Our Ikea Office Makeover

TADA! Yes, I typed “tada”. I wish I could stand next to these pictures with my hands spread wide and yell it. I’ve been impatiently waiting to share our IKEA office  makeover with you all, so here it is! Our office is my new favorite room in the house; I’d sleep here if the floors weren’t so hard. Obviously it’s much easier on the eyes now. The main reason it stole my heart? It is FUNCTIONAL!

(Warning: My use of capital letters and exclamation points in this post is borderline obnoxious. I typically talk with my hands when excited, and since I can’t do that through type I’ve resorted to overusing punctuation.)
With Stu often working from home and me spending quite a bit of time online, having an office in disarray was affecting both of us. Work and personal things were getting jumbled, documents misplaced, and a really nice printer was sadly stacked on the box it came in rather than a real piece of furniture. (I’m a bit embarrassed about that one.) Our office felt like a dorm room. Then came IKEA! (See-caps and exclamation point in one sentence. I know…I know.) We spent sixteen hours on the road, and our tax return barely hit the bank before it quickly vanished. BUT it was all worth it.
There is a SHE work space…
…And a HE work space.
Can I just tell you how much I love having a desk all to MYSELF?!?! I realize this makes me sound like and indulgent office diva. I’m fully aware and care not. It. is. glorious.

This “eye chart” is actually a wall light fixture. Stu picked it out, jokingly at first. It ended up being the one thing we both loved and decided on without hesitation.  Now that we have two desks, I’m using my antique drop-leaf table as catch-all spot. (Do you recognize the little dipped ceramic pot? Also from IKEA. I should really get some compensation for this post.) The metal crate was another flea market find. We filled it with empty milk jugs from our local creamery.

The prints are from Winterberry Cottage on Etsy. This shop’s prints are great and most are under $10. I had been wanting to frame pictures of our parents when they were in their 20’s for some time and finally got that done. Stu just added a frame on his desk with a favorite picture of his dad, who passed away several years ago…I just felt I needed to mention that.
I found the red chairs several years ago at a local flea market for $20 and recovered them with some of my favorite Amy Butler fabric. They’re not ideal office chairs, but they’ll do for now. (Plus, I’m too emotionally attached to them since they were one of my first DIY projects, so they’re staying.)
Do you see the delightful white lantern? I got it at a locally owned discount store for $3. Buy of the YEAR. It is terribly beat up at the top but still worth the price of a latte. Several items on the shelves were pulled from other rooms in the house.
I typically get emails about where items were purchased, so I went ahead and listed where you can grab our office finds.

Product Sources:
Black and white striped tote bag: Hobby Lobby
Bulletin boards & magnetic dry erase board: Target

All items below from IKEA 
Desks: Numerar counter tops and Vika Alex drawer units
Shelving: Ekby Jarpen
Desk lamp: Arod
Eye Chart Light Fixture: Gyllen
Black frames: Ribba
Storage boxes: Kvarnvik

We’re still looking for a rug, but I’m having trouble finding one in budget. I might end up spray painting one from Wal Mart. If I do, you all will be the first to know about it.

OK…I’m dying to hear what you think!



  1. says

    Wow, like unbelievably wow! I love it!! I just passed an ikea on the way to work and I am going to do some serious shopping. These spaces look so great!! So motivating!!! Where did you guys put your printers? I know ikea has these lil tables on rollers….

    Great spaces!! Enjoy!!

    Lemanie’s Randomness Blog

  2. says

    Heather!!! This looks soooo great! I love that everything is a budget find or an ikea purchase. Great job!!!! (see, I used a lot of exclamation marks too)

  3. says

    Looks fantastic, Heather! I recently bought those Kvarnvik storage boxes too to hide our messy DVD collection that was in total shambles. They are so elegant looking.

    The entire rooms looks so gorgeous. We had to sacrifice our home office for our son’s nursery (ugh, gotta love downtown city living, right?!) but if I still had one, I’d want it to look like yours. LOVE!!!

  4. says

    It looks great! I love all the little accessories that make send it over the top. That wire basket and milk crate…perfect. As for a rug, you should totally keep your eye on Craigslist. I’ve found several on there (4 now) for really good prices. That’s the first place I look. Good luck and great job so far!

  5. says

    Woooo! I’ve been waiting for this reveal! It looks FANTASTIC! It’s so bright and airy and organized! I just love those desks. Well worth the 16hr drive!

