Turning Our Dining Room Into a Shared Office Space

Do you ever hesitate to make a big change, and then when it's done, you think "why in the world did I not do that sooner?"

That could be the alternate title of this post. 

We loved our dining room, and we sat in it to eat a few times per year. Other than that, as I've mentioned before, it often became a holding ground for "stuff." 

Here's a basic idea of how it looked -- table, chandelier, beverage station. 

And just to paint the whole picture for you, here's how it looked when it was staged to sell when we purchased. 

Adding another sweet bambino to this family means needing a new nursery. We had a combo guestroom/office situation going on in a back bedroom which will now be where the new baby will sleep after transitioning out of the bassinet. So, if we are losing our home office, where does it go? Having one is essential in our home, so we decided to turn our dining room into an office.

Here is where I really pushed for two separate desks (I was done with sharing!), and I also really wanted to keep the chandelier in the room. It made sense with this set-up to situate the desks back to back in the center of the room!

So let's take it step by step. First of all, I sold the dining room table. The chairs are sentimental and definitely usable in a future home, so I am using one for my desk and the other three will go into storage. 

Secondly, we had a French door installed on the doorway leading to the kitchen. This (somewhat?) helps to keep Camille out of the room when Ian is trying to do some work from home. 

I bought the unfinished wood door from Home Depot, and our handyman matched the knob to our other household knobs and painted the door for us after installation. 

And a quick note on larger purchases from Home Depot -- don't underestimate the power of going through Ebates to purchase online and pick up in store! It may not be worth it if you just need to pick up a few screws and bolts or a new plant, but if you are planning on spending some dough at the Depot, just purchase your item online and choose the "pick up in store" option. They will do your shopping for you, let you know via message when it's ready for pickup, and have it all ready up at the front of the store for you. Then you earn a percent back on your purchase through Ebates. Crazy easy, right?! This door was $147.00 and I earned back almost $3 on the purchase. Not enough to send me to the mall for a new pair of shoes, but a savings nonetheless, and it was up at the front of the store ready for the easiest pickup ever! 

I like having a fairly uncluttered desk, but having these fun gold binder clips and a letter organizer holding bills to pay and a few correspondence cards is really helpful.

Both the binder clips and correspondence cards are designed right here in North Carolina, which is pretty cool. The company is called UPstudio and they carry dayplanners, stationery, calendars, pencils, and desk accessories. A cool thing about the planners, other than the fact that they are 40% off now, is that they let you download a weekly template for free to see if it jives with your style! So smart and a great way to try before you buy. 

One neat set of cards they have for any of you Raleigh dwellers or NC State grads is this set of cards designed after the streets of Raleigh. They can be found here

Everyday Cards - Raleigh Streets

So, for our desks, I wanted something that looked nice but definitely not something that would break the bank. We hope to move to a larger house at some point, and I wasn't sure that we would be able to use these exact desks again in a new home. So dropping $500+ each on them was absolutely out of the question.

I checked out a few of my favorite sites for well-priced home decor and ended up finding these distressed white desks with drawers at Wayfair (found here). The price was great, and I read through a ton of the reviews to make sure that most people were really happy with the product. 

I did read that many folks said the time to put it together was very lengthy ... some people taking up to four hours. I'm not even gonna lie, I hired our handyman to put them together for us! HA! Our time is limited, Camille probably would have swallowed a screw or something, and I honestly didn't want to have to deal with the added frustration of desk assembly. Our guy knocked out each desk in an hour and with zero cusswords. Score. 

The only stumbling block we hit is that the top of one of the desks arrived cracked in half, but I hopped on the phone with Wayfair and they had a new piece drop shipped to me in no time. 

The rug (a years-ago purchase from Tuesday Morning) is repurposed from our old office, and I already mentioned that the chair was already being used in our dining room. I did replace the standard wooden knobs on the desk with matte gold knobs that I bought 50% off at Hobby Lobby.

The gallery wall stayed the same, and I purchased two black Crate and Barrel bookshelves that flank the big open doorway to the living room. They were secondhand finds on a local Facebook group, and I got them for $80 for the pair. We moved the little beverage station that was in the dining room to an empty corner of the living room so that both Ian and I have our own set of shelves. Mine was a little too cluttered to fully photograph this time around -- but you get the idea. :)

So, there you have it. Southern Living and Martha Stewart Living won't be banging down my door begging me to photograph this room at any point soon, but that's okay with me. It's functional, it has made room in our house for a sweet new yellow and green nursery, and it has us sitting under that pretty chandelier every day -- the same chandelier we cut our wedding cake under almost five years ago!

