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Help NtB Choose a New Home Office Rug!

I’m writing this in my new home office – okay, home office nook – which is an awesome thing to be able to put down even if the doors aren’t painted and my art is currently learning up against the wall on the floor. At least everything else is painted, and my furniture is all in. Only thing missing? A rug for under my feet since it gets awfully chilly in this house in the wintertime. Right now, it’s a toss up between this:

Gray on gray with gray plus giant flowers

And this:

Possibly in orange, possibly in green

Both from West Elm, and both on sale for cheap when compared to some of the usual West Elm prices. Why am I telling you all this? Now I need your assistance, of course. Help me decide on an office rug: Which do YOU like better?

4 Ways to Make Your Office (or Cube) Your Own

Make it yours, even if it isn't!

Decorating a home office? No problem, it’s yours. Rip up the floor, put up wallpaper, switch out the furniture, bring in a pet bed, whatever. You can do whatever you want because you own or are renting the space. But what about those people who are stuck in an office or worse, a cubicle? Floors? You’re stuck with them. Wall color you don’t like? Too bad. Lighting terrible? There may be a workaround, but are there outlets available? Making an office feel truly like a home away from home isn’t always entirely possible, but that’s no reason not to spruce up your workstation a little bit. It could even make your job feel a little less like a job!

Here are four things to think about when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle:

Consider Your Corporate Culture
Do you work in finance or entertainment? Is your office dress code buttoned up or dressed down? It’s important to remember your corporate culture when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle. If you have art and accessories in mind, imagine how your boss would feel about a client seeing them. When an office or cube looks like a teenager’s room, the occupant has gone too far. Keep it grown up, unless your clients are kids. Decorating an office or a cube with grown up gear isn’t always the most fun option, but higher ups are often sticklers for seriousness. In fact, studies have shown that too much decorating can get you passed over for promotions!

Get Thee Some Cute Desk Accessories
Maybe in your particular workplace you can’t decorate your office much, but you can at least ditch the plain black stapler and tape dispenser and calendar desk blotter in favor of something more colorful and interesting. How about a DIY trashcan that lets you reuse all those pesky plastic bags. And speaking of cute desk accessories, you can create a color scheme just for your desk – making it your island in a see of corporate conformity. Best part? Your coworkers may be so jealous of your cool gear that they start upgrading, too.

Ditch the “Art;” Bring In Your Own Art
If you’re decorating a cubicle, you can hang smallish things on your “wall” but if you’re in an office, you may have been assigned that space, only to find out that a boss or owner had already hung something like art on the walls. Ack. But why not just take a deep breath and ask the boss(wo)man if it would be all right if you brought in your own office-appropriate wall art? Worst s/he can say is no, and sure, it’s a possibility. But there’s always a chance that the “art” in situ was already there when boss(wo)man showed up and s/he hates it, too.

Not Everything You Contribute to Your Office Ambiance Must Be Useful
So you brought in some awesome desk accessories, like so:

cat tape dispenserpop up pencil holderpencil sharpener
pink scissorsrobot desk lamprainbow file folders

Now what? What about something like a big wooden ampersand? Or a Buddha statue? Anything, within reason, of course, but if you can figure out some way to tie your office decor or cubicle decor together (color palette, theme, etc.) all the better.

Image: Style North

Dull Desks Need Help From Hedgies

Boring work spaces make working boring, and when working is boring it just plain sucks. Maybe a mushy squishy silicone rubber pencil holder would make your desk a little less dull? He won’t give you any attitude – poke him, drop him, or stab him with a pencil, because this hedgehog is harmless.

Hedgie here was designed by Ionut Predescu, but sadly only as a concept product. BUT you can have something similar in the Sebastiano Pencil Holder designed by comic-strip illustrator Massimo Giacon. Sure, it’s somewhat more sinister, but it’s just as cute.

What I Love About This

It’s not the great parson’s desk, though I do like it. Nope! It’s the bare oversized light bulb and the use of the stencil as wall decor. How cool is that?

Office Inspiration from Turquoise

The home office can be an afterthought for a lot of people – that is, if you have the space to devote an entire room to working. This is especially the case among those who don’t work at home and would honestly rather not feel compelled to give up precious square footage to work-related gear. But since I work from home, I tend to empathize with those who do, too, and would probably like somewhere sweet to sit as they endure the daily grind. I used to have a nice home office, until I gave it up during the renovations, and now I fear that I’ll never again work from anywhere but the kitchen table. I’d prefer to be working in here, though:

Seeing this oh-so-inviting space designed by Turquoise makes me long for my old office. Oh, we’ll have another home office someday, but it will be shared and that means it will be at least halfway to messy most of the time. But a girl can dream, right? I’d love to know what your home office sitch is. Do you have one? Is it grand? Would you love to have one, but the space just isn’t there? Or are you content to leave work at work where it belongs so that extra room can stay a den/guest room/nursery/gaming space?

