Today, we’re doing a tour of my new home office setup … WHOOP! We just finished my very first non-spare bedroom studio, and I’m SO excited to show it to you.
I work from home as a conversion copywriter for creatives and brand strategist, I do a LOT of client work, a TON of writing, a lot of teaching to creative entrepreneurs, and a lot of recording.
Having a space away from the house and my sweet baby boy was important, but most important for me was having that physical separation between work and home life.
I created a little checklist that helped me remember everything I needed to have on hand as I got set up over here—grab it for free here!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been talking about this home office for MONTHS. When we first purchased this house in 2017, this is what the space looked like:
We were touring our home and Wes said, “Ash! This could even be your office one day!”
I remember thinking, “No. There’s no way. There’s no way my business is ever going to be successful enough or important enough for me to have my own office space that isn’t also a guest bedroom.”
But here’s what I learned:
I needed to treat this as a place that would give me the confidence to show up.
Someone recently asked me, “What would you do if you were the very best at your craft?” That got me thinking about a lot of things. And what I realized is that, as I was planning my office, I was planning on going Budget Betty, like not even really decorating it much, just again, out of fear, instead of using the money that I had in savings ready to decorate it. I realized that if I was the best, I WOULD decorate it as a space that made me feel confident and comfortable when I flipped the recording camera on, when I talked to my clients over Zoom, when I had my team in.
So there you have it.
There’s your takeaway lesson. 🙂
How would YOU outfit and organize your desk, little corner, or home office for your focus and productivity if you were the best at your craft?
Think about that as you build a workspace, no matter how tiny or big. It makes a difference.
My Home Office Inspiration
I’ve been pinning to my home office board setup ideas on Pinterest for years, more just to play than anything else. Now, I finally got to USE it!
Last year, I worked with Mae Mae & Co. for brand imagery. Visually, I’ve always pulled inspo from my 18 years of classical ballet, growing up in the deep south, my obsession with magazines and colleges and journalism growing up and through college, my love of antiques and art, and how I was one credit away from a French minor …
… all of that tied into images that have been in my branding for a year.
My goal with the home office setup was to bring those to life as I decorated. I wanted my office to be as me as possible.
My Home Office Build-out Process
Okay—you may not have to finish out a space like we did BEFORE setting up your home office, but just in case, here’s how that went down!
My mother-in-law helped us find contractors since she’s a realtor. It took about 2.5 months, and involved running a water line from the house to the office as well as prepping it for HVAC. I should know enough from Fixer Upper reruns, but it’s the stuff you DON’T see that is the most expensive.
The wall paint colors Dover White (Sherwin Williams) and the bathroom is American Artist (Ralph Lauren), and the built-ins are just white!
The flooring is corporate-grade, so it’s fake hardwood that is pretty industrial. One night I came up by myself and scrawled Bible verses and prayers on the ground before they installed it, and that was fun. 🙂
Once all that was done, it was time to decorate … WHOOP!
Most of the furniture I already had in my old office. I’m asked constantly where my desk is from—I got it a few months into starting my business from Ballard Outlet (here’s the full-price one … yikes, that’s pricy! Come to the outlet!). This one has dings and knicks in it because it was at the outlet, but I don’t care. I use the filing cabinets constantly.
While I type a lot as a copywriter, I write by hand constantly—I journal, keep paper planners and goal setting, —I’m a bit of a school supply snob, so being able to display and house pretty paper, pens, and stuff is important to me.
I have tech stuff nearby at all times too, so one drawer is devoted to that.
The other desk is from a flea market in Montgomery, Ala.—it was one of the first pieces I bought after college, so I’ve had it for about 10 years. It’s COVERED in calligraphy ink, but I kinda love that about it. Character!
The coffee table and bar cart were items we got from wedding money back when we got married that didn’t have a home … so I gladly took them!
The rug was one of my early purchases, too (it was a splurge for me at $435). I had to have it for sound since it’s really echo-y in the office. It’s from Wayfair … is the Wayfair jingle in your head yet now it’s in mine? 😉
Most of the books I had—I tried to just bring office books over from the house here, so these are more business books, writing books and references, and a few “Ashlyn-only” books (Wes wouldn’t care that a ballet book was missing from the house!). I got additional books 10 for $20 at Scott’s Antique Market.
As for other styling items included in home office setup? I get a good bit of things for the shelves from Target, Scott’s Antique market, and a few things from One Kings Lane. My grandfather was an antique appraiser, so I inherit a weird amount of “stuff” … we’re big antiquers/estate sale lovers on that side of the family.
The prints as well I had a lot of … I DIY gilded a few frames and made things LOOK custom-matted, when it’s just DIY. I told you, I’m a budget Betty.
