Emma’s Home Office Tour

Emma's ABM officeI changed up my working situation late last year, and so far, 2016 has been a time of adjusting to working alone and also working towards getting my space put together. My business exists mostly online, but it does require space to craft or cook at times, and so I’ve worked in lots of different places over the years.

When Elsie and I were first starting to grow our blog and writing our first book, we worked from our laptops at the front desk of a local vintage boutique we ran, and then sometimes from a loft we rented later in the year. By around 2013, we were shifting our focus to mostly the blog and all the opportunities that could go along with that. But we were still a very, very young company, and we pretty much worked out of Elsie’s house from her dining room table. Then in 2014 we moved everyone (yes, we had employees, so it wasn’t just us anymore!) to a studio house, and at first we all worked around one big table. As our team grew, we moved upstairs, and in 2015, I got my very own desk and my own corner of a room. The fancy life of a business owner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, 2016 finds me working from home while a few of our other employees, including my husband, Trey, work from an office downtown above our bar. To say things have changed over the years would be a pretty big understatement, right? To me, it almost feels like I’ve come full circle, back to working out of a home again (my home this time as Elsie has left me for Nashville!). So far, I really like working alone. It can get lonely, but there’s also something freeing about it to me. Probably because I am a little bit of an introvert, so being home alone helps me focus more than when I am around others. Of course, some day I may work out of an office with people again. Who knows? I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’ve learned enough so far that I can rarely predict the future with much accuracy. Things may change as our company grows again, or when Trey and I start a family (some day โ€“ย this is not an announcement, this is a room tour).

So, that’s the long-winded back story of my home office. Let’s take a look at what the space looked like when we first bought our home:

Emma's home office before and afterThis space was one of the things that made me feel like this house was the right one. It’s a three bedroom home, as was our last house. But it has this space that is almost a room except that it’s missing one wall and a door. So it’s more like a big, open nook. (See my empty home tour here.) I knew right away that this would become my office. And the good news was I already really loved the space! It has lots of windows to our backyard where I sometimes spot deer (we live kind of out of town, you could say). I love the wood ceilings, I love the wood laminate floors, and it’s the perfect size for all my office activities, if not a little roomy.

The only things I really changed, other than filling it with my things, was I painted the walls and trim white. I think they contrast well with the wood ceilings and dark floors, and I changed out the light fixture. I almost just painted the fixture the house came with white with accents, but then I ended up swapping it out, and I’m pretty glad I did. The fixture I have now gives off a lot more light, which helps a lot if you want to work past 4pm in the midwest winters.

Emma Chapman's home officeI think of my office space as two main areas. So I’ll give you a little tour of each.

Emma's home office tour (via abeautifulmess.com) PegboardEmma's home office tour (via abeautifulmess.com) On one wall is my sewing desk and machine as well as pegboard with various tools and things I use. I think of this area as my crafting area. I’m also lucky enough that I have a whole hallway closet (not pictured) where I can store craft andย photography gear. I tend to end up with lots of random craft/art supplies over time, which I mostly keep. Once a year or so I’ll sort and donate anything I haven’t used in a while.

Sometimes this area will get a little cluttered, but I (mostly) cleaned it up for you. I’m sure by the time I share a video home tour, it will be cluttered again. It’s the work supplies’ ebb and flow.

Emma's home office (via abeautifulmess.com) Emma's home office (via abeautifulmess.com)The other area in my office is my desk and file cabinet spot. This is where I do about 95% of my computer-based work (writing blog posts, answering emails, writing books or e-Course text, etc.). I spend a lot of time in that red chair you see. And those file cabinets are SO much fuller than they were a year ago. It’s amazing how many documents a very small business like us can accumulate over time.

The file cabinets you might remember from my old office, as well as my desk. But the red chair is new. I bought it on Amazon because my white office chair ended up getting too stained from all the black and dark denim jeans I wear. Apparently I wear black a lot.

Lights Emma's home office tour (via abeautifulmess.com) If I had to pick just two items that really made this space feel more like mine, it would have to be the light fixture and the rug. Once both of those items were in the room, it just felt SO different from the day I moved in.

The rest of our house is much more natural and neutral in its color and decor choices for the most part. But my office space is easily the most colorful room in the house! And I sort of like it that way. The bold colors feel exciting and vibrant, while the rest of the house feels a little more chill and laid back. This is the space I come to when it’s time to work, not chill. So I feel like the bold, warm colors kind of encourage that.

