure it giving new life to a piece of furniture. What is your favorite part of the process? 

I don’t know if it is a gift or a curse, but I can literally picture exactly what they will look like when we get them. Because of this, I still think the finding of the piece is the best part. Obviously the final reveal, where the beauty is displayed is pretty awesome too!

What draws you to a piece of furniture and how do you decide if it's a good candidate for painting, refinishing, or new upholstery? 

Gosh, there are so many different aspects of a piece that draw me in. Sometimes it is the shape of the piece, the grain of the wood, the hardware and hopefully, all three at the same time. The brand is also a big draw because now that I have done over 4,000 pieces I know quality and there are definitely certain brands that deserve respect when it comes to craftsmanship, so even if it is not ideal hardware or grain, if it has the right lines, we can change the hardware and paint goes a long way. When I am looking for vintage pieces to re-upholster, I look for the lines of the piece. I am not currently into furniture that does not have a break int he upholstery. I love when the arms are wood or there is wood trim around the top. I love it because then you break it up with a pop of a different fabric or a piping that is a different color. Makes it more interesting.

The before and after transformation!

The before and after transformation!

What are your favorite finishes and colors being produced in your shop? Do your favorites align with what customers ask for?

Although I am a sucker for a good restore, our most popular color is Benjamin Moore Polo Blue. It is the perfect shade of blue that goes with anything, whether you are going preppy and nautical or dramatic with black and white - polo blue is the perfect color for you!

With so much great inventory I would want to keep everything for myself! How do you decide which pieces to bring into your home and how do you use them in your daily life?

Right! It used to be a problem and our house was a bit of a revolving door. It still sometimes is if I meet the perfect piece, but I take so much joy in finding the perfect spot for my most favorite pieces in client and customer homes now as I know they will appreciate it just as much as I do!

If I offer the phrase “Elevate the Everyday” what does this mean to you? How do you elevate your everyday?

Find the best in everyday. There is something to be thankful for in each and everyday and if you are able to hold onto that then you will stay positive and encouraged.

Thank you to Meg for taking the the time to chat furniture and more! To get more of MegMade, follow along on Instragram to catch the latest furniture coming out of her shop and to get some major interior inspiration. 

Interior Design Blogs with the Best Product Roundups

Let these interior design blogs narrow down the choices and do some of the shopping for you!

The vast number of interior design ideas and products available on the internet is an amazing opportunity for consumers to find the perfect piece for their space. At the same time, it can be incredibly overwhelming, not to mention time consuming, to sort through all of the options. This is one of the reasons I love finding interior design blogs with product roundups and design guides. This cuts down on the leg work, narrows down the choices, and provides a starting point. This can be really helpful, especially if you are not working with an interior designer who would typically take on this role. It's also an excellent way to find new resources and online shops that fit your aesthetic. Today I'm sharing some of my favorite interior design blogs for product round-ups. 

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Style by Emily Henderson
If you don't follow Style by Emily Henderson you need to start. Whether you are looking for kid friendly sectionals, dining tables for every style, or the perfect office chair, this blog is a great place to begin. Roundups aside, Emily Henderson produces beautiful content, sharing her design process and vision in an authentic way. 

Design Sponge
Design Sponge is the first design blog I discovered and it continues to be a favorite. Not only does Design Sponge offer great roundups such as 10 Shops for Affordable Artwork and 10 Online Wallpaper Shops We Love, there are amazing home tours, interviews, and design related essays that you won't find anywhere else. 

Lark & Linen
Jacquelyn Clark, the interior designer behind Lark & Linen, has established a gorgeous blog over the years. Clark shares helpful roundups for items such as ready-made throw pillows, beautiful brass pulls, and the best gray paint colors. You'll also find posts on entertaining, fashion, and more.

Studio McGee
The husband and wife duo behind Studio McGee design beautiful interior spaces and produce an equally beautiful blog. You'll find a collection of decor highlights such as their favorite flushmount lighting, dining chairs, and cabinet paint colors.  Studio McGee also has an online shop that I recommend checking out. 

What are you favorite interior design blogs? 

How to Create a Floor Plan and Furniture Layout That Works for You!

Have you ever made a furniture purchase only to realize it doesn't fit in the room or the scale is completely off? Not only is this a waste of time, it can be a waste of money. There could be a significant return shipping or restocking cost, or you may not even be able to return the piece! Whether you're designing a living room, bedroom, or office it's important to plan out the space before making purchases. To do this I recommend creating a scaled floor plan to guide your decision making process. A scaled floor plan allows you to focus your efforts on finding the right size, shape, and type of furniture. This doesn't need to be a fancy furniture plan completed on the computer. It can be as simple as using graph paper (one square equals one foot) to draw out the space and potential furniture options. You can even use painters tape or cardboard cutouts to mark the furniture dimensions and layout on your floor. 

Below are my top 6 designer tips for creating a floor plan and furniture layout that is both aesthetically pleasing and functions well for your daily life. 

