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A guided tour of our study, some tips for organising your workspace, and a call for submissions

*** July 2011 Update: This is an old post, but perfectly fits the Friend Friday visual post on where we blog from hosted by Suze, so I am submitting it. And my workspece still looks like that! See all the other posts here. On the back of this post, I also did a roundup of other blogger’s workspaces if you care to check it out.***

We all know that an organised workspace can make a huge difference to the work you do, so one of the things Dave and I did at the end of the Christmas holidays was to clean up our study. We didn’t do anything major to it, but I’m happy with the results, so I thought I’d show some pictures – this is quite a phototastic post! There’s some tips at the end of this post if anyone fancies tackling their own workspace.

Our study is tiny (2.57m by 2.23m) and windowless and also doubles up as a guest bedroom. We both dream of a dedicated studio/craftroom where we can store all or sewing, knitting, painting and modelling supplies as well as our art books in one place, but we’re unlikely to get that any time soon. So we’re making the best with what we’ve got, it’s not as if either of us actually works from home!

This is the back wall of the room.

the study

The inspiration board/random postcard holder.

the study

The floating shelf. The boxfiles are old ones from work that were about to be thrown out, that I’ve painted. The desk tidy things are from ikea, and we painted them red.

the study

the study


the study

This is Dave’s work space. The desk is one of those cheapy wood ones from ikea, we’ve had it for years. It used to have a pod at the side for putting the computer in, but that made it too wide, so Dave took that off, and sawed the tabletop down to size. He also painted it navy.

the study

Dave likes penguins and turtles.

the study

The left side wall. The lights were left by the flat’s previous owners, and the seating is a futon, because as I said, the room is also our guest bedroom.

the study

This is where I write my blog from. I used to get a sore back from crouching over, so I now rest the laptop on a storage basket for height. Ginger likes to sleep here, hence the blanket.

the study

The frame displays cd singles circa 1996-1997.

the study

The door of the room, looking into the hall.

the study

The right side wall, the view i have while working on my laptop. You can’t really see this, the print is that Japanese wave picture but instead of water, there are bunnies. Annoyed I didn’t take a closer up picture! The window is an internal one looking into the living room. It doesn’t usually give any light, but at least there’s some sort of connection with the outside world.

the study

In decorating and tidying the room, These are some tips I can share:

* Start with chucking stuff, ruthlessly. I threw away about 10cds with random stuff burned on them. I don’t know why I was keeping them, if I ever needed that stuff again, I would never have known that’s where it was and would therefore have just gone and tracked the thing down again. Because we’re not proper home workers, we don’t have too much paperwork, but at work I adhere to a strict ‘if its not essential, it goes’ policy too.

* Everything in it’s right place. Clutter is the enemy no.1 of a workspace. This means that everything that you do need to keep should be in a storage container, like my box files, and the storage underneath the fishtank, which is mainly in these ikea boxes. (It sounds like I’m being sponsored by ikea, doesn’t it, the way I keep mentioning them! I’m not). All the cables for my camera, my ipod and the external harddrive are in those wicker storage baskets stored inside the coffee table so that I can access suff easily.

* Surround yourself with things you love. I’m not a fan of minimalism taken to the extreme. When I stare into space while writing, I want to see things that make me smile.

* But not too many of them. There’s a balance to be struck between inspiration and clutter of course. Too many things standing about for decoration get in the way of order, and actually make you appreciate each thing that is out less, in my opinion.

* Therefore, try switching things about. This is how dave and I solve the inspiration/clutter conundrum. The inspiration board is a slowly evolving thing, with new things being added piecemeal, and old ones being removed. Plus, we switch the hung pictures around every now and then. It’s nice to give yourself something new to look at every now and then!

So there you go! Any tips to add? What’s your workspace like? I’d love to see some pictures, bloggy friends! Maybe I could do a roundup of people’s spaces? If anyone does a post, could you link to it in the comments? Or email my pictures if you prefer – franca(dot)likes(dot)apples (at)gmail(dot)com! If I get more than three people taking part, I’ll do a roundup! Woo!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sacramento 10 January 2011, 2:46 pm

    What a trip, and a treat through your study. I can also imagen the rest of the house hehehe. Now, when I think of you at work I will be able to picture you perfectly.
    Thank you so much for the advice.
    MIl besos my dear friend.