Emma's home office tour (via abeautifulmess.com)That’s pretty much it. The space is simple, but feels exciting to me. And even though I really didn’t change that much of the room, it’s still taken me nearly six months to feel like I’ve finally got my office put together. I’m sure I’ll be changing things here and there over the years, like I’d sort of like to build a new desk someday. But for now, this is my office and I’m really happy with it. Thanks for letting me share! xx. Emma

Sources: light fixture c/o Schoolhouse Electric (from the studio house living room โ€“ย I inherited this beauty!), sewing desk DIY, weaving/Rachel Denbow (from her flash sale), denim dress c/o Shabby Apple, file cabinets/Poppin, rug c/o Rugs USA, desk/Target, office chair/Amazon, curtains/IKEA, and I’ll share more about the matted photos soon!

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.ย 

  • I love how colorful and fun this office is! I think your workspace should be a place you enjoy spending time in, so all the better that it be fun and bright! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Emma, every time you redo something I admire your style even more. Just when I think I have you figured out you wow me again!

    Thanks for being you!

  • Your whole office space looks great but I just ADORE that wall of black & white photos with the ombre photo mats! What a fun idea!

  • I love the idea of having a vibrant office vs a calm coloured house. I never really thought of having things that way, but it makes perfect sense to me now that it’s been pointed out as an option. The place you go to when you need to feel energized and just get down to work? Where you go to to get inspiration? Yup that should definitely be what a home office should be like!

    Thanks for the thorough explanation of your space, Emma! Definitely very you, especially that balling rug ;).

  • You have such an incredible eye for putting together unique color combos! I’ve always LOVED orange and pink together, but it can look so tacky if not done well. I wanted to do this color combo for my baby’s nursery, but I chickened out because I couldn’t find any great examples of how to throw it all together. I wish I would have seen this post a few months ago. Those ombre frames are what dreams are made of! Gorgeous!

  • I had thought about getting a more shaggy rug for this space but worried about being able to roll my office chair, so I got this one instead. This is the perfect texture to still be able to easily roll my chair but also my dogs love laying on it all day while I work. The color/design actually kind of helps to mask dog hair as well, so that was an added bonus. ๐Ÿ™‚ Basically-I love this rug.


  • You know I totally agree, I think I would be too chicken to do this kind of color combo all over our house. Plus I’m not sure Trey would love it everywhere. Mainly I think it could feel overwhelming and possibly a bit tacky (I’m sure someone could pull it off well, but maybe not me). So having just one small area with the pink, orange, and red color scheme seemed the perfect amount to me. Plus it kind of already worked with my file cabinets and I love them so I figured I’d go for it and I could always make a change if it ended up being too much.


  • I haven’t shared about the ombre matted photos but I will! They are actually the second thing I’ve had in that space as I just wasn’t happy with the first thing I tried. They are pretty simple, but I do have some tips for how to make it easy on yourself to mat and hang them. I’ll share more soon!


  • Can you comment more about how you hung your pegboard? Do you have space behind it to hang the pegboard hardware? I have a pegboard for sewing and crafting that I’m going to hang up soon, so I’m excited to see how you set up yours!

  • This is so cute! Have you looked into a more ergonomic set-up so your computer screen is at eye-level? A small laptop stand + external keyboard/mouse might not look quite as pretty, but if you experience neck/shoulder pain/fatigue, it would likely help!

  • I love the pink ombre matted photos! Is that a DIY you shared at some point? They create such a focal point. I also love how bright and fun your office is. While the rest of my house is more subdued as well, I went for bright color and geometric accents in my office because I figured it was my space to have fun! I put a link to it before.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • I love how you do storage! It’s hard to make a room look clean when you have a lot of stuff without storing it out of sight in a drawer or closed bin; you do it so well though! Your wall storage especially, with the thread spools and art, just looks fantastic! Also, what kind of camera do you have on the dress form?

