Planning for the new office

jenna lyons office ny
white office storage
white and gold accents
jenna lyons office
white office, functional workspace

Today Joe and I are headed to Manhattan to hunt down a new apartment. Hard to believe that we moved within SF less than a year ago! Oddly enough, I think deep down, both of us had a sneaking suspicion we would not be in our current apartment for long — I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but we still have things in boxes that are stored under tables in my office, and we did hardly any decorating.

We’re definitely going to have a different approach in NY; it’s a fresh start for sure. Part of that includes selling or donating a lot of our things, including furniture that’s been with both of us since college. Case in point: my current desk is from IKEA, and I purchased it in 2004 — it’s probably time for an upgrade. To that end, I’ve been doing a lot of pinning of fantastic office furniture on a secret ‘new apartment’ board, and decided to lay out the items to see how things are starting to look together. (Brace yourself, lots of little moodboards ahead!) 

blu dot desks

Blu Dot Strut Medium Table

Another thing about my current desk: it’s a little bit bigger than the Blu Dot Strut table. I love having a big desk to spread out on, but on any given day, my desk looks like a freaking disaster zone. Which leads me to…

office storage options

1. Framework Credenza | 2. Rigby Console | 3. Hanock White Bookcase

4. Peacock 4 Cabinet | 5. Array Bookcase | 6. Siena 4 Cabinet

Part of the problem, I think, is that I’ve never really had great options for both workspace and storage. In my current set up, I have some folding tables next to my desk that have lots of boxes and bins stored underneath (like I said, we really did NOT decorate). But the boxes are difficult to get to, and I’ve stupidly set my computer up just out of arms reach of this table workspace and storage, so things inevitably just end up sitting on top of my desk. In my new space, I hope to create a more effective L-shape pattern (like in the second to last photo above), or place the storage directly behind me, so that I have more room to spread out, access things, and display pieces I really love. I mean, I don’t think my office is ever going to be the neatest space, but having better storage options will help (here’s hoping!). Plus, purchasing a media console or credenza that could double as a buffet or sideboard won’t be a bad investment.

rugs for office

1. Mountain Range Rug | 2. Building Blocks Rug | 3. Minerals Rug in Gold | 4. Overdye Green Rug

Obviously, a rug is in order to brighten things up and give the space additional character. Right?


1. Eames style chairs | 2. Victoria ghost chair | 3. Maxmesh white chair

It pains me (literally) to tell you how long I have used my Victoria ghost chair as my desk chair. I’ve tried other options that are just as (or more) uncomfortable, so I’ve put up with it for a long time, waiting to get a new chair that matched whatever other furnishings I eventually bought. I can’t WAIT to relegate my ghost chair — as much as I love it aesthetically — to side chair status. Word to the wise: these chairs are super fun, but not meant for sitting in for long periods of time. Your butt has been warned.

decorative objects for office

1. Diamond Cut Nesting Bowls | 2. Between a Rock and a Lamp Base | 3. Format Tray | 4. Converge Votives | 5. Crosshatch Cylinder Decanter | 6. White Elephant | 7. Ephemera Clip

I bought the gold lamp last year and love it — so I’m thinking I’ll scrap many of my other office knick knacks and build around it. I’m envisioning leaning frames, and gold and white accents. Clean, modern, not overly girly, and cool, calm, collected.

I’m by NO means a designer, so I keep telling myself I just have to be patient and not buy a huge mish mash of things that I just happen to love, but don’t go together at all (does this happen to anyone else?). The desk will be the first thing I purchase, so hopefully after working on it and in a sparse office for a while, I’ll naturally find other items I really adore and HAVE to have!

Have you ever taken on a big re-decorating project after getting rid of lots of old things? How did you approach it, and what lessons did you learn? Any recommendations for me based on the above?

PS – Given the travel schedule and today’s extra long post, I’m going to take tomorrow off. I hope to be back on Thursday, sharing some snapshots from NY (and with any luck, an apartment success story!)

{Image Credits: Matt Furman for Fast Company, May 2013; Virginia Macdonald for House and Home, March 2011; Max Kim-Bee for Mark D Sikes; Still from Sam Rohn’s panorama of Jenna Lyons office for Fast Company, May 2013; Barry Calhoun for The Globe and Mail}

Leave a Comment


  1. 4.30.13
    Megan said:

    I completely agree that the ghost chair is not your tush’s friend. I worked from home and went through a few chairs… one thing to note about your other two options is that they force you to sit properly (which could be a good thing!), but if you’re like me and sometimes cross-legged, sometimes with a leg folded here or there, you might want to consider that. In the end, I was most happy with a red Eames-style chair (just the chair, without the ‘arms’). For rugs, I always wanted something really fury to bury my toes in for those early-morning meetings :)

  2. 4.30.13
    Rachelle said:

    I love the gold details, and that chair in the middle looks nice but it’s more of a decoration piece. Not very practical if you work from home.


