Front Room Makeover

I haven’t been able to make sense of the front room of our house since before we even moved in. It’s very small, really it’s probably intended to be an office. My husband uses the bonus room as his office, and we didn’t have any other need of an office. I thought about making it a playroom, but that turned out just to be code for a junked room filled with every toy the kids ever wanted to forget about. The room really wasn’t serving any functional purpose.

One idea I had when we moved in was to make it sort of a school room /art station for the boys. I wanted to run a desktop along the far wall and just have an area for each boy to sit at, and maybe keep their art supplies handy. The idea was for them to have a place where they could be creative when they wanted, without me worrying about what shape the dining room table was in.

It only took three years (haha) (cries), but we got it done.

First up I knew I wanted the room painted white. I bought (no joke) eight samples of white paint. And none of them seemed right. I didn’t want the white to feel sterile, but also I wasn’t looking for a cream color. We ended up going with Benjamin Moore’s White Heron. I was so pleased with the white. I’ve been nursing a growing discontent with the color of our interior walls — that’s a story for another time, but to sum up my theory has been the wall color gives the house a dingy feel overall. Seeing the white in the front room confirmed my theory. It looked clean and lovely, and happily neither sterile nor drab. I loved the shade we ended up with.

For the desktop, I cut two 2×12’s to size, finished them with polycrylic (I opted not to stain them), glued them together, and used pocket screws to join them (shout out to the Kreg Jig). We had some drama dealing with them, and it was apparent early on why lumber was not recommended for such a job, especially the wide boards I picked. They are considerably warped, and I despaired for awhile that we could get them to function in the way I hoped at all. The upside was they were cheap, so if it didn’t work out it wasn’t much of a loss. Thankfully, though they’re slightly bowed at one end, after joining them and clamping them for a couple of days, they straightened out a good bit. And the boys definitely don’t mind — they’ve been so tickled to have (another, haha) space of their own.

The shelf is a 2×8 board cut to 5 feet, supported by these brackets from World Market. My idea is to use it to justify buying children’s classics purely on how pretty the spine looks. There are worse things, right?

For lighting I was initially thinking swing-arm sconces. I even bought some but they didn’t feel right to me. I’m happy we ended up with these rope lights. I feel like they anchor the space nicely. I’m still tossing around the idea of adding pendant lamp shades.

The space still feels unfinished to me. I’d like to add some color but I haven’t settled on what or how. At first I was going to do a half wall behind the desk, but I couldn’t come up with an idea I was crazy about. I’ve thought about colorblocking, or something similar. For now I’m enjoying the cleanness of the white in contrast with the dingy greige it replaced.

What would you add or do differently? Let me know in the comments!

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