Room envy: A dining area transforms into an efficient home office

Decorator Jennifer Healey created an attractive, functional space in her Ardmore Park home
Photograph by Emily Followill
Photograph by Emily Followill

Decorator Jennifer Healey had an “aha” moment when she decided to convert a small former dining area into a home office for her family of four. Because the space opens to both the kitchen and family room, it needed to be attractive as well as efficient.

Gray zone
To dress up the space, she painted the entire room smoky gray (“Black Fox” by Sherwin Williams).

Build it
Before the family moved into their Ardmore Park home, Healey commissioned built-in bookcases and a functional workstation.

Light it up
Sconces and a hanging pendant highlight the books and provide task lighting, eliminating the need for a lamp on the small desk.

Best reads
Books line the shelves, reflecting the family’s love of reading. Although Healey appreciates the trend of removing book jackets for a unified appearance, she knew it would make it hard to find titles.

Dynamic duo
Rather than matching chairs, she paired a leopard-print chair (“animal prints work in any setting”) with an antique find recovered in a cream fabric.

Floor decor
Healey thought this would be a good place to try layering rugs. The combination adds contrasting tones and textures.

Warmth of wood
The writing desk is a family antique, but not too precious. Healey’s children use it for homework and games. The lighter color is a nice contrast to the dark surfaces, she notes.

Designer Tip
“Hanging paintings on bookcases helps break up the visual expanse of books,” Healey says. “It provides a nice pop and allows you to control where you want the eye to rest.” Similarly, a round mirror balances the rectangular art and bounces light around the room.

This article originally appeared in our February 2015 issue.