If you find yourself drowning in a sea of paperwork and losing all your important stuff (who me?), help is at hand for you this week! I'm sharing how you can improve and organise even the tiniest office. Today I'm going to be styling shelves so they look pretty but are still very functional!
As I said in my last post (showing the making of the shelves), I was fed up with all my extra bits and pieces accumulating on the staircase – you know how it is when you have a tiny workspace, things tend to get cluttered very easily! It's high time I got my files up off the floor and Brilli is usually sitting right next to my feet so there's hardly any room with the two of us in here!
I'm really happy with the shelves but now they are looking a bit bare – it's time get them all styled up and make them look pretty and functional. Yes, I do need to make them look pretty! I spend a lot of time in this tiny office and I like to have a calm environment around me. Don't get me wrong, my desk gets cluttered with paperwork just like everyone else's but I do try to get it under control by the time I'm finished for the day and that's exactly why putting up these shelves was so important for me.
For me, styling shelves always involves plants, especially since I'm getting better at keeping them alive! Although, to be honest, you couldn't fail to keep a plant alive in this tiny office because it's bathed in plenty of cool even light, streaming in through the tall roof window on the north side of the house. It's a photographer's dream studio – at least it would be if it could be expanded to about fifty times the size!
Styling shelves in a tiny office
1. Functional stuff first!
When I'm styling shelves, I always start with the largest items first because they take up the most room and then I can see how much space is left for the rest. I like to find a place for all the 'necessary' items like files and organisers because, at the end of the day, these shelves need to be functional.
I put my files up on the lowest shelf first because it's important to me that I can get them up off the floor (and out of the way of Brilli's paws!).
The 'next big thing' is my little storage cupboard from IKEA. I'm sure you recognise this, I think everybody has one of these and if you don't you should! They are really great for storing all those little nick-nacks like pens, pencils, highlighters, washi tapes and numerous other bits and pieces! It makes your office look really neat and tidy even if it's not because all those little bits and pieces, if they were hanging around your desk, would make it look messy and be distracting to the eye. I've also seen these cupboards painted and wallpapered and given a unique style. I might even do something with this myself but I'm not sure yet – it might involve a stencil though ha!
2.Styling shelves with plants
I like to see some symmetry or balance when I'm styling shelves with plants. The first large plant goes on the top shelf.
Identity unknown - don't ask me what this is, I was given a cutting and it has survived, is all I know! I think it's supposed to flower at some point but it hasn't done so yet and I'm none the wiser about what it could be.
Pothos - This one is still quite tiny, it's a cutting from a much larger plant. The mother plant is doing fantastically well in a sometimes dim and dreary and sometimes dazzlingly sunny office where dry air is constantly blowing around it from the overhead fan and heating system. It seems to be a survivor whatever life throws at it! I can tell you, that If a plant survives in my house 'indoors' it will survive anywhere. So if you are someone who can never keep plants alive like I always was, then this is for you!
Trailing heart – this is something really special and I love it! It's grown so much in the short time I've had it that I looked on Pinterest to find out how to propagate it. All you do is take one of the longest trails and pin it down in the earth (I used some office paper-clips since they were on hand). They are already starting to root and grow new shoots – amazing!
Anyway, the trailing heart goes nearest to the window against the slanting room. As it grows down and not up, it doesn't need much headroom so it's perfect for filling up those tiny spaces under the eaves.
Fern – My lovely fern is growing larger by the day and needs plenty of room to unfurl it's feathery green fronds. I'll leave it on top of the white cupboard, for now, to give it room to expand. Although this room gets loads of light, it's north-facing so there is no chance of direct sunlight scorching the delicate fronds.
I use baskets for all those odds and ends like spare 'in-ear' headphones or charging cables and such. Those things always look messy when they are left out on the desk. Before I started storing them in these baskets, I was forever losing track of where I'd left them. Now, I don't need to go hunting all over the house because I always know where they are!
I also use a basket for things like highlighters, pens, pencils and anything that I use day to day when I'm at my desk. As soon as I'm finished for the day, it all gets thrown into a basket and put back up on the shelf out of the way. So, the clutter is gone – well, at least, it's out of sight!
Although there's not much room left, there's still space for some pretty accessories. I have a seagrass plate which I use for photography and I'm going to prop that up at the back of the top shelf. It has a striking pattern which draws the eye so you look up towards the top of the room. This is a little trick of the eye that I learned from gardening and it makes my tiny office look larger than it really is.
Also on the top shelf is another photography prop of mine. The Shimmering golden words “Good Vibes” because who doesn't need good vibes?
I tucked my little lantern from 'The white company' into the nook at the end of the shelf next to the sloping ceiling. It has a scented soy tea light in it which I made myself. If you want to see how to make your own candles, take a look at my post 'How to make calming, scented soy candles'. Even when it isn't burning, you can still smell the zesty perfume from the citrus oil I used to makes these – yummy!
Even though you need lots of storage, it doesn't have to be boring. I use this glistening gold and green firefly box to store my lapel microphone and all the little bits and pieces that come with it. It's practical and decorative at the same time – win, win!
Styling shelves is easy
So there you have it, proof that styling shelves is easy and can be functional and pretty at the same time.
I hope I've inspired you to have a go at something like this in your own home. It's easy really, the shelving and brackets were just from our local builders' merchants and didn't cost very much at all. Even though they are very simple, I think they look fab!
What do you think? Would you have a go at something like this yourself? Do you have any tips for styling shelves in tiny spaces? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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Eilidh Horder says
Making an under-the-stair office space is on my 'to do' list so this post came at just the right time. Love the trailing heart in particular - although I might have to put mine somewhere other than under my stairs which is a bit dark. I am wondering between just plain white or a mirrored wall background to lighten up my space...
Thanks for your tips ?
Jayne Westerholt says
I think an under-the-stair office is a perfect way of using up that otherwise 'lost' space. We made a pantry out of ours so that was a no-go but this tiny landing at the bottom of the first-floor staircase is just as good. If it were me, I'd go with white - if I had mirrors, I would be constantly distracted by Brilli in the background 😉 Of course, if you don't have a four-legged friend who does silly things in the background when you are trying to work, mirrors would also be a great option!
Great ideas! Love your attention to detail. You're video is brilliant too. Goes to show that shelves and home offices don't need to be a cluttered, ugly mess 🙂
Jayne Westerholt says
Thanks Jelena, you're right! Shelves can be functional and pretty too!
Pamela @ DIY Vibes says
You made this space so cozy and functional. Great job! I need to get to IKEA and see what they have!
Jayne Westerholt says
Thanks Pamela, it's amazing how two small shelves can make such a difference in a tiny workspace!