Image: Turquoise

Ceiling Height: The Highs and Lows

Growing up, I saw mainly your standard 8-foot ceilings. Then I lived in a flat in Germany where the ceilings (and the beautiful windows) absolutely soared. But I was only in Berlin for a year, so the culture shock I felt upon returning to the States did not involve ceiling height oppression. Now in new construction, ceilings seem to have shot up to a respectable 10 feet or so, but here I sit, writing this in a classic revival Cape with its 8 footers. Which frankly, never even caught my eye until I started looking into ceiling heights, and now I keep looking up, wondering if I ought to feel oppressed by my low ceilings.

According to an Apartment Therapy survey, the majority of people prefer a ceiling height in the 8-10 foot range, with ceilings that are ‘at least 10 feet’ a close second and very few people preferring 8-foot ceilings or something even shorter. Me? I loved the high ceilings I had in Germany and then again in Brooklyn, but I wasn’t the one paying the heating bills. And really, I love the coziness of my Cape – a quality that is in part due to the low ceilings. Also, I pay for heat now, so low ceilings are def a plus. In other words, I’d say there are benefits and drawbacks to every ceiling height, standard and taller. (I can’t think of any benefits of anything lower than 8, though.)

Since I’ve experienced plenty of both, I thought I’d talk today about some pros and cons of high ceilings and low ceilings.

HIGH CEILINGS

The Pros: They look awesome, and some people find that they feel freer in a space with high ceilings. You’ll never have trouble decorating a space with high ceilings because you’re not limited by furniture height or the size of wall art. And you can toy with the idea of a painted ceiling, if you like.

The Cons: Supposedly, a room with a high ceiling can make inhabitants feel small and insignificant, though I never noticed this myself. In a room with high ceilings, the eye is drawn to the height of the room, making the horizontal dimensions of the room seem narrower. Spaces with high ceilings can be more difficult to heat and cool, depending on the design of the home.

LOW CEILINGS

The Pros: A lower ceiling can make a small room appear wider. Easier to heat and cool, if only by virtue of there being less airspace needing temp control. Some people find low ceilings cozier and homier than high ceilings.

The Cons: Decorative ceilings and thick crown molding and things like chair rails are right out, and tall people can feel decidedly cramped even if you don’t draw attention to the lowness of the ceilings. That feeling might be even more acute in a wide room. It’s tough to find the right ceiling fans and also to jump on the bed, boo.

I told you, now you tell me: How tall are the ceilings where you live? And what ceiling height would you actually prefer?

Monday Morning Inspiration

Whether you work from home, like moi, or in an office, like The Beard, you may very well have a desk. Or at least a kitchen table that mainly operates as a desk rather than somewhere to eat (again, like moi). A lap can also stand in for a desk, though that has never worked for my wimpy wrists. Now as neat and as tidy as I usually am, keeping my workspace clean. It’s especially difficult to do when your home office is also your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.

So for all those common working men and women who are dragging their rears into an office this morning – whether that office is in the city or in the living room – here is some sweet workspace inspiration that may just inspire you to take a moment to straighten up before settling into the daily grind.


(via suzettesuzette)

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Dabney Lee At Home desk Calendar!

Gosh, I feel like I haven’t had a giveaway at Manolo for the Home in forever! That’s why I’m especially grateful to the lovely people at Dabney Lee At Home for agreeing to partner with me to host my latest giveaway. For those whose memories are short, I gushed about Dabney Lee At Home a while back in a post that featured a ton of images of their totally sweet home accessories. For real, if you love bright, saturated, and cheerful colors in cute patterns, then you can’t help but love Dabney Lee At Home. There are gorgeous bar trays, napkins, picture frames, ice buckets, salt & pepper shakers, and my fave, the catch all (which is fab for people like me who want someplace to put stuff before it’s put all the way away). Dabney Lee At Home also has beautiful desk calendars, which is what you can win today!

Dabney Lee At Home is offering Manolo for the Home readers a chance to win one of their customizable monogram desk calendars that add 12 months of style to your office! Each month has a fabulous design on the back so you can frame them to add instant sparkle to your office walls, and you can start the calendar at any month you like. Personally, I love them, and wish I could just fix the contest so I win! But I won’t, of course, since I heart you too, too much for that.

To enter to win, visit Dabney Lee At Home and leave a comment on this post telling me which of Dabney Lee’s amazing home accessories you like best. Easy! And for additional entries, do any of the following (and leave a comment for each):

1. You can score one additional entry when you add Manolo for the Home to your blogroll or let me know Manolo for the Home is already on your blogroll so I can link back to you.

2. Or score a whopping three additional entries when you tweet this giveaway or post about it on your own blog!

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 20, and the winner – chosen via your friend and mine, the trusty random number generator – will be announced the following Monday. Good luck!

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