Show Us Your Workspace: Name Your Design

by Stacy Amoo-Mensah of Name Your Design

Hi there! This is Stacy again. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I need to preface this post by giving you three pieces of information.

  1. I am the mother of three boys.
  2. I spend the majority of my “work” time designing a line of stationery for tinyprints and filling orders for my online business, Name Your Design. I also work with several brides a month creating custom wedding invitations in my little paper studio.
  3. I do all of this from home.

Any of you that happen to be blessed with boys know the type of energy and activity that they can bring to your home. Basically, our entire house has become their playground… wrestling matches on the family room floor, soccer games in the hallway, tag around the dining room table, etc. There is, however, ONE room in our house that is just for me, and it’s my little studio/office/workspace.

I live and work in Naperville, Illinois, which is a suburb about 30 minutes west of Chicago. A first floor office was one of the main criteria we had while house hunting last year.  Aside from all of the other things we loved about this house, the “office space“ was definitely a major selling point for me! I had no idea, at the time, what a sanctuary this room would become for me and how much time I would actually be spending in here!

As soon as we moved in, I mapped out all the main work areas in the room that I needed in order to run my business(es) and came up with five main elements.

  1. Several storage/shelving units
  2. Desk/design/work area
  3. Printer table/media cabinet
  4. Packaging station
  5. Studio table

Once I had a sketch, I began to look for pieces of furniture to fill these areas. I wanted a space that was calm yet inspiring and subtle yet energizing. The walls were painted a soft aloe green and I went with primarily white furniture to avoid having the room look overcrowded and too dark. Because I had to design on a budget, I was very thankful to be only 10 minutes from an IKEA. I made a weekly trip to visit IKEA’s “as-is” section and was able to pick up many of my main furniture pieces at a huge discount.  Because my last workspace consisted of mostly built-ins, I had very little to carry over into this new space.

A good 85% of my day is spent designing and creating, so the majority of my time is spent at my desk.  I love that my desk faces out so I can look outside and am not stuck facing the wall all day.  In addition, my desk is long and can comfortably fit two people side by side. It’s great for when my younger sister/employee comes over to help with things or when one of my boys wants to keep me company. I actually keep a little stash of crayons/paper/games/books in the bookcase so my Kindergartener has a few special things to do if he decides to join me for a while during the day.

The best part of this room is the wall of windows. Having been set up in an unfinished basement for my last workspace, I would have been happy with just one window. The fact that this room has four windows and a nice view of the front of our house is a complete bonus. There’s nothing worse than feeling cramped and stifled when you are trying to channel your inner creativity. The natural light has done wonders for my workflow!

I think the most important thing I’ve learned about designing and setting up my workspace is to keep it clean, simple, uncluttered and functional. I’ve made sure that every thing in my studio serves a purpose. Sure… I have a few vases, frames and artwork to give the room some personality, but all of the main pieces serve a major function in my day-to-day business practices.

ROOM RESOURCES

Here’s a small list of items I can remember purchasing over the past year.

IKEA

EXPEDIT, white bookshelf ,  $99

VIKA AMON, desk  top and legs, $70

DOCKSTA, white round studio table (in “as-is” section) $75

URBAN, white chairs around table, (two from the “as-is” section) $18 each, (two more to complete the set) $40 each

TOBO, media cabinet for printers (in “as-is” section) $80

VIKA ARTUR, white trestle legs for packaging station, (a set of two in the “as-is” section) $35

(I re-purposed leftover laminate shelving from home depot as the packaging station’s table top) $0

CONTAINER STORE

Large plastic stacking baskets, under packaging table, $14 each

Silver mesh desktop organizer on packaging table, $25

TARGET

Dwell Studio for Target, yellow rosettes pillow, $25

Corkboard used for inspiration/bulletin board, $6.34

Turquoise bankers boxes (that I jazzed up with custom labels), $6 for 4 on the clearance rack

19 comments

  1. SK says:

    I love your office. Do you know the dimensions of your room? I am looking to design my office but I don’t want it to be too crowded. I am trying to figure out what is doable in my space.

  2. hi everyone. thanks for the nice comments! i hope you all realize that it is NEVER this spotless 🙂 i, of course, did some housekeeping before taking the pics.

    i’ll try to answer everyone’s questions below:
    sk – my office dimensions are about 18 x 20..almost a perfect square.
    amy- i actually outsource almost all of my printing for canvas and wedding stationery. i got to a point where printing was taking away from my creativity/design time and needed to adjust. i have an epson 1400 that is great for color proofs and printing art prints. i bought it on sara’s recommendation and i have been very happy with it. the other printer you see is just a cheap-o brother black and white laster printer that i use for shipping labels and general office printing. i also have an older hp scanner/fax that’s hidden in my media cabinet.
    shanna- come by anytime! i’d love to meet those 3 sweet girls of yours :).

    hope that helps!
    xoxo
    stacy

  3. Found your site from pinterest! Love that because I was able to find this. Your “private little sanctuary”. I have one son and a daughter and the indoor playground, yes…I live it too. Such an inspiration your studio. I’m a photographer that spends a great deal of time in my home office when I’m not shooting and need to do a redo. Thanks for sharing.

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