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A contemporary home office gets a makeover with vintage finds

If you live in a recently built home that lacks character and you are not sure how to inject some soul into the rooms, then this article is for you. I recently found myself wanting to change my contemporary looking home office, 6 years after its last makeover. It was time to move the flat pack furniture out, give the walls a fun makeover with a lick of paint and make the space feel more welcome, ahead of starting a new job.

As trends come and go, I drew my inspiration from the bold room makeovers that feature in the hit DIY/Interiors show Changing Rooms (Channel 4), where DIYers work against the clock to renovate a room in each other's houses with the help of interior design icons. The show is fun, helps you think outside the box and there are plenty of hair raising moments where you might think 'what have they done' only for the whole look to make perfect sense when rooms are revealed.

The show is sponsored by trusted paint company Dulux, a brand that I have used throughout my home and which has offered me consistency in quality of the paint together with affordability for larger projects.

See some of my projects using Dulux paint:

The paint colours featured on the show are from the Dulux Simply Refresh range which includes 30 core colours in the main range with an additional 15 colours in a ‘Feature Wall’ collection covering all aspects of colour from fresh modern neutrals to muted tones of green, blues, yellows, and pinks.

Simply Refresh will cover walls in just one coat, so no need to hang around watching paint dry between coats, you can just get on with your project and have your room back in use in hours. A 2.5L tin will cover four walls of an average sized room.


So here is an image of my office space which was last painted in 2015. The flat packed IKEA desks served me in two different homes for just over a decade and as part of my office makeover, I had to find them a new home, to make sure nothing ended in the landfill. Indeed, they are now part of someone else's office nearby! The bookcase had already been moved to my son's room next door and all I was left with a dark wall with lots of scruff marks.

Materials used

· 1x 1.25l ‘Ink Well’, Dulux Simply Refresh

· 1x 2.5l ‘Polished Pebble’, Dulux Simply Refresh

· 1x 1l ‘Fire Cracker 1’, Satinwood

· 1 medium size brush for interior walls

· 1 roller for interior walls

· 1 small brush for interior wood

· 1 small roller for priming my furniture with all-surface primer

My office makeover plan

The design for the wall directly in front of the desk was going to be painted in Dulux’s Simply Refresh One Coat Ink Well, part of their Theme Wall Colours shown below. The design included painting an arch, with the desk sitting comfortably inside and being framed by it. The rest of the walls would be painted in Polished Pebble, another Simply Refresh One Coat colour, keeping the room overall light and uplifting.

Introducing some vintage furniture was important to me, as part of a sustainability pledge to recycle more and send less to the landfill. The pieces I wanted in my space included a glazed display cabinet and a large pine desk but there were challenges as most pine tables are quite deep - I did not want to end with an obvious dining table in my office.

A lot of scouring on eBay and Facebook Marketplace and I managed to land two fantastic pieces.

  • A glazed display cabinet of dreams, like nothing I had come across before!

  • And a rescued refectory table with bobbin legs (bobbins being a big trend in 2021-2022 for interiors. Think of mirrors, picture frames, side tables, chairs and beds!). Both were already painted black but would need to be updated for my design.

As soon as I found a new home for my existing furniture, and with the room empty, I painted the two opposite walls and finally painted the main wall in Polished Pebble before drawing my arch. A mural in black and white of a tree that is on my back as I sit, will remain in place.


Once the wall colours were dry (one coat only!) I brought the new display cabinet and the desk back in. I set about painting them in Dulux Fire Cracker 1, one of the darkest red colours with brown undertones.

The colour would be echoed in accessories for the desk and on wall art. I primed both pieces and used Dulux Paint Mixing Satinwood, to give them a soft sheen. Being water based, the paint dried faster, allowing me to work around styling the space.

The room now feels like it’s in a completely different home. The warm red against the freshly painted walls feels almost luxurious, with the new display cabinet giving me ample storage for office related items, folders and a collection of bags. The desk, with a generous length also allows me space to keep books, trinkets as well as my desktop computer and a table lamp together.

Click on the images below to expand

How to draw an arch

Drawing an arch on a wall is a clever way of using two different colours on the wall as well as creating a frame for a desk, bed or console table.

  1. Start by applying the background colour, in this case I painted the wall in Polished Pebble, although I did not paint the entire wall, only where the wall would be obviously in this colour and a little bit where it would overlap with Ink Well.

  2. Next I measured the desk and decided that I wanted the arch to extend on each side of the desk by 10cm.

  3. Then I found the mid point of that length.

  4. I decided on the height of my arch

  5. I cut string using that length and tied one side on a nail (and nailed it to the middle of the arch length, whereas on the other end I tied a pencil.

  6. I drew a semicircle then painted the outline with a small paint brush and filled the rest with a normal roller.

If you enjoyed this project and want to ask questions, please head over to my Pinterest Stories here to see more videos and photos from this project. I will be able to answer questions there and see your reactions to this makeover! I hope you will feel inspired to pursue your own project at home!




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