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Simple Office Essentials + My New Studio Space

We recently bought our first house, and one of the requirements was a space that could be used as a combined office-studio as I work remotely and run a couple of little shops on the side (Simple Essentials and Sarah's Little Zoo). Our house has a small bedroom off of the living room that is perfect for a combined office and shop space - it has space for my desk and work table, and a closet and cabinet nook for storage. Luckily everything I already had worked for the space, all I had to buy was a cabinet for shop inventory! I had a lot of fun planning this space, and wanted to share a few tools that have been really helpful as well as the items that I've used and loved for a home office/studio space.

Planning Process

Get inspired ~ I always begin planning for a new or updated space with saving images and ideas that speak to me on Pinterest (my office/studio vision board can be found here). This is truly such an important first step! Not only does it help you hone in on the look you're going for, but it also can help with decision making down the road. Whenever I see a piece of furniture or art I'm tempted by, I can look back to my inspiration board to make sure it is in line with my vision.

Measure your space and decide on a budget ~ This may seem obvious, but it's so critical to make sure you know the space and budget you are working with. When you are searching for furniture specifically, you can use filter tools to narrow down a search for only items that will fit your space, budget, and vision (e.g. size, color, material, cost, etc). Function and aesthetic design are equally important to me, and so if I know something is going to get a lot of wear and tare I'll look for a more hardy and possibly less expensive option (i.e. I wouldn't buy a crazy expensive work table that I don't want to get scratched, but a desk where I'll only be working on my computer I'm willing to splurge).

Visualize the plan ~ Besides my vision boards, there are a couple tools I like to help visualize spacing and how things will go together:

1. West Elm's room planner. It's super helpful for visualizing your layout, I've used this every time we've moved to see what we need to sell/buy.

2. Keynote. I love using keynote to visualize all of the pieces I'm interested in together. I use the "Instant Alpha" tool to remove image backgrounds, and even place them on top of a photo of the room in question.

Once you've settled on a plan, then you can start acting on it! A few tips:

- It's OK if you look outside your budget for inspiration purposes. There are a few companies I love that I usually can't afford I'll look to for ideas and honing in on my vision (namely Skagerak, Rejuvenation, Schoolhouse, Jenni Kayne, and many of the brands that Finnish Design Shop carries).

- It's OK to go slow. I have a hard time with this myself, but slowly filling a space as you come across things you love naturally, and as you get to know a space and how it functions well, is often the best way to go.

- If you're in a pinch and need something temporary until you find your dream piece, Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores, and IKEA are great places to go (don't get me wrong, I love IKEA and the pieces we own from them!)

Furniture + Lighting

Desk: I just got this desk by Ethnicraft and am so in love. I had been using a cute but not great quality desk for years and was so excited to upgrade to this beautiful, solid wood one. It was a big investment, but I spend so much time at my desk I might as well love it!

Desk chair: I considered using one of our extra dining chairs at my desk (mainly because I love how beautiful our dining chairs are), but it's just not as comfortable to sit in for such long periods of time. This one from Ikea is great!

Desk lamp: I like this style of desk lamp because you can flip it towards the ceiling or towards the desk depending on how bright you need it.

Storage cabinet: I just invested in this for my Simple Essentials shop inventory. I considered open shelving but I prefer to be able to hide things away behind doors to keep things feeling simple and uncluttered.

Waste bin: Mine is vintage but I've seen some around that I really like (like this one and this one).

Work table: I found mine for free on the side of the road! I also see these on Facebook fairly often.

Storage drawers: This might be one of the most functional pieces of furniture we own. It holds so many office supplies, is nice to look at, and fits perfectly under my work table.

Printer: I have this big printer through work and is excessive for every-day printing, but it's nice that it's so multi-functional. I just got this plant stand on casters for it to sit on so it can roll out easily if needed, and to keep it off the floor.


Heavy duty scissors: These are just the best and will last forever.

Embroidery scissors: I like these for more delicate jobs like cutting off clothing price tags.

Stapler: I love the weight and sturdiness of this metal one.

Staple remover: This is one of those items that isn't necessary but makes your life so much better!

Single hole punch: Mine is from elementary school and I still use it! Primarily for making gift tags.

Scotch tape/dispenser: A good tape dispenser saves a lot of time and frustration!

Packing tape/dispenser: I currently have this kind and like it but am interested in trying out water-activated kraft tape. I love testing out different products to see which ones fit my needs best!

Masking tape: I like using masking tape for gift wrapping - a nice neutral alternative to clear tape.

Measuring tape: Having one of these around can be a life saver! Great for measuring packages.

Pens, Sharpies , Pencils

Butcher twine: A nice added touch to gift wrapping, and can also be used in the kitchen.

Kraft paper: I like having both brown and white kraft paper on hand for gift wrapping and packages.

Label paper: I use these for shipping labels and these for DIY fragile stickers. If you'd like the fragile sticker template I use, click the link below!

Fragile stickers
Download DOC • 42KB


Tote bag: The Transport Tote from Madewell is the perfect size and really nice quality - highly recommend!

Computer sleeve: I love my computer sleeve from Parker Clay! Really beautiful leather and has only gotten better with age. I have my laptop sit on it when I'm working to prevent any potential furniture scratches.

Pencil pouch: Another Parker Clay item - gorgeous soft leather and the perfect size for your favorite writing utensils.

Draw-string cotton bags: I love using the bags that came with some of my shoes and bedding for wrangling cords and other things.


Original and/or vintage art: Something to add a touch of character, interest, and beauty.

Potted plants: We have plants in every room of the house - the perfect type of decor! They really bring life into a space.

Floor baskets: Large baskets are great for catching items that could quickly become clutter. Mine is vintage but I've always loved baskets from The Citizenry (like these).

Water carafe: Mine is vintage from Etsy, but I also love the ones IKEA carries (this one and this one).

Candles: Every room needs a little ambiance! I love lighting candles as I work, especially in the cold/dark winter months. My favorite candleholders are vintage (the one above is from Tend), and my favorite scented candles are from Convivial Production

Coasters: I have a vintage set I found online, but there are lots of great options on Etsy (like these!)

Catchall bowl: Wood bowls are my favorite thing to keep around and have so many uses - including wrangling mail that needs going through, packing supplies, etc.! Vintage wood bowls are my favorite. Mine are from antique/thrift stores, estate sales, Etsy, and Instagram shops.


This post is not sponsored or in partnership with any of the aforementioned brands, and there are no affiliate links included. All opinions are my own.



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