  6. says

    Thanks Heather, Kat, Krista, Lakchi, Tan and Sarah!

    Sam, we didn’t attach them with anything. They’re so heavy that we thought it would be ok. The IKEA said we could attach them to the wall but didn’t need to. Other than the 2 hours to build the drawer units, they were “instant” desks.

  7. says

    Love the wood tops of the desks and that awesome fabric combined with the red chairs. Great job! Also, I’ve been eying an identical white lantern at HomeGoods. I think it was $19.99 so yours was definitely a STEAL for $3!

  8. Anonymous says

    Like Lemanie, I would also like to know where your printer went. There are always big and bulky essentials that are an eyesore or are hard to hide. Would also love to know if that is all the electronics you have in the office or if the rest are hidden somewhere. Great looking office!

    • says

      We ended up putting the printer on the left hand side of my husband’s desk. So my desk looks pretty much the same now. (We did put the paper shredder on the floor underneath my desk. Thankfully the white drawers hide a multitude of wires!!!

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi! I realize this post is from ages ago, but I just found it googling “Numerar as desk.” I LOVE your office! It’s absolutely gorgeous! We are in the process of putting together our Alex drawers (and “lockers”). We got the white Numerar countertop (still in the package as I type this), but I’m having second thoughts about the white top as I see how gorgeous the oak looks in your office! Luckily, we have an Ikea 15 minutes away so it can be exchanged if needed. :) The wood seems to look higher-end than the white–we just weren’t sure about the maintenance/ durability of the wood.

    On that note, how is the wood holding up for you? Do you treat it with mineral oil? I saw you mentioned a “support bar” in one of the comments — is that the same as putting a desk/table leg in the middle? We’re not sure if extra support is needed or not.

    Thank you SO very much for any input you can provide.


    • says

      Hi Summer,
      Thanks! We got one of the white bars that are used as supports in desk systems. You screw in a plate to the surface and the cylinder tube screws into that. Maybe it wasn’t necessary, but it made me feel better. I treated it one time with oil and haven’t since, but it still looks great!

  10. Anonymous says

    Hi Heather,

    Saw this earlier and off to Ikea we went! :) Thanks so much for your reply. We exchanged the white laminate for the oak, and just put everything in place — we love it! As you know, the wood is so beautiful. It’s awesome to hear that your desk is holding up well! As you can probably tell, I’m as excited as you were when you did the office reveal! :) My husband loves it, too.

    Thanks again,

  11. says

    I know this post is old but I just stumbled on it via Pinterest and it’s SO helpful! We’re turning a big walk-in closet into an office for my husband and we’ve even having a hard time finding a desk we both like (he’s very modern, I’m more cottage/classic) but we LOVE those Alex drawers. Can I ask why you chose a kitchen countertop rather than the office ones – was it just an aesthetic choice? I do like the Linnmom desk top they have on the website but I haven’t seen it in person yet so I don’t know what the differences are between that and other options in real life. Thank you so much!

  12. says

    Hi Betsy! Thanks for the comment. We specifically needed the length of the kitchen countertops. If I remember correctly, they were quite a bit longer than the desk tops. Also, I like the thickness of the “butcher block” feel. Almost two laters, we still love them!

  13. Kris says

    I see the length you used, but did you have to cut the depth of the desk top? There are two depth measurements for the desk top. (25 5/8 and 39 3/8) The drawer unit has a depth of 27 1/2 so it seems that the smaller depth desk wouldn’t work. If the wider desk top (39 3/8) is used, that is a foot difference with the drawer unit. I see no overhang in the picture and it seems to fit nicely. Am I going to need to cut the countertop? Thanks for your time! K

    • Heather says

      Hi Kris, the height on the Vika Alex drawer unit is 27, but the depth is just under 23 inches. Our Numerar counter tops are the 25 5/8inch and we let the back hang over the extra couple inches. Good luck, we love ours!

  14. Sarah says

    My husband came across your makeover monday feature on curbly so I clicked over to your page and I had to tell you that i am completely swoooooning over everything. We are about to major overhaul on one room that has both of our *non-matching* desks and this is exactly what we needed to inspire us!!

    • Heather says

      That is awesome, Sarah!! Good luck with the room. I hope everything turns out well. If you run into any issues, let me know if I can help:)

  15. Jane says

    Love your desks!! Looking to do the same in my kids room.
    What are the measurements for the table top? And did you use screws to fix the table top to the drawer unit or it’s just resting on top on them?

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