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Fun and Functional: Putting a Home Office to Work

0 Comments 07 January 2012

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Thank you Lenore Cohen for sharing your DIY home office tips with us!

Attention all Jewish Hostesses! Lenore has many talents! Check out her website!

By Lenore Cohen

When we moved into our new apartment, my husband insisted that I keep my design skills out of his “home office”, his way of giving me “less work to do”. How considerate! Yet as the first year passed the room became steadily harder to look at, a constant source of mess, disorganization, and just plain yuck. Needless to say, that door stayed closed most of the time. More importantly, though, the room wasn’t being used to it’s full potential. An organized workspace is the physical equivalent of writing a business plan. It forces you to get organized yourself, be more productive, and do better work. So as a gift for our first wedding anniversary, I decided to give the room a complete overhaul. Following is a step by step “how-to”.

As you’ll see, with a little creative thinking, redesigning a room doesn’t need to break the bank.

1)My husband runs the website for a retail store. Products he needs to add to the site used to sit in piles all over the floor, messy, forgotten and collecting dust. I got these bookshelves from Ikea for just $25 each; I like the way they resemble retail store shelving. They were easy enough to put together, and I hired a handyman for just $20 to mount them safely to the wall.  Now it’s easier to see all the products on the to do list, and the room is neater and easier to clean.

2) The “Money Wall”. The most attention grabbing part of the room– I created a wallpaper using foreign currency and some self-adhesive foam core boards. First I ordered a pack of ten boards from Next I printed out foreign currency from about 12 different countries, which I found by doing a simple google image search. I sliced the bills apart using a paper cutter from staples (picture of “Slicing money”). After that it was a simple matter of peeling the protective sticker off of the foam boards and layering the bills on one by one. Because they were self adhesive I didn’t even need glue. I chose to use boards rather than directly using the wall because now I can take the project with us when we move! Once I had all the boards ready, I lined them up on the wall and hammered a tiny nail into each corner. The nails are invisible and so are the boards- the end effect is a custom wallpaper.

3)Next was the floor. My husband liked the unfinished wood (don’t ask me why!) but I felt the room needed some warmth. As a compromise I chose an area rug from instead of wall to wall carpeting. I like how the design of this one looks like It’s coming out of the wall.

4)Next was the workspace itself. The uncomfortable chair had to go, I got a proper one from Staples. Then I installed a magnetic pushpin board and trash can from the container store, both simple and sleek black. I also bought a leather desk organizer from; now all the to do lists and random ideas are filed and the desk is easier to clean. Last was a wall calendar sticker from Staples- it’s actually a whiteboard that sticks to the wall! The total cost of these accessories was less than $60.

5)The finishing touch: The printer was sitting on the box it came in. Not exactly pretty. Rather than buy a new piece of furniture, I opted to cover the box in a thick, beautiful wrapping paper from Paper Moon. The deep red color picks up on some of the tones in the foreign currency wallpaper behind it. Now the only eyesore left in the room was transformed into an inconspicuous background element.

And there you have it- some creative thinking, a little time put in, and the office is now both fun and fuctional. (Picture of “after”) Now when guests come by, I keep the door open and show it off– and more importantly, my husband is getting more work done in a more productive way. Now, about that other spare room….

To see more of Lenore’s work and other home improvement how-to’s, visit her website at
Follow her on twitter at

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