by | May 9, 2021 | Decor, DIY, Organizing | 0 comments

Design and plan for a beautiful, bright, and modern home office makeover during the one room challenge of spring 2021.

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I’m so excited to start my first ever One Room Challenge!

If you aren’t familiar with what One Room Challenge (ORC) is, it’s a biannual interior design event hosted by Linda at Calling it Home. There are 20 featured designers and others with a blog or an Instagram account can participate as a guest. Everyone gets 8 weeks to makeover a room of their choice and share their progress weekly. Earlier it was a 6-week event, but this year it has been extended by 2 weeks.

You can see all the featured designers here and all the guest participants with a blog here.

I’ve always wanted to start a blog and/or an Instagram account and participate in the One Room Challenge. This year, I finally got my chance 🙂

I had been debating on which room I should transform as part of the challenge. It was a tough choice between the guest bedroom and the home office. Since we were planning to have my parents and in-laws visit us over from India during the summer and fall, I wanted to update the guest room. Now that I am working from home full time due to the pandemic, the home office was a great choice too.

Finally, the home office won owing to the pandemic and ambiguity with flights from India. In any case, if they do get to travel, I have a few things in mind to quickly spruce up the guest spaces 🙂

Let me start sharing a little bit about my home office followed by my design and plans for it.


As soon as you enter our home, there is a den on the left and an open formal dining area on the right, The den is being used as a pooja room (prayer room) and we intend to keep it as such.

The formal dining area, however, has never been used for anything but as a dumping ground for shoes, packages, and other items with no home. Therefore, I decided to turn it into a beautiful, bright, and modern home office for yours truly 🙂

Before image of open dining area that will be converted to Home Office

A couple of months ago, we had a contractor come in and install drywall and double doors to close the space so that it could be used as home office.

I was never able to complete the space due to my demanding day job, virtual schooling the kids from home and life in general.

Home office with doors

The One Room Challenge provided an amazing opportunity to not only fast-track the work, but also challenge my new-found DIY skills 🙂


As much I want the home office to function as a work space, I also want enough storage for all the stationery that I randomly buy 🙂 office and computer accessories, printer and all of my photography equipment.

While I had a rough idea of what I wanted, I went looking for finished home offices that could solidify my thoughts and ideas.

While browsing the ORC website for ideas I came across Christene’s (from Christene Holder Home) home office design and was immediately drawn to it as it was so similar to what I had in mind.

I loved the two-tone cabinets and immediately decided that I want that in my office too. She has used IKEA kitchen cabinets so beautifully to create the look and functionality that she needs.

Inspiration image of Home Office with white and blue cabinets and floral wall paper and has a built-in desk
Image Credit: Christene Holder Home

Up until then, I was planning to build all the cabinets and drawers myself. I know that it’s a huge undertaking, but I wanted to challenge myself.

I quickly gave up on the plan as plywood is not only extremely expensive these days, but pretty much out of stock everywhere near me.

So, IKEA hack it is 🙂


The office space is 14 ft wide and 10 ft deep. Given that the doors open inwards it essentially leaves about 7 ft of space to play with.

Room layout with dimensions

My initial plan was to create a wall of built-ins on the back wall and place a desk in the center. Given that the depth is not much, I decided to do built-ins with a desk space in the center along the back wall of the office.

That’s where I hit an another snag. There are two windows on the right wall that let in some amazing natural light throughout the day. The only problem is that the distance between the back wall where I wanted to create the built-ins and the edge of the window is only 18.5 inches.

3d image of a room with doors and windows

That gives me very little depth to work with and Christene’s home office design solved the problem for me 🙂 She has cabinets of varying depths and that’s what I decided to do too!


The next part is the most exciting as I got to play around in the IKEA Room planner. If you don’t know what that is, look for planning tools on the IKEA website.

They provide a design tool where you can enter the dimensions for your space including ceiling height, add doors, and windows. You can then add your choice of cabinets and other elements into the space to design the room of your dreams.

Here is what I want in my home office


As I mentioned earlier I need ample storage to house everything work, blog, Instagram, and photography related.

That includes office supplies, books, chords, tripods, backdrops, styling accessories, camera lenses, printer, Cricut machine, and other items.


While I would have loved a built-in desk as well as a free-standing desk in the center of the room, I’m happy to settle for a built-in desk in order to best utilize the space I am working with.


There is something so charming about open bookshelves in a home office and I wasn’t going to leave that out of my design. Neatly-styled shelves can add so much to the beauty of a space.


While I haven’t fully decided on everything in terms of decor, I do know that a beautiful carpet, a comfortable chair, window treatments, an awesome light fixture are definitely in!

As the space comes together, I will start delving more into the decor aspects.

With all the above aspects in mind and some handiwork in the Ikea Room planner, here is my initial design that comprises mostly of IKEA cabinets.

3d design of a home office with white and green cabinets


I then took what I designed in the IKEA planner (a screen shot of it) and added it to Canva.

I went on to add elements such as open shelves, lighting, carpet, a comfortable chair and other decor items to finish the design. This is the final result.

3d design of a home office with white and green cabinets and carpet, chandelier, scones, office chair, laptop and open shelving

If I am being completely honest, I’m already in love with it! I can’t wait for it all to come together 🙂

Here are some of the design elements that I’m considering for this space.

If you would like to see some other spaces that I have designed, check out my Linen Closet Organization and my Entryway Tour posts.

decor items

That’s it for this week. Please do join me on the exciting journey as I transform a bland, blank and boring space into a beautiful, bright, and modern home office.

Do let me know what you think of the design. Follow me on Instagram for more detailed and day-to-day updates on the progress.

Other related posts to the One Room Challenge – Spring 2021



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Thank you for being here! I’m Divya. I love everything organizing, DIY, and Decor.

Divya is the coffee-loving, multi-passionate, perpetual learner, and writer behind the scenes of Smile and a Coffee. She is a mom of 2 and a project manager at her day job. As a lover of all things organization, decor, and DIY, she documents her journey of organizing and decorating her home on Smile and a Coffee while inspiring her readers with great tips and tricks to create a beautiful home and wonderful life.

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