How to Create a Floor Plan and Furniture Layout Designer Tips

1. Measure the Room
Start with the general perimeter measurements, ceiling height, doors, and windows. If doors or windows open into the space mark the direction of their swing. Lastly, note the width and height of any doorway opening the furniture will need to pass through in order to get to its final space. 

2. Measure Furniture You Plan to Keep
You probably have a general sense of how your existing pieces fit into your current setup, but you need to know how they will mix with new items. When measuring existing furniture, don't forget about arm and seat height. For example, you don't want to find out your existing sofa seat height is much too low for resting your feet up on the new ottoman. 

3. Identify the Types and Quantity of Furniture
Questions you should ask yourself include how many people will use the room, how much storage do I need, do I need an area rug to soften a hard surface floor? If you need help thinking through this step, read my post on the Five Function Questions to Ask Before Starting a Design or Remodeling Project.

4. Consider Traffic Patterns and Clearance
How are people going to enter into, move through, and settle into the space? Utilize furniture placement to invite people in at certain points or direct them around an area. Allow for enough clearance around the furniture. I prefer at least three feet of clearance going around major areas of circulation. Remember to be mindful of fixed items such as kitchen countertops, built-ins, or pillars. 

5. Create Activity Zones
Identify what activities you want to take place in the space and think how the furniture types and placement can facilitate these activities. Will this be a space for entertaining, intimate conversations, or a cozy nook to curl up with a new book and a cup of coffee? Each scenario requires different furniture pieces and layouts. 

6. Play with Scale and Shape to Create Balance
As you start to layout the various pieces take note of the visual weight. If the furniture feels cramped there may be a disproportionate number of large-scaled items. Alternately, if the pieces appear to be floating in the space they may be too small and need to be anchored by a more substantially sized item. You can also play with mixing linear and organic shapes to add interest and variety.

Once complete, a scaled floor plan can act as a road map providing clear direction as you complete the room. Keep this furniture floor plan on hand while shopping so it's easy to reference the size, quantity, and shapes you need. You'll stay focused on the task at hand and save yourself from the frustration of purchases that simply don't work in the space.

What are the biggest challenges you face with floor plans and furniture layouts? 

Love the One You're With - Embracing the Less than Perfect

Interior design and decoration is a process - learn to love what you have while looking toward a future vision

Let's be honest, you probably don't love every last item in your home. Styles change, you change, or you're slowing replacing inexpensive placeholders with more permanent investment pieces. This could be an item you purchased a while back or a piece you inherited that serves its purpose for now but it's not a long term love. While you're going through this process it's easy to lament the fact that you might not be able to replace everything in your house at once. But I actually think there is something to be said for slowing bringing in the new or new to you. This is where you learn to love the one you're with.

Design Tips to Embrace the Less than Perfect

What do I mean by love the one you're with? I'm suggesting that you actively embrace and elevate current items by basing new purchases on your décor vision for the future. You'll freshen up the existing and actually make what you already own look better. New items can loosely complement what you already have but keep moving you in the direction you ultimately want to go. Let go of the idea that everything needs to "match" as you make your transition. Bringing in items that are more in line with your overall aesthetic vision will uplift the lingering items you want to replace. Trust me.

Here is a specific example. You have your eye on a modern rug with a crisp, geometric pattern for your living room but your current sofa and coffee table have a traditional aesthetic.  How do you blend the two? Consider how you could bring a few other modern touches to the room without much investment. Swap out old throw pillows with a design that complements the rug or select a decorative tray with clean lines to style on top of the coffee table. These simple touches become a bridge that links the old and the new. Rather than perpetuating the style you have outgrown you're enhancing what you already have and intentionally moving towards your future style. The other benefit of this approach is that mixing styles creates a layered, collected experience in your home which makes it easier to bring new things in and edit old things out.

So what's my "love the one you're with"? It's the two neutral chairs I purchased from Room & Board when we moved into our first home. One of my issues is the way they have worn - the down filling in the back in not substantial enough and I'm constantly fluffing to revive them. The other is that they have become too clean-lined for me. Back when I started the process of decorating our home I gravitated to more modern lines and that is very much reflected in my initial purchases. Today I find that while I prefer clean lines I also find something very welcoming about traditional design elements. There is nothing horribly wrong with these chairs and my husband isn't exactly excited about replacing them since they are only a few years old. So while I wait out their retirement here's what I've done. First, I went to the upholsterer to have the interior cushions wrapped and beefed up. I've also layered on a colorful throw pillow to draw the eye away from the back cushions that I so dislike. Lastly, I purchased a side table with organic lines and a warm wood top to soften the chair's straight lines. These small changes cost significantly less than replacing the chairs and I can now appreciate how the chairs work in the rest of the room.

In order to work towards a cohesive whole, give some thought to what the future space looks like as it evolves (I say evolves because in my mind a room is really never "done"). Hopefully this gives you some ideas as to how to embrace those items that are less than ideal. I think the idea of loving the one you're with is something we all can, and should, embrace.

 I'd love to know what in your home you're learning to love and what you're doing to embrace the perfectly imperfect.