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How to Create a Stylish Productive Workspace Without Buying Anything

Today I am joining my pals Mary Ann and Annie and we are sharing our workspaces. When Mary Ann suggested we all share where we work, I thought great idea, my office is kind of respectable compared to the state of the rest of the house. What was I thinking? Oh well, let’s take a look at How to Create a Stylish Productive Workspace Without Buying Anything.

How to Create a Stylish Productive Workspace Without Buying Anything

This space is wonderful. It is much larger than my office in our former home but there is no built-in storage. The former owner was an artist and this was her studio. It is connected to the den which is our junk room currently, and looks out onto the pool and surrounding hills (not a bad view!). Here it is set up as her studio.

artists-studio cindy hattersley's new home

It is a lovely bright space for working. In my former home, my office was filled with built-ins. You can read my post How to Make Your Home Office Stylish and Functional here. When we moved to our rental, my office was a nice size but bare. I decided to purchase some items from the IKEA Fjallbo Collection, and it worked quite well. When we moved here my husband suggested I buy some “nice” office furniture. I have to be honest I am not a fan of most office furniture. When I frowned on that one he suggested I incorporate some of our antiques that we don’t have space for. I then envisioned my office looking like a used furniture store. I gave it some thought and decided to combine the old with the new. Here’s Beau welcoming you to my studio/office.

cindy hattersley's lab beau at her studio door

This is the view looking inside from the patio. My office/studio is off the den (which is currently filled with boxes). More to come on that later.

cindy hattersley's home office/studio

On the right behind the antique hutch table (the chairs are from my former office) is a rolling rack that I can style up for videos.

inside style blogger cindy hattersley's studio

To the right of the rack is a tall shelf that was in our master bath in our former home. It is filled with design books. The black swan on top was my mother’s.

shelving cindy hattersley studio

On the left is a full-length mirror.

On the west wall, we centered our antique Kas from Maine on the wall and added the IKEA shelving on either side. I like mixing the old and new and the high and low. The Kas made the IKEA shelving look less (well cheap) and the shelving kept the Kas from looking too granny. I could not get a good picture of this so this one will have to do.

office antique kas with ikea shelving

Inside the Kas, I have all my wrapping paper supplies. On the left of the Kas, in the bins are all my pillow covers (pillow hoarder). I have gardening books on the bottom shelf with a few design-related brochures. On the top is an old New England covered Indian basket and old lawn bowling pins.

IKEA shelving with fabric storage

On the right side, I have fabric samples, more garden books, and some miscellaneous samples.

ikea shelves with design materials

On the opposite wall, I have another Ikea storage unit where I have office supplies stashed. On the top is a flea market find (from my husband) housing my necklaces, a basket for mail, and a favorite vintage mannequin from Round Top (I know he is weird. Everyone hates him but I love him)

ikea storage with neclace decor and vintage bust

To the left of the patio door is my desk. I could not get a good pic of this either.

Above the desk is a bulletin boad where I pin whatever is inspiring me. The desk is an antique work table that I used in my old office. The bulletin board was above my desk in my former office. The beautiful plant was a housewarming gift from our lake friends.

bulletin-board-&-desk cindy hattersley's office

For more inspiration, you might enjoy reading:

Architectural Digest 65 Home Office Ideas that will Inspire Creativity

Ten Tips for Designing your Home Office HGTV

My Domaine 15 Ways to Design a Chic but Functional Home Office

How to Create a Productive Stylish Workspace


I am really enjoying my new/old office. I still need some colorful art on the walls, an office chair, and a few desk accessories. Any suggestions for an office chair? I can’t find one that I like with good reviews. Thanks for reading How to Create a Stylish Productive Workspace Without Buying Anything. I am happy that I was able to repurpose some things and create a space that I am happy with. Now pop over and visit Mary Ann and Annie to visit their workspaces.



Reader Interactions


  1. kim says

    Cindy I love your office and how cool you can have your shirts and your necklaces. it’s just all Cindy which is wonderful. As far as chairs go the Herman Miller Setu chair is a dream to sit in for hours . It has lower back support and feels so light. It is not shiny,. You can get it in a matte black like my husband has. If you need more convincing, go sit in it at the store, Design Within Reach. There is one in Palo Alto. Maybe more by you. If you sit in it, you will see why everyone wants it. Max had one at work and could not believe the difference. It’s around $700, but for something you sit in hours every day, like a bed, it’s worth the extra money. I am buying myself one next..I
    t’s here :
    x Kim

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Kim

      I blew my budget this month. I am going to take your advice next month. I really need a good chair as many hours as I sit in front of the computer. So do you!!

