My Functional and Fabulous Home Office

IMG_0166_1As most of you already know, we moved to Seattle on Monday. With this, it was a new start and a blank slate in many ways, but today I’m talking in terms of interior design. At our old place, I never had a defined office space, but I had a massive closet, so no complaints from this girl.

In our new apartment, I needed a defined space that fuzed functional and fabulous, on a budget and in a small area. I searched and collected pieces that made a impact (that didn’t drain the bank) and felt glamorous while retaining storage.

Here is how I created a chic and practical space, on a budget and in a small area – plus the 10 things every woman needs at her workspace and an IKEA hack.

First off, look for a desk that you adore. That completely sets the tone for the area and dictates the size you’re designating to your “office.” For me, I knew I wanted something airy like lucite or glass that didn’t take up much visual weight. Looking at prices, lucite obviously wasn’t in the desk cards for me, so glass it was. I found my perfect little desk at IKEA, but it didn’t quite have the wow effect I was pining for.

That’s where a can of gold spray paint (I swear by Rustoleum brand), 15 minutes (of Zach’s time), a $39.99 desk from IKEA and a $24.99 laptop table came together gloriously. The laptop table serves as a place to keep my calendar that I can easily look at through the glass or pull out if I want to work at the couch.

As for storage, I’ve had the tower (to the right) for a while now. My mom actually picked it up for $10 at Big Lots for me. While we were on a “lets spray paint the world gold spree,” we decided to throw this into the mix as well. Wow, did that ever make a difference.

I knew I wanted two shelves above my desk, but shelving is kind of expensive. I actually found these three (I didn’t use one) at a garage sale for $5! We just used that same spray paint to glam up the hardware, giving it a new and glam life.

I knew I wanted a black and gold focal point for the top of the shelves. I like keeping things is balance, using the design theory of, as above, so below. The Mahzer and Vee faux taxidermy deer head was perfect. It had a bit of global flair, so it fit in lovely with some trinkets that Zach and I had collected in our travels.

Next, I filled the shelves with pop culture water colors from my favorite Etsy artist, Kelsey, from Kelsey M Designs. Even though I joke that my whole life is black, white and gold, I love throwing hits of color, in this case teal and mint, into the space. That’s why this Italy water color (where I had studied abroad and where we will be going for our honeymoon) was absolutely perfect. I love the ombre effect because it tied in many variations of the hue seamlessly. I also put this ‘through the lens’ painting on the shelf below to continue the color scheme. When I saw it, Zach loved it just as much as me and it was very fitting, since we always carry around our Cannon. If you love her artwork like I do, stay tuned, because there may or may not be a giveaway in the near future.

I filled up the shelves with books that inspire me, little vintage somethings that I’ve collected along the way and showcase and stored my Lucy Sui wedding planning book, because not only is it beautiful, but I need it to be easily accessible for when I have an idea. This book has become my wedding handbook, per se and keeps all my type-A lists organized. Also, her coffee mugs, which you might recognize from my bridal shower, are so stunning. Gold stripes and polka dots is totally my thing so I typically keep one out on my desk, not only because coffee is my life blood, but because it’s beautiful.

For the rest, I have custom notebooks from Plum Street Prints like the ‘Nordys’ one you see, that’s for my new job. I have gold glam office supplies (all linked at the bottom of the post) and always by Graphic Image planner, practically glued to me. P.S. it is now 50% off!

Now, for the list of 10 things I think every woman should have in her workspace:

1.  A glam desk. Can’t build a fabulous space without the foundation.

2. A by-month calendar that is in clean sight and most likely covered with post it notes.

3. A planner that is chic, monogrammed and/or gold that can be grabbed for on-the-go. This is mine that I buy year after year because I love it so much.

4. A pretty coffee cup, like this Lucy Sui one. Because ladies, it’s the little things

5. Inspiring art. Because when you’re on hour only-God-knows-what, a picture that inspires you may be just the thing you need to keep on going.

6. Pictures of your loved ones. For the same reason as before. It gives me a why to what I am doing.

7. Glam office supplies. A tape dispenser, scissors and pencil holder are all necessities, but why does mundane have to equal boring? Get them in gold, leopard print or something quirky like my dog tape dispenser.

8. A decorative piece you absolutely love. For me, it’s that black and gold faux taxidermy deer head.

9. Fresh blooms. Flowers instantly make a space feel more homey and welcoming.

10. A pillow or throw to make the space cozy and comfortable. Bonus points for that faux fur throw because it hides the abundance of kitty scratches on the top of it.

Check out 7 Ways Gold Can Make Your Home Look More Luxe

by Brenna Mari at Mode



Shop my office >>>

For 7 examples of how gold can make your space more luxe looking, read this.

As always, thank you for reading.


  1. Laura Wrote:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love this desk and I’m ordering a gold polka dot mug immediately.

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Aw thanks, Laura! I still use that mug every day <3


  2. Clare Wrote:

    Love how you turned this Desk into something so cute!! Was wondering where you got your chair?!

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Hi, Clare! Thanks so much! I think I got the chair at TJ Maxx years ago.


  3. Cheryl Wrote:

    Hey Brenna,

    I’M AN EVENT PLANNER AND I love what you did to your space. I just moved to a small townhouse and am turning one of the bedrooms to an office. My colors are Are the same teal Blue you used with accents of gold and white. I’ve been searching for a desk forever and you just gave me the best idea. Picking up my Ikea desks this weekend and I’ll get to spray painting.

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Aw, I’m so happy that my space could inspire you! Good luck with the decorating.


  4. Elena Wrote:

    Did you use a primer or a seAler on the Ikea Desk? I want to do the same thing to my desk. Also, whIch rustoleum spray paint did you get? Just the inDoor one or another type? Thanks!

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Hi Elena,

      No we didn’t, but you should use Scotch Brite on the surface that is there (to scuff it) and then use Rustoleum Metallic Gold paint which will cover well by itself. We did use two coats of clear coat (because I’m a bit hard on it).


      • Lindsay Straub Wrote:

        Hi Brenna,

        Your space and style are stunning. I am planning to do the same to my desk this week. when you say two coats of clear…what did you use, and silly question, but this is after the gold is applied, correct?

        Thanks so much for your help!!

        • Brenna Wrote:

          Hi Lindsay,

          Aw thank you! We used Rustoleum and yes, after the gold. Good luck with your DIY!


      • Lindsay Straub Wrote:

        Hi Brenna,

        Your space and style are stunning! thanks so much for sharing all of this. can you please explain the clear coat you applied? I want to do the same this week.

        Thank you!!

  5. Deb Wrote:

    The desk is from ikea, but would like to know about The 2nd table underneath & where you got it. Was it from ikea as well?

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Yes it was! It is only $20!


  6. Sirena Wrote:

    I love that little geometric box on the shelf. Can you tell a bit more about your little trinkets and where to find them?

    • Brenna Wrote:

      Hi Sirena,

      I get a lot of mine from Target (like that Box) and T.J. Maxx as well as vintage shops!