If you want to see really old-school photos of the dining room, click here
And for anyone curious about the paint color, it's Wet Pavement by Valspar. 


  1. I totally agree with you on shopping online and picking up in store! We do the same thing, except we use the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping website to earn airline miles from purchases. Lowes and Home Depot are on there upwards of 2-3 times the points. So a $200 pick up in store purchase will earn us 400-600 points depending on what they are offering. And like you said, they do the shopping for you!!

    We use SW shopping for everything and have earned an obscene amount of points to fly on just by taking the extra time to shop through their website. It has made travel more affordable for us when you aren't paying for two airline tickets!

    I'm so interested to try ebates but I'm kinda hooked on SW!! :)

  2. I have what may be a silly question! But how did you handle the cords from the computers? Do you have an extension cord running to your wall or do you have an outlet in your floor? Thank you :)
    On a totally different note, our tipsy bunny bow is awesome! It is the only clip that actually stays in our daughters thin hair!

  3. One of us with a newborn and the other with a baby on the way, we can completely relate with the re-purposing, it is essential to make room for everything. And regarding hiring your handyman, until you have kids you just don't understand how precious your time is, why waste it putting a desk together! Everything looks great! Thanks for highlighting our shop in your post. The cards and clips look great on your new desk!

  4. Love how your switch from a dining room to an office turned out! I especially love that you have the chandelier that was at your wedding reception hanging in your now new office! So pretty and so special!! Great idea to push the desks together- it looks SO nice and keeps the overall feel of the room uncluttered!! Now time to decorate your nursery!! YAY! :)

  5. I love how you repurposed the space! It turned out great! The door is really going to be so useful, and I love the one you picked! I also agree that store pickup is a lifesaver and a handyman is a great investment for the desk!

  6. I love the two desk situation back to back, sharing a desk is a nightmare especially when trying to be organised.
    Four hours to set up who even has the time? It amazes me how we are in the 21st century and it still takes 4 hours to put up a desk lol!
    Love what you have done with the space.

  7. I think it looks fantastic! And I adore those Raleigh notecards!

  8. I love it all! Such a fantastic set up... I love the desks pushed back to back. And that's so sweet that you get to sit under the chandelier from your wedding!

  9. Living in a smaller home, I am totally with you on function being at the top of the priority list! Although your dining room was super cute, having a room that you will get a lot of use out of now is more important. I love the back to back desks - and love the ones that you chose. Also, as a side note, I had NO idea you could use Ebates for Home Depot. Very good to know!

  10. Those wicker baskets at the end of the desk was a great idea. I really need more storage in our office and refuse to get plastic storage bins!

  11. Please please please share your handyman info!! My husband and I are not handy at all!

  12. Love how you are making your home work for you! Bryce started a new job this summer and now works from home when he's not traveling. Our guest room has basically been a junk/storage room the last 2 years. It's been on my to-do list FOREVER to clean it out and make it a more functioning guest room, but now we will be transforming it into a joint office/guest space. Our dining room has been Bryce's office in the interim and it is so frustrating to move things whenever we sit down for dinner. Also, LOVE that your chandelier is the same one from your wedding. That is a fabulous idea!

  13. I think this looks really nice! Couldn't tell it was two desks... Looked like one! Love your gallery wall!

  14. It looks great! I love the desks you chose. Wayfair has such great service. Much more functional than a formal dining room. I'm glad you were able to make your space work.

  15. I love Ebates. Don't understand people who do not use it. My mom fusses at us when we don't use it when shopping online!

  16. We ordered our daughters crib from Wayfair and it came cracked. They sent a replacement one....that came cracked(a totally different piece of it). We ended up having to contact Graco to get a replacement piece for the crib. We ended up getting our money back for the crib and Graco replaced the piece so score for a free crib...but it was a hassle for over a month. They have such cute stuff on Wayfair but they soured me :(

  17. Thank you for this post! We are almost ready to start working on baby #1 and I am terrified.
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