I’m not so sure about the Beauty and the Beast-style ladder … I probably just need to save up for one that actually lets me reach the top shelf!
Home Office Setup on a Budget: The Breakdown
Okay, I wanted to show you what it all cost to decorate this home office setup—note I’m NOT including the brand photography, the florals, the outfits, or anything like that that I talked about in the video. I’ll do another blog on that!
This is a cost out of the new office stuff.
- French Bistro chair :: One King’s Lane , $240
- Carafe & cups on bar cart :: Amanda Lindroth, $70 (got during a Memorial Day sale)
- 4 shelves above desk :: Target, $59.96
- Rug :: Wayfair, $435
- Ladder :: Wayfair, $127
- Deer hide rug :: Scott’s Antique Market, $80
- 3 vintage imari dishes :: Scott’s Antique Market, $23 (look for dishes with little chips in them—I got a DEAL!)
- Basket for blankets :: Target, $50
- Trashcan in bathroom :: Target, $19.99
- Coral for bookshelves :: Scott’s Antique Market, $60
- 3 wicker baskets for bookshelf storage :: Target, $50.97
- Fiddle leaf fig tree :: Ace’s Hardware, $65
- Clock on desk :: Target, $9.99
- Pétanque set :: Scott’s Antique Market: $95
- 2 ballet coffee table books :: Amazon, $60
- 20 tiny terracotta planters for styling :: Amazon, $17.99
- Seagrass basket from Charleston (bought at my mastermind trip!) :: $70
- Zinc French bottle carrier :: Etsy, $29
- Lion bookends :: Scott’s Antique Market, $105
- Bamboo blinds :: Lowe’s, $417.13 (Argh. I feel like I could have gotten these cheaper, but I needed something … you can see STRAIGHT in at night.)
TOTAL: $2,085.03 (decor + supplies. I told myself I had $2k, and I did it!)
Stuff I already had:
- Desk :: Ballard Outlet (outlet is in Roswell, Ga.)
- Painting on bar cart :: Alabama artist Nan Cunningham
- Bar cart :: Target
- Clamshell on bar cart :: Ballard Outlet (don’t look close, it’s got a crack down the center so I got it for super cheap!)
- Gold & glass “London” coffee table :: Ballard Outlet
- French basket :: French Baskets
- Bulletin board :: Spray painted (super old from Target)
- Pineapple pen cup :: Emily Ley
- “A” mug pen cup :: Anthropologie
- Vintage ink wells :: My grandfather had growing up … perks of being in a family with antique dealers!
- Candles :: Diptyque (wait and buy during Nordstrom’s annual sale!)
- Magnifying glass :: Magnolia
- File basket on desk :: The Container Store
- Photo of Montgomery, Ala. fountain on the square :: Becca Beers Photography
- Fine art painting from one of my Copywriting for Creatives™ students Jess Blazejewski
- Office supplies & tech stuff (see below)
- Books from over the years
- Boxes on shelves are pretty shoeboxes or boxes I save #packrat
What to Have on Hand in Your Home Office as a Creative
Here is my first office—when I started, I was trying so hard to fit in, but I’ve really settled into me. I’ve been in 2 bedrooms since starting my business in 2016.
Here in office No. 3, here are the non-negotiables I’ve learned you probably need as a creative, beyond just what you have for your craft:
- Tech stuff: External hardrive, mic, memory cards, cameras, cords, monitor wipes, air cans, etc.
- Office supplies: pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips, scissors, washi tape, sticky tack, rubber bands, 3-hole punch etc. Like I said in the video, I get a little picky about pens, but I am a bit of a collector—HA!
- Paper supply: business stationery, business cards, sticky notes, printer paper
- Shipping supplies: I love Stamps.com! So worth it to avoid the freaking post office. I have a scale (it’s like $10 from them), envelopes, mailing tape, and stamps
- Business books nearby for reference
- Padfolio—I use for notes on calls, but also traveling. I like Holtz Leather out of Alabama.
- Planners: Y’all know me … Simplified Planner + Powersheets, by my side all the time
- Natural light spot for shooting flatlays
- Backdrops or styling boards for that, if you’re into that sort of thing
- A prop drawer—even if you don’t shoot, having a spot to store hand-dyed ribbon, cool stuff, cards and pretty printed things, styling blocks … that’s helpful for when working with photographers.
- Filing cabinets and folders (I still use these a ton)
Again, most all of that stuff I had already, so I was set.
I’ll do a post on what it cost to do the shoot with Abby Grace Photography when we get the images back, so I can show you that process!
This new home office setup allows me to be creative, productive, and really step into who I am. I am OBSESSED, y’all!