Ten Tips to Make the Most of Your Office

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Tip #1
Have as much natural light as possible
(which actually made it difficult to take photos of
my new, compact home office)
Before Photo
Tip #2
Invest in a Pretty Bulletin Board
I bought two, the one on the left has my calendar 
from Paper Source, personal notes and
 the one on the right is more work related.

Tip #3
Have a source to play your favorite music 
(I'm listening to my IPod right now as I type).

 Tip #4
Pretty Folders Make Work More Pleasing
Even bill paying.
These were a gift from a client...
thank you, Simpler & Simpler.
They can be found at Paper Source and The Container Store.

 Tip #5
Indulge Yourself with a Scented Candle
Tip #6
And Display Photos of People You Love
That horizontal bulletin board is now used for client presentations--
It was customized HERE.  And I'm still a big fan of baskets.

Tip # 7
Have a Stylish Office Chair
 Like this chair from Overstock.  
So, it's not my preferred $2200 Eames choice...
But the reviews were good and the price was right AND 
it was easy to put together.  I love the wheels, too.
What you can't really see here is that I have recipes 
I want to try pinned up next to the gym class schedule.

Tip #8
Keep a Neutral Background
This works in my case, as I deal with a lot of colors 
and the space is so small...I wanted the bulletin boards to sort of fade into the background.
But I added these paintings on the far wall. I needed something that wouldn't cover the light switch...why do builders place outlets or thermostats RIGHT where you might want to place artwork?

Tip #9
Place a plant or flowers on your desk 
to make you smile.
 Normally, I have a plant here but I bought these flowers 
at the SF flower mart (another post) for YOU guys.

 Tip #10
Consider placing a mirror in your office.
That antiqued convex mirror really moves around with me.
Liana said a mirror in the office is good feng shui...
it multiplies wealth or something.
I read that a convex mirror provides a "watchful eye"
...more good karma.
But basically, it balances out the round frame on the other wall.

 Here comes the cable car and
 look at that blimp in the sky.  Digressing.

Tip #10
Have a designated In Box
This one is a tray from Cost Plus.
As mail comes in, I throw out the junk and envelopes
 and place papers in a 
personal folder or a work folder.
That Simply Serene book is good by the way.  
And I love glass paper weights.

Here is another before photo.
And after...

classiccasualhome is on INSTAGRAM!  
Now I see why Annie from Most Lovely Things is hooked…
I love her photography.
If you are an instagrammer…check out my new mantel
on classiccasualhome

Wishing you a wonderful, 
fresh start to the New Year!!
Participating in 
Wow Us Wednesdays


  1. I love what you did with, what appears to be, a very small space. Those built ins must be a lifesaver…..this post has motivated me to clean up this desk of mine!

  2. And, of course, the key is to keep the space free of clutter! That just might be the most difficult of all. You've done wonders with the space, but oh the light! Fantastic. I have pretty pink tulips on my desk right now, although I usually leave all the flowers downstairs in kitchen and living room...

  3. Great minds think alike! I spent yesterday afternoon re-organizing my office. Love your idea of having fresh flowers on the desk. Pretty things always inspire! I'll be following you on Instagram. I'm totally hooked too!
    Happy New Year!

  4. What a beautiful, comfortable space to work in! The light is wonderful and the view is all the artwork needed. I love that you kept it neutral so that the details really stand out, like the beautiful fabric swatches on the bulletin board. How comfy is that chair? I desperately need a new desk chair but might be afraid to buy one that I can't actually sit in to see how it feels. But I love yours! Were the cabinets and desk area already there?
    You certainly turned a small nothing space into a little gem! Just the perfect little space for you to create your beautiful designs! Great job!

  5. I love what you did with the space - very pretty. Great tips too! I am happy to hear that the mirror is good feng shui. I have one in my office - maybe it will give me some good luck! And instagram...I recently joined and it is quite addicting! Best wishes to you in 2014!

  6. What a great view you have! You've done a wonderful job here Mary Ann. My "office" is off the kitchen area and ends up a drop off spot .. so the keeping it clutter free is a challenge. My computer, calender, and gym schedule are front and center:)

    1. .. so keeping it .. (it's still early!)

  7. It's been so long since I've h a d time to be here. I'm going to stroll around and see how your new home turned out. I'm sure it's gorgeous!
    Happy, healthy New year!

  8. what a lovely office ! Would you mind if I asked for permission to use your pic of the flowers as reference to do an oil painting ? I just love them !

    1. thank you so much Mary Ann, I live in Durban South Africa , so we have a similar climate to San Francisco , I have been fortunate enough to visit your city many years ago and I fell in love with it too.see all your wonderful views and pics transports me . I love,love reading your blog ,hugs to you Karin

  9. What a great woman cave/workspace! The white is so clean and feminine giving you lots of flexibility! I love it -always wanted that chair. Enjoy your new space,new start, new year! Xo Nancy

  10. As I sit her on the sofa with my laptop, football droning in the background, I realize how I must start using an office for working...what an amazing space and wonderful tips. Happy Friday!!

  11. What a year of great projects! I love your style. Glad I found your blog this year and looking forward to what you have to share in 2014! Happy New Yearhome design

  12. Hello Mary Ann: Sorry to go off topic here, but I have a question for you. I'm a long-time reader of your blog, and about years ago (Jan 2012) you talked about your closet makeover in the southern California house. Can you tell me if you used a 'closet system' or if you had a carpenter do this for you? I'm wanting to redo my closet, but most of the 'systems' have too much stuff (backs and bottoms / floors). I'm happy to use the existing closet walls and floors and don't want to pay for the material and labor for these. Thank you, and again, sorry about the off-topic question.

    1. We used a carpenter. It's surprising how expensive closet systems are from like The Container Store. Since you have an idea of what you want...I would try to hire a carpenter. Good Luck.

    2. Thank you for the information (and advice).


  13. When I saw the first pic I said - ooh I like that chair. Your space looks great - maybe I'd be more productive if I worked in your office!

  14. Wonderful Mary Ann! Your off to a great start for the new year with your fabulous office!!! I was eyeing the same bulletin board from PB teen for my kitchen!!!! Looks great in your pretty office! I follow most of the tips you have here in my work office, especially the light, photos, flowers and bulletin board! I need to set up a small one here at home so I don't have to 'fight' my kids for the computer in the kitchen! Enjoy your great space!

  15. Beautiful. I love natural light too. I also love bulletin boards in my studio, great for inspiration. :-) I hang up all my favorite quotes and photos and other personal items that make me smile.

  16. Mary Ann you took a very plain space and made it look fantastic! So warm and pretty. Another beautiful makeover!

  17. Great tips! What a pretty space for working!

  18. First of all can't get over your SF view. Love it. Great office my first thought reading the post was I need a new chair for my office and there you showed us where to get it. Thank you! I have been trying out multiple chairs and I have a comfy good office chair but I hate the look. Off to overstock!

  19. Practically perfect in every way! Thanks so much for sharing!


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