  2. MichEle says

    Cindy your new office space is so inspiring and reflects your unique style. You definitely have a gift for artistic and intuitive design. I’m in the process of putting my home office together in my new home and I am so happy I was able to incorporate my favorite custom couch that we’ve had for over 20 years. I have been holding on to it forever because it is so unique and comfortable and luckily it fits perfectly in the space! I am so impressed with how quickly you have been able to put the space together – I’m still unpacking but hope to feel more settled soon. Looking forward to seeing what office chair you choose. I am thinking about throwing one of those faux sheepskin throws on mine to save some $$ for now.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Michele

      Thank you so much! I am glad you saved your sofa as well. I am on the lookout for a good used one that I can recover. They don’t make them like they used to! We are finally nearly unpacked except for the stuff we will have to sort through and get rid of in the garage. It is such a good feeling!

  3. Cathy says

    Your office looks great and very much “you!” You did a great job repurposing pieces from your former houses. I sometimes call my sewing room the orphan furniture room because it has the pieces we wanted to keep but that didn’t go anywhere else in this house. They all looked great in the rooms I purchased them for but are a bit of mish-mash for now.

  4. cherie says

    I love your old baskets! I covet your lidded Indian basket. Your natural-color baskets always look so shiny and bright. Do you do anything special to them? I have several old, old baskets that just look dried out. My day is always better when there’s a new post from you. Love your mix of old and new. You are blessed with a magic eye.

    • blogfixer says

      Hi Cherie

      I clean them with Muphy’s Oil Soap. I spray it on with a spray bottle and blot off. I dry them outside in the summer when it is warm. If you read articles on how to clean them, Martha etc. they say to use a damp cloth. If they are really dirty a damp cloth won’t do much in my opinion! And thanks for the kind words. You ladies always make my day!

  5. Gail says

    I love your email every Sunday! I think what you are calling lawn bowling pins may be antique Indian exercise pins. My sister’s hubby inherited some from his grandfather.

    • blogfixer says

      Hi Gayle

      Yes, you are right! I have heard them called both. I am never sure which are which!

  6. Karen B. says

    As I’ve said so many times, I absolutely love your style. I’m inspired each time you invite us to your home and share the lovely rooms you’ve worked your magic on. 🙂
    I wish you happy shopping for a desk chair. I was never able to find the perfect chair that shared good style made for a home.
    Enjoy your holiday weekend.
    Karen B.

    • blogfixer says

      Hi Karen

      Thank you so much. That is my problem! They all are too shiny for my house…still looking…

  7. Barb L says

    Your new office is amazing – well done! A place for everything and a to die for view too!

  8. Juliet says

    Cindy, your new office space is fabulous … so spacious and with a view. I’m having terrible office envy today. I love that rolling rack … especially that it has shelves to hold shoes, etc. Early today I was thinking about ordering one to help with I’m packing … but I hadn’t seen one with these additional features. I’ve heard the Herman Miller chairs are great. I think Kim recently wrote about purchasing one for her husband. But they’re very modern looking. Hard to balance the traditional look, with a good-for-your-back chair. A real dilemma. Love this post, after I’m done reading Mary Ann’s and Annie’s I may have to pull an all nighter doing some rearranging. xo

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Juliet

      Most of those Chrome chairs just don’t get it in my home. I have too much old stuff!

    • Cindy Hattersley says


      Thank you so much. I saw that but was afraid to order without any reviews. I am going to order it thanks to you!!

  9. Cath🇨🇦 says

    As much as I love this new place on Vancouver Island, I left behind my own office/ studio when we moved for retirement. We don’t have a dedicated space here that I can call my studio/ guest room for painting. I suggested “bumping up” to add that above the garage with double aspect…sunrise & sunset… but was met with…”a $100,000 room addition” ! ? So when the creative mood strikes, it’s me at the kitchen table with windows around me, and the view of the garden with waterfall outside. Not exactly uninspiring!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Cath

      The kitchen table always works!! I used my breakfast table in the rental house even though I had an office as it was freezing all the time in there and dark. I am kind of a messy worker so I am glad to have a nice large space!!