  • what a great room! I especially love the photo frame wall. also, I love your writing (and I quote: “โ€“ this is not an announcement, this is a room tour” ๐Ÿ˜€ :D)

  • Super cute. I love that it is simple! I also love that you didn’t have to demo the room to make a huge impact. Ha! It gives me some hope. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Emma, your space looks great! I have a question: when you have many white elements in a room how do get them to all match up? I’ve learned there are many different whites out there and they don’t always match. Do you paint everything a similar shade of white or look for pieces that match what you already have? I’m designing a new space and I’d love to know! You rock ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks


  • Gorgeous office! So many “office makeover” articles simply show a cute desk with a vase of flowers and a laptop – as opposed an office where people actually work. Those of us who work from home need a space that is super-stylish and practical, and yours is both! http://www.shopwithstyle.com

  • Argh! I just bought a white office chair yesterday and I live in dark jeans! I wonder if I should be preventative and cover the seat with something?

  • I am searching for a comfy, ergonomic chair that isn’t black. It’s insane how difficult it is to find office furniture that isn’t black or gray. I see you found this one on Amazon, any idea if it’s still available or who makes it?

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Ooh love it! I did a similar thing in my house – calming, neutral colours in every room except my office. Not once have I regretted that choice.

  • Standing up and clapping!;) So well done! You totally deserve to drop the microphone right now.

  • I’m surprised you don’t have a large space to cut out items for sewing (or do you tend not to sew biggger things? Do you just use the dining room table for that? Just curious if you had that in your process at all… if you don’t mind sharing.

  • Sorry, of course I also wanted to say I really love it, with the bright pops of colour. I think also re the rug and the chair rolling (which someone commented above), without one you might find yourself rolling away regularly (happens whenever I try to sew at my desk!)

  • can’t stop looking at the color frames display. They fill the room! I am so in love with your renovation. Looks like you have magic hands keep going!

  • What a wonderful bright and light-filled office you’ve created Emma. It looks like it would be a really energising and inspiring space to work in. I was interested in your comment about your chair too – I’ve been looking for a white office chair for my workroom, but given how much black I wear perhaps I should rethink the chair colour. Thanks for the tip ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love this office so amazing!!! Are you guys going to do another book with your projects??? I love seeing how creative your projects are!

  • oh-my-god!
    it looks exactly like your blog! hahaha the colors and clean design. It’s perfection!

    well done! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I love how bright this room is! The hard wood floors an slanted ceiling already creates a room with great details.

  • I just moved out like a month ago, and yet still on progress working out on my workspace & room… So I found this so inspiring, I love it! Thank you Emma… Naรฏve Live
    Also follow the blog on Bloglovin

  • Nice dress. I always enjoy seeing some new-to-me sewing patterns – can’t wait to wear something like this out.

  • Emma!!!! Your office is just AMAzing!!! Loved the space, the colours (and I fell in love with the lighting!) Enjoy the moments you spend in there, with inspiration and creativity! xx

  • Beautiful really! Now that I have found an inspiration to decorate a workspace at home, hopefully I’ll also find the right work to do from there… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you, it really is a rather artsy and inspiring design – incredible how much the room has changed…

  • This is just awesome! I love that you can look out your window and see dear too, which is right up my alley. This really inspires me to get back on point with my future endeavors, so thanks for the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Thanks for sharing Emma. I love your style, and what a great idea to have a bold, colorful office. All your posts from decir to business tips to personal reflection have been so inspiring to me over the years. You guys rock.

  • It’s amazing how much just painting trim completely transforms a room! I love it, I love it, I love it.
    I just moved into a new home and I have MY OWN OFFICE for the first time ever in my whole life. I love it so much. It makes me feel awesome and hard working.

  • Gorgeous!!! That rug really does bring things to life. I’m the biggest advocate for changing out light fixtures too. It’s one of the first things I did in our rental to make it feel more like home.

    Erin, Attention to Darling

  • Love the red chair! The brightness of your space is beautiful too, love the changes.

  • This is such a beautiful workspace, Emma! I love the bright whites and colour scheme with the wood floor and ceiling. It definitely looks like an inspiring and energizing place to work.

  • I love how colourful it is, and I really like the dress that’s hanging on the mannequin ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love that kind of subject. Because it gives you more desire to create… Really nice. A bit too colorful for me but it’s nice !

  • What color of white paint do you use?? Im drowning in beige and I’m ready to paint my while house, but I swear the right white is the hardest to choose!!

  • I have always thought red orange and pink look unnatural together, but you have found a way to make them look like they are meant to be here! Beautiful space! Very inspiring!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I a, obsessed with that rug. I know itโ€™s been years since this post but do you maybe have a link to it or the name or brand? I have been searching endlessly for days.

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