I am taking on the room where I spend more time than any other: my Workroom. Part library, part sewing room, part home office, and part art studio, my Workroom has to do it all. This week let’s talk color, paint, wallpaper, and how to KonMari a room with so much going on.
It’s Week Two, and, frankly, there is a ton of change in the Workroom, and I’m so excited! Someone on Instagram said I was moving at “rocket speed!” And in some ways that is true. Much of what I have done this week is relatively quick work with lots of impact. But I have also front-loaded some of the biggest projects because copies of my Christmas organizer, The Nice List, are due to arrive right in the middle of the One Room Challenge so there will be press to do, sales and shipping to manage, and all kinds of other distractions. Want to buy a copy? Click here! With that in mind, I took on a ton of work in the last week!
So let’s get down to it… if you are just joining me, welcome! I’m taking on my Workroom for this season of the One Room Challenge. Last spring we did a Guest Room Refresh which was so fun I decided to do it all again!
My Workroom functions primarily as my writing space, but it is also a library, an art studio, a craft room, and a sewing room — all crammed into an 11’ x 14’ space in our Mid Century Modern home. For more about where I started (including some scary before photos), the space plan, and inspiration pieces, check out the ORC Week One post!
I didn’t lay these out explicitly last week, so here are the goals I’m working on.
Treat the room as a studio apartment. Go through the entire KonMari process, and eliminate the clutter.
Create distinct working zones for each function of the room.
Bring in unifying colors.
Bring in plants and elements of the natural world.
Improve the lighting for all tasks.
Complete a makeover with a low environmental impact.
I’m working on all of those goals at the moment, and most of this week’s update is about Goals 3 and 4. But, let’s talk about Goal 6: having a low environmental impact. Renovation can be incredibly wasteful. And so much of home improvement is about replacing, buying, getting the newest and the latest — whether you need it or not. Additionally, a lot of home decor is mass-produced under less-than-ethical circumstances. And did you know, for instance, that the textile industry — fabrics, fashion, upholstery — is one of the planet’s largest polluters?
We strive to be both environmentally and budget conscious in our home. We aren’t perfect by any stretch, but for this makeover project, I’m taking some concrete steps to make this project greener with a low environmental impact.
Here’s a partial list of what I am doing:
Keeping what works.
Repurposing older items.
Buying used and vintage where possible.
Installing energy-efficient lighting.
Donating, selling, and freecycling what I don’t need.
Avoiding plastics as much as possible.
Using renewable resources wherever possible like sustainably-harvested wood, for example.
As we continue to make progress, I’ll talk more about these efforts, but know that the green in my project goes beyond wall color.
Paint Colors and Wallpaper
So let’s talk about that wall color, shall we? The room was already painted in the same shade of mushroom that covers our entire house. It was also painted just two years ago, and the paint is in great shape. So there was no need to paint the entire room. This is one of the green decisions I made: to paint a perfectly-fine room would have been wasteful. But I needed to find a color palette that complimented the mushroom and that would bring light and life into this room.
Here’s what I came up with, and I hear you saying, “Angela, that’s a LOT of colors!” You aren’t wrong. But those colors are all pulled out of the other gorgeousness in this room — the wallpaper.
If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, please do!), you may know that I’m dabbling in watercolors. Since I spend my days immersed in words, branching out into other media like watercoloring, collage, and art journaling open up new and different forms of creativity and help me to be a better writer.
When I saw this wallpaper, I fell in love. With the beautiful watercolor cacti, the gorgeous shades of green, and the large-scale pattern, it brings together so many elements that I am seeking in this room including plants, nature, and color.
The wallpaper, by the way, is called Mojave and is made by Vilber, a Spanish wallpaper company. Traditional wallpaper isn’t a green choice, but Vilber and a growing number of wallpaper companies are changing that. Traditional wallpaper is printed on paper that isn’t necessarily responsibly harvested. It is covered in toxic chemicals — often with a plastic coating. Not only is this in your home, but it can be a truly toxic mess if your home, God forbid, every catches fire.
So I looked for eco-friendly wallpapers, and Vilber’s papers fit the bill. They are printed with latex inks and are PVC-free. They use paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council meaning their paper comes from recycled or sustainable forestry practices. And their products have earned Greenguard certification meaning they are certified as being low emissions. You know that icky smell that comes when you normally hang wallpaper? That’s off-gassing — chemicals in the paper, ink, and paste being released into the air. This wallpaper was not stinky!
“But, Angela, you already have an accent wall.”
I know. I know. But here’s the thing…
Can you Can Have Two Accent Walls?
Yes! Yes, you can!
In the case of this room, the two accent walls define two separate functions in the room. The green wall is the wall with the bookshelves. The wallpapered wall is in the alcove marked “Art Supplies | Sewing | Gift Wrapping.” Those functions have changed just a little bit, but the alcove is still a distinct zone, and the wallpaper in the alcove helps to define that space more clearly.
So, here’s the big drama moment! The alcove before and after!
More about that desk next week when it is finished! And that spotlight is going to be replaced soon. I can’t wait!
And here’s the library accent wall before and after… The bookcases aren’t styled yet, but I had to put the books back up so we could walk in here! I love the difference the green makes. It actually makes the white trim look whiter, crisper. And even the unstyled books pop against the green. I can’t wait to get everything tidied up!
We also finished out the Billy Bookcases so that they are a permanent fixture in the room and look truly installed. I have two project tutorials showing exactly what we did. These bookcases have been moved three times across the country. And they look better now than they did when we bought them from Ikea! We came up with cheap and simple solutions to make a set of Billy bookcases look custom and expensive.
The Paint Colors
The paint colors are all from Kelly-Moore Paints who have graciously sponsored all of the paint for this One Room Challenge project. The existing wall color is almost exactly the same as Tungsten (KM4572), so that was my starting point.
The Library accent wall is painted in the Prickly Pear Cactus (KM5106). The other colors will be used as accents in the room. And I just love the names of the colors — plants, beach glass, love. So many of my favorite things! Thanks to Kelly-Moore for being my paint sponsor on this project!
Over the next four weeks I’ll be working my tail off to finish this creative space! I can’t wait to settle in to my beautiful new office, but there are miles to go before that happens.
Here’s my schedule for the coming weeks:
Week 3 | Oct 17 | Furniture
Week 4 | Oct 24 | Lighting & Windows
Week 5 | Oct 31 | Storage & Organization
Week 6 | Nov 7 | Before & After
I’ll be sharing the how-to for all of our projects as well as my favorite shopping sources for all things vintage and new.
Ok. Gotta get back to work!
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