  • Nicola 10 January 2011, 3:27 pm

    I love your idea of the CD singles in a frame! Thanks for sharing your study!

  • Annamgovier 10 January 2011, 8:59 pm

    Lovely workspace and excellent advice. Also I can't tell you how many of those singles I *used* to own!

  • Ceri 10 January 2011, 9:01 pm

    Your work space looks great. Mr Style Eyes decorated mine a few months ago and built me a walk in wardrobe to organise all my 'stuff' and a desk. I haven't quite got round to putting in all the finishing touches yet but your post has inspired me to get on with it,. Perhaps I will do a post then.

  • oranges_and_apples 10 January 2011, 9:35 pm

    Yay, do please! A walk in wardrobe is another dream thing for me!

  • Bad Taste Toast 10 January 2011, 10:13 pm

    these tips are awesome, will definitely keep them in mind. And your place looks so lovely, everything's so organized and tidied up πŸ™‚

  • Tracey 11 January 2011, 8:47 am

    I love the tour of your study!! πŸ™‚
    Your tips are wonderful too – I love 'creative' mess but not actual mess – I find it necessary for creative inspiration! πŸ™‚

    I'd love to take part in a similar journey from my desk, but all the rain we're having at the moment means it's SUPER dark and not camera-friendly at all … I'll try for a sunshine-y day in the future! πŸ™‚

  • Retro Chick 11 January 2011, 12:35 pm

    I am inspired now to attempt to turn my house and work space into an organised haven instead of a big cluttery mess!

  • Lorena 11 January 2011, 5:38 pm

    It's fun to see where you post from.
    I do not have a "work area" at home, we have a room where we have our lap top and a desk but itΒ΄s hot and boring in there so I usually take the laptop to the living room table or to the bed with me.
    I do not want to turn this room into a "work" place because my husband is a total clutter boy and it would be like saying "yes, go ahead clutter time".
    Oh I love IKEA too !

  • northwestisbest 11 January 2011, 7:25 pm

    What a lovely little space you have! I also own that Kula Shaker single. I think the model on the front is the wife of Crispin Mills. I'll email you a picture of my workspace tomorrow morning xx

  • Helen 11 January 2011, 10:35 pm

    this is my desk currently! i don't really have a 'workspace' now since finishing uni, it is really organised. but it is where I blog from πŸ™‚

  • louise 13 January 2011, 9:16 am

    late to the party but how glad am i to see someone with a small workspace, you get used to seeing these glorious sole purpose rooms over at blue gardenia… my study&sewing space is in my bedroom – idea of scale? the bed is flush wall to wall under the window! planning on getting it re-organised over the weekend πŸ™‚
    p.s. yay for the heady days of BritPop πŸ™‚

  • louise 14 January 2011, 12:49 am

    will do!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:13 am


  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    If you do, and take photos, let me know!!! x

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    yeah, I have a taker! thank you!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    I sometimes take the laptop through to the living room, but I just can't
    work on it on my lap with the touchpad instead of a mouse like most people,
    at least not when I'm typing or editing photos.

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    Yay, do it after the rain!! Hope that isn't too bad by the way!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    Thank you! We have to keep it tidy because its so small, otherwise it would
    just be horrible to be in!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    thank you! Do you fancy sharing your workspace?

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    Thank you! and hurrah for 1996 music!

  • Gina, Mommy Posh 29 July 2011, 12:51 pm

    Love your blogging place and advice on organizing…I loved reading this post. Β 
    From your friend over at FBFF
    Gina @ MommyPosh.com Β 

  • Fabienne Jach 29 July 2011, 2:41 pm

    Ok, Franca, you've inspired me to tackle the back room. Ours is the "man cave" because Fil has his office and his DJ decks set up there, but it's also the guest room, where we keep all the camping, snowboarding, burning man, bikes and spare set of tires. We don't have a garage and it shows. You've done such a great job!
    xo, f

  • Kimberlee VDW 29 July 2011, 3:08 pm

    What an awesome stapler – love the penguins!

  • Fashion Confessions of a Mommy 29 July 2011, 3:59 pm

    Very nice. I like the decorations. I put photos of the decorations in my office as well.

  • Jess Pendleton Caraway 6 August 2011, 7:49 pm

    I love your inspiration board! What a great project.