Lyn Wants A Cozy Home Office

Dear Ballard

Office Floor Plan

I am hoping you can help me with a decorating dilemma for my cozy home office.  Attached is a floor plan of the office.  I had mailed this before with photos but it was returned as the email was too large.  How can I get the photos to you?  Basically my problem  as follows:

I have a very pretty painted desk and chair and a nice built in, and that is about it!  Photos of the french style desk and chair are attached.  (Please pardon the messy conditon)  I’m not sure exactly what I need, but what I think I need is below.

    1.    rug, approximately 8 x 10′, maybe a sisal or natural?  not sure

2.    a second chair for when I have company, maybe a small accent table next to it.  this could go on wall #3, to the left of the door as you face the door.

    3.    window treatments (there are two walls with windows).  Wall # 4 has two windows together.  Wall # 2 is odd shaped, with an alcove, and has a small window at the end of the alcove.  Not sure what to do with this funky alcove, any suggestions appreciated!  It is kind of wasted space.

4.    accessories – 1. desk, trash can, etc, 2. something to complete the artwork on the wall above the built in, 3 accessories to go on top of built in.

5.    paint color for walls- built in is painted a low sheen off white, and the trim is to be painted the same color..  Entering the room, you come off a hallway painted Benjamin Moore  Sedona Clay 2174-30     and coming up the stairs painted a gold color, so that is a consideration.

The desk has a matching chair which I now use for a desk chair.  I am thinking of possibly replacing it with a more functional desk chair, not too sure.  If so, where to put the painted desk chair?

 I just put up the 3 panels of artwork on the wall above the built in, do you like it?  Photos attached.  Wall # 3 has a closet that I use for storage.

The room dimension are approximately   11′ x 11′ with 8′ ceilings,  but is odd shaped.  See attached floor plan.

Thank you very much for your assistance!  I am a long time Ballard’s customer as is my daughter.

Lyn B.


Dear Lyn:

We love the special desk and chair and all of the built-ins in your home office – but we agree that you need additional pieces to create an organized, stylish look.  We do have some suggestions that may help you to complete your office.  The first suggestion is wall paint – we selected Georgian Green – HC115 from Benjamin Moore’s Historic Colors.  Another option is Pittsfield Buff – HC24 if you want to stay in the beige family.  For the double window we love hanging our Ballard Essential Panels (ceiling to floor) in Butter Twill – you will have to order additional Butter Twill fabric to make a roman shade valance for the dormer window.  We agree that an 8 x 10 rug is a good size for the space.  We have two suggestions for a rug – Tahira Rug in tan or the Light Sisal with green border.

Now that the basics are covered, we chose the Gramercy Chair (cognac finish) upholstered in Augustine Amber fabric and our Olivia table to sit next to it.  The chair will be to the right of the door angled from the right corner.  In the alcove, we chose the Paige Side Table in walnut with the 18” high Jute Covered Demijohn in green glass filled with some branches as a “dormer focal point”.  Above the built-ins, we have two suggestions – either our Birch Grove Print or you can hang 2 sets of our Garden District Mirrors in weathered white.  Facing the built-ins on the right wall we think a Madison Bulletin Board in cream will help to keep you organized.  On the surface of the built-ins add a desk organizer and set of 2 chocolaterie boxes (for storage) on one side and an aged Terracotta Jar with a couple of Calais Candle Holders on the other side for balance.   Try keeping the desk free of clutter.  We added a Suzanne Kasler Seaglass lamp and one of her metal easels for some interest, and for a waste basket – we chose one of our 14” Anduze planters in gold.

Suggestions for your Office

We hope these ideas help you to complete your office with style! Don’t forget to order swatches for the fabric and the paint so you can view them in the room.  Please send pictures when you are finished so we can post them on Style Studio.  And let us know what you think – we love the feedback…

Happy Decorating,

The Style Studio Team



How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    September 7, 2011

    some shelving over the built-in would be helpful. You could use many of the shelving ideas that Ballard has or even some of the “cabinet” options. You could then put some of your equipment on the shelving as well as use it for decorating the office. You could also use the framed chalk boards or bulletin boards that Ballard also offers in the back…just some additional thoughts. I also struggle with a small space and Ballard Designs has been my go to source.

  2. Reply


    June 29, 2011

    Love these ideas!