A Vintage-Inspired Home Office

Last week my long-awaited desk finally arrived, so now I can do a bit of an office tour!

Like most people, I’ve been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. This actually suits me quite well, and I’ve worked remote jobs in the past. I do enjoy the routine of “going to the office” however. I like the clear separation of spaces – especially since my day job is also my hobby. I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of me.

I’d describe my aesthetic as “vintage inspired.” I love all things 1930s and 1940s, and I really wanted my workspace to have that vibe. It might be a bit strange to be a woman who has built her career on technology but loves a traditional look, but that’s just how I’ve always been!

My Pink Art Deco Rug

Pink rug with a realistic looking tiger and decorative flowers

The first thing I bought was this pink jungle animal rug from Argos. It is a bit out there, but it reminded me so much of a vintage art deco vibe. Plus it is in my signature pink.

My home office is carpeted in dark grey, and putting a rug on top of the carpet can be a strange choice. But my main concern, which led me to look for a rug, was the wheels on my desk chair. We are renting, so I didn’t want to risk damaging the rug, and since I spend at least 8 hours per day sitting at my desk it seemed likely. So it’s practical, and an added bonus that I was able to find a rug that was so affordable and makes such a statement!

Vintage Vibes Gallery Wall

Above my desk, I have created a gallery wall. I was lucky because my main colours are pink, navy and mustard yellow and Wilko happened to be carrying a range in those colours, so my frames were very inexpensive. I’ve hung them using Command strips, which seem to be very solid.

The photos and prints all have a bit of a vintage feel to them. I have a postcard of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (which I got while on holiday in Rome), a card from the V&A Horst P. Horst exhibition a few years back which has one of my favourite photos of his on it, a print of a woman WW2 ambulance driver reapplying her lipstick, a couple of prints by my pal Carrie (her pumpkin spice greetings card and her mountain print – which reminds me of home). The rest are all photos taken by me: some lovely blooms and a wrought iron gate in Salisbury, a large print of a gelato shop in Rome, the Brighton clocktower Christmas lights, my most-liked Instagram photo in 2020, and a moody photo of Katy and Poppy walking along the seafront one winter.

It’s a nice mix of imagery I love, things that inspire me, and personal memories!

The Desk of Dreams

The centrepiece of my office is my Bourbon Vintage Desk in Slate Blue from MADE.com. It’s also the reason this post has taken this long to be published, since it only arrived this week despite being ordered in September!

It is beautiful though, and I am completely obsessed with it. It’s hard to come by a vintage-style desk that isn’t either a monstrosity or monstrously priced. The dark blue-grey colour really anchors what could otherwise end up as a very pink space (I love pink), and I can tell that it’s a piece of furniture that will adapt with me as my tastes change. It’s also my only piece of furniture that I didn’t have to build with an Allen key, haha.

My temporary desk was a £25 one from Argos and it was fine but I was definitely feeling cramped. Now I have loads of space, including drawers which I can use to compartmentalise my work a bit! On my left, I have my day job-related drawers. Here I stash my 9-5 planner, my A4 whiteboard that I use for sketching, and various old notebooks. I also put my laptop in one of the drawers at the end of the week so that my day job feels well and truly finished.

On the right, is everything related to my personal life and Pretty Content. I have my Five Minute Journal, my Daily Balance Pad and this is where I keep my personal MacBook Air and my iPad Pro when I’m not using it.

My chair is a lovely pink and gold one from Wayfair. It’s not the most ergonomic, but I haven’t had any issues yet, and I usually have chronic shoulder pain on my right side.

Knick-knacks and Office Plants

Of course, the accessories really bring a room together and I have plenty of them. I have a large collection of pretty mugs, so they always look cute on my desk. To keep my desk from getting any rings on it, I asked for one of Anthropologie’s bistro tiled monogramed coasters for Christmas. I’d seen them around for years and had always wanted one but it had never really matched my decor before!

In the theme of pretty Anthropologie items, I was browsing the site before Christmas and came across this ridiculously extra pen pot, and like with my rug I fell absolutely in love. But there was no way I was going to buy myself a £19 pen pot! On the Christmas list it went, and luckily one of Katy’s family members were kind enough to indulge my pen pot fantasies. It’s so lovely, it’s bigger than my own hands (which are small, but still) and holds quite a few pens. I could also see it making a really cute plant pot, with a little climbing vine in it. So it feels like a piece that I will have around for a long time, no matter which way I choose to use it.

An array of desktop items
Close up of a hand-shaped pen pot.

Like I mentioned when talking about my chair, I can be prone to pain in my right shoulder which can become excruciating. One of the things that helps with this is a mouse mat with a gel wrist support. They’re usually very ugly but I found this pretty abstract landscape mouse mat on Amazon that I thought really went with the rest of my accessories so I had to have it (sorry, I know Amazon are evil).

Finally, plants. On my desk is Harriet who is one of the first plant purchases I made for the new flat. She used to reside on the shelf behind me but I decided to move her to the corner where she could get a bit more light.

A tiled coaster with an A and a mouse mat with a geometric landscape pattern

Remaining on the shelf behind me are my 2 succulents: Bertha and her (propagated) baby, Rosebud. I’m hoping to get another succulent out of Bertha soon, as she grows so quickly! I’m also looking for another leafy plant to stand where Harriet once stood – one that doesn’t mind a bit of shade– because I miss how my background looks on video calls and Insta stories with the greenery.

Also on the shelf are some of my favourite UX, business and creativity books.

On the window, I have a lovely pink curtain which casts the whole room in a rosy glow on a sunny day.

Future Plans

Of course, nothing is ever finished, and there’s a whole other half of the room I haven’t shown! The other half is actually primarily a dressing space for me, with a wardrobe, my makeup and hair tools, and some storage for things like camera gear. I also treat it like a little fitness space, where I can put my yoga mat and work with weights and stretching.

The only real “office” bit remaining is a wire bulletin board I have that has a few things tacked to it currently. I really want to revamp this into more of an inspirational vision board.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the way I want it, and I hope we get to stay in this flat for quite a while (knock on wood) so it doesn’t have to change much any time soon!

I’ve also posted an Instagram Reel showing you around the office a bit, so be sure to check that out too!

Hi, I'm Aisling!

I’ve spent over a decade working in agencies and startups, designing for different mediums; coding responsive, user-friendly web experiences; and converting customers into loyal audiences. Now, I am so excited to bring those years of experience to your project, and to share some of my insights on this blog!

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