Ask Xorin: 1+1 = 3

02/11/2011 12:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Xorin Balbes Founder & CEO, TempleHome Architecture & Design; Founder, Lumeria Maui - An edVenture Retreat

"Ask Xorin" is a weekly home and self improvement column created by award-winning architectural conservator, designer and philanthropist Xorin Balbes and best selling author Sandra Bark. For more info visit the official TempleHome website.

Dear Xorin,

My husband and I met in business school, and for the first few years of our marriage, all we had to balance was our busy careers and our busy social life. With a baby coming, that's all about to change. I work at home a few days a week, and the room that has been my office is now going to become the nursery -- which means that my desk is going to have to move into our bedroom.

I have two questions --

In order to turn a functional office room into a sweet, cozy bedroom for our new little boy, we thought we might paint a couple of the walls. What implications does that have? Can we go with a darker paint? Do you recommend painting opposite or adjacent walls? And now that the bedroom will be housing my desk as well as our bedroom furniture, that part of our home feels like it's going to be very crowded. The bedroom has ample walk-in closets, but the room isn't very large. What can we do to create space in a room that has to have too much furniture?

Best wishes,

Soon-to-be Mum

Dear Mum,

Painting is a simple and inexpensive room makeover strategy; since the room you are creating is a nursery, I would recommend a paint color that is happy and not dark. Sunny yellows, lemon yellow; baby or sky blues; pale or grass greens: your new baby should bask in the brightness and the lightness that is here on this earth.

Paint opposite walls instead of adjacent walls to give the room a nice feeling of balance.

When it comes to your bedroom, have you thought about getting some creative new furniture? Having a desk in the bedroom can be a great strategy if you take steps to hide your work when you are done for the day. You say that you have large closets: can these be fitted out for office supply or even hold a small desk and bookshelves? A very thought-out closet can store a lot of things, from your printer-fax machine to a full mini-office. Building shelving into a closet can provide as much storage as a new dresser or filing cabinet -- and save money and space in the process.

When I needed to create an office in a small bedroom during a renovation project, I used two dressers and a marble counter to create a desk. Whether you choose wood or stone or glass, this can be a great way to turn furniture you already own into a customized piece. Just make sure to leave enough space for legroom and, if you like, for a rolling filing cabinet with drawers you can tuck under the counter top.

Just because your office is in your bedroom does not mean that your bedroom is your office. There needs to still be a feeling of intimacy and romance in your bedroom. Moving your 9-5 concerns into your private space can shift the tone of your private space... remember to add some scented candles or soft pillows to remind you that this is a room for love and relaxation and play as much as work and efficiency.


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