  10. Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns says

    Cindy, your office looks beautiful! I love all of your treasures(except the mannequin…sorry) and finds from Maine, Round Top and all of the places you have been. It looks like a wonderful place to work and create.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Eliz

      Steve from Urban Cottage called it a science experiment! Everyone hates it except for me, so you have many members on that team!

  11. Sue says

    Lovely ideas to enjoy both new and old furnishings. Being surrounded by decor that has meaning and history with us is what makes it so special. Thanks for sharing – your posts always inspire me,

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Sue

      I so agree. I was worried that I would not be able to pull it off, but I think with a little color on the walls it will be wonderful at least for me.

  12. Homebeforedark says

    Love the mix up! So very you. Respect for old things and embracing the new…and a little edgy. A great place to work in.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Patricia

      Yes I am loving the mix and bit of edge (the head, ha ha)

  13. Deanna says

    I want to come work in your office! Love how you’ve pulled everything together.

  14. Mary from Life at Bella Terra says

    Cindy, thanks for all the great tips. I am in the process of trying to design a new workspace for me and I love seeing your office, as well as Mary Ann and Annie. I agree with you as I do not like the look of office furniture either. Will take all these great tips and hopefully will have a new post in a few months about my office space. Thanks for sharing! P.S. I haven’t been able to check in lately because I’m in grand jury duty, but will try and catch up on your older posts soon.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Mary

      Kudos to you for being on the grand jury! No worries I haven’t read anyone’s blog posts since my granddaughter has been here!

  15. Katherine says

    Looks so nice, getting organized in your office is so important, otherwise it makes it difficult to function the way your used to. Beautiful view with a great source of light.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Kristen

      Thank you so much. It needs a few touches but I am very happy with the space

  16. Donna says

    I love the wicker chairs in this post, can you provide the source? Also, where did you obtain all the bins for organizing your items?

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Donna

      They are so old. I have had them since I organized my office in my old home. The baskets I think came from Michaels and I sprayed them black. I linked to the fabric ones on Walmart and the Container store at the bottom of the post.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Donna

      I found them and linked to them at the bottom of the post. They are from Mainly Baskets. We bought them for our son and daughter in law for a wedding gift I think. They have a beautiful dining room now and were no longer using them so I claimed them!

  17. Mary Ann Pickett says

    This looks so fresh and YOU! Must make you smile to work in there and feel energized. This was so fun to do with you. Just wish it was in person!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Mary Ann

      I do enjoy working in here. Now I need some patio furniture on the patio and something to cover Steve’s grill. Any ideas?

  18. Gray says

    Wow Cindy! So nice. My work space is the kitchen counter and the dining room table. I would love to turn an unused screen porch into an office and project space for myself! But I think it’s way to low on the list to ever happen! Love your office!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Gray

      That is what I was doing in the rental house even though I had an office. I love working in here. I just need to add some color!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Gray

      I have been blessed with nice office space in both houses. Steve had his office at home in the early years of his business. I inherited his space when he got an office in town. This is my favorite though and I am not sure why. My other office had a beautiful view of the garden but wasn’t nearly as light.

  19. Teresa says

    I love it everything has a place! My mom passed away in may so now I am trying to clean out her house I am an only child so of course everything I want to keep I know better than that then I start having panic attacks! It’s very hard I have one daughter and she doesn’t want this old stuff😂 she has all new stuff! Do you have any suggestions on what to keep and what to let go? Thank you so much for your post I love everything you do!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Teresa

      My kids have done a good job of mixing the old with the new. They don’t want everything, but I have tried to help them pick out new things that will complement the old. They may change their mind someday!! Did you read Mary Ann’s post on what she did to her mother’s old chest. Show that to them!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Teresa

      When my mom died I kept very little. Each kid took something they wanted and I have a swan that we had purchased for her. She gave her dishes to my daughter, and I gave the rest to people that cared for her in the end. They needed it much more than I. I would only keep what has special meaning. Otherwise you end up with a lot of stuff you don’t know what to do with.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      I love them I just wish they had one that wasn’t shiny. Shiny doesn’t work in my house darn it.

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