  3. 4.30.13

    Love the Ghost Chairs I’ve always wanted one of these!

  4. 4.30.13

    Can’t wait to see once you’re finished and have it all set up! I know it’s going to be great!!

  5. 4.30.13
    Meghan said:

    Loving the gold selection so amazing.

    Meghan Silva’s Blog

  6. 4.30.13
    kelsey said:

    gorgeous inspiration! i love elephant figurines.
    kw Ladies in Navy
    Target giveaway!

  7. 4.30.13
    ashley said:

    Loving all these inspo pics- wish I had office space. Can’t wait to see what you do.

  8. 4.30.13
    Marisa said:

    I sit in a Tom Vac chair (similar to the Eames style) at home in my office, with a white fur thrown on top if I need any cushion, and I love it! I also sit in the Eames Aluminum Group chair at work, with mesh (similar to 3) and I find them very comfortable but the leather is nicer if you like to sit cross legged like I do! Good Luck!

  9. 4.30.13
    Blair said:

    I have been thinking about doing gold accents as well! Can’t wait to read about the outcome!

  10. 4.30.13
    Alyssa said:

    I’m jealous you’re going to have a whole room dedicated to office space–how fabulous! I just got a desk to do blogging/writing from in my new apartment, and I’m pretty darn excited about it. Love what you pulled here for inspiration!

  11. 4.30.13
    Meg said:

    Love the look you are going for.

    Creating a new office space and decorating a new space is so much fun.

  12. 4.30.13
    Abby said:

    Is it bad that I love office furniture and accessories?! From the collages above, it looks like your going to have a fabulous new office!

  13. 4.30.13
    Theresa said:

    I love all of your inspiration photos! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. For the storage I love no. 1 and no. 6! And the gold details will look so good with the white desk :) Good luck in your apartment search!

  14. 4.30.13

    I know aesthetics are a top priority, but if you spend hours a day at your desk you probably need a chair intended for that. I gave myself terrible posture problems because I was a short person with the wrong chair/desk heights. Once corrected, it made a huge difference!

    Sigh… short people problems!

  15. 4.30.13

    Eek good luck apt hunting! I hate doing it in NYC (hence why I didn’t move last year) but hope you have an easy time of it!

  16. 4.30.13
    Rose said:

    Love those storage options, I’ve been needed to look for some myself & you just curated some great options! Also, that decanter-swoon.

    Blonde in this City

  17. 4.30.13

    These are such fantastic picks — you say you’re not a designer but I’d be fooled; I love the clean-cut, almost mod aesthetic, and I totally think you could go with the graphic rug — if anything it’ll keep you more alert while in your workspace!

  18. 4.30.13
    Elisa said:

    I love it all! You really can’t go wrong with any of these. Your space is going to be heavenly.

  19. 4.30.13
    Emily said:

    The best part about moving is definitely getting to start over! Can’t wait to see how you decorate.
    Isn’t That Charming.

  20. 4.30.13
    janel said:

    nothing I love more than office inspiration!

  21. 5.1.13

    I think I pinned pretty much everything in this post. So inspired!

    How was apartment hunting? Can’t wait to hear details — and to see you on the reg very soon!


  22. 5.1.13
    Tori said:

    This post is perfect timing because I’m moving this weekend! I’m already planning my space, including my office, in my head but need to get in there to really figure things out. And I agree with some other commenters, that you need to put aesthetics aside (a little) when choosing a desk chair. get a legit office desk chair and your but and back will thank you!

  23. 5.1.13
    Cindy said:

    Happy I’m not alone in my elephant obsession!? All of these are lovely. Good luck with the apartment hunt; as for you figuring out which items to pick to furnish your future office, I’m not worried — intuition coupled with object “coup de coeur” will help guide the way;)

  24. 5.1.13

    This is perfect, I’ve been on the prowl for a good desk chair and I’m loving the Eames style chair. Good luck with the apartment search, I can’t wait to hear more about it!

  25. 5.1.13
    Louisa said:

    Congratulations on this new point in your life! Love the design inspiration. I recognized Jenna Lyon’s office immediately, great inspiration for sure. Best of luck apartment hunting!


  26. 5.2.13

    I love everything you featured, such a good color scheme. You’re new place is going to feel like home and I’m so excited to follow you on this journey!

  27. 5.2.13

    Good luck with the apartment search! I know you will find something fabulous! All of the NY bloggers, including myself, are super happy to have you on our coast now. :)

  28. 5.5.13
    Brenna said:

    I love talking office decor and you shared some fabulous picks. Good luck with the apartment hunt and welcome back to NYC!