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Use What You Have Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

by | Aug 16, 2019 | Decorating Inspiration, My Home Office, My Seattle House, Offices

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Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

Even though I love getting new things for my home, quite often I am just as happy (if not more happy!) to be a “use what you have” kind of girl. That philosophy is actually THE very reason I started this blog. I wanted to help and inspire women to find joy in their surroundings, even if they were just rearranging what they had.

A year prior to beginning the blog I started a decorating business with that same mission in mind. It was how I had always decorated my own home, but I had found that so many women I knew felt paralyzed when it came to decorating!

That perspective has stayed with me ever since. There’s a time and place to get new things, of course. I’m very excited when I am able to (or choose to) do that. But it’s not very often that I start over from scratch, or redecorate an entire room from top to bottom. I just don’t always feel the need to get something new, when what I have can serve the purpose just fine!

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

My home office is an example of a room where I definitely use what I have. It’s true that none of the furnishings or decor in my office were bought recently or designed for use in this room. But it’s OK to use them here even if they don’t all “go together,” or weren’t selected for this space because they “fit” here perfectly.

Do I save endless inspiration photos to my instagram and pinterest boards for what my ideal office would look like if I was starting over? Of course! Maybe someday I will do just that.

But since we set up my office downstairs, I have been content just using what we had to set up this space.

I still have the two flea market finds I brought home for storage six or more years ago. They work great for holding office supplies. (Secretary + Hutch and Dresser).

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

I can still sit at the desk I bought for myself as a gift when I started my decorating business, almost thirteen years ago!

The book cover art and award my publishing company sent me when my book Love the Home You Have became a New York Times Best Seller still hangs on my wall all these years later! It’s a good reminder of how important that “contentment” mindset is.

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

The inspiration boards from my old office still inspire me here in this one! These marbled lamps have been around since my old house as well (they can be found online here or here).

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

We just recently pulled the leather loveseat into the office (the sofa we bought when we had two puppies destroying our furniture in our old house!) so we’d have a comfy spot for more people to sit and work with me. The leather has scratches all over it from their wild antics, but I think the imperfections just makes it feel loved.

Related Posts: Decorating with Leather + Sources // 11 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Sofa and My Faves

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

The chalkboard that used to hang in our “map hall” at our other house to hold school calendars now hangs on my office wall. (Mine was from Costco, here is a similar one!). My son is just a few weeks away from living in a college dorm, so seeing this board here is also a sweet reminder to me of his childhood days.

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

And yes, I’m still a fan of the Anthro curtains I got for my birthday years ago. This side of my office definitely has its design challenges I’d love to fix “someday”, but at least I can avert my eyes from the imperfection of the space and instead gaze at the curtains that still make me happy.

This office doesn’t have all the latest trendy styles, but it’s comfortable and comforting. And that is a feeling you just can’t buy because what IS here brings in the sentimental memories and stories. It is also functional enough for my needs right now, but I can easily rearrange what I have or let items go for something new if and when I’m ready for a change.

Do I have design ideas for what I eventually want in my office? I do! But I love this season of decorating slowly, too.

I think there is often much more peace found when we learn how to be content with what we have. And even be happy that we are still able to use what we loved a few years ago!

My office may not be perfect, but I still love working here!

One new thing I wanted to show you in this room is the wood shutters we added to the windows in my office. They are a practical improvement for privacy and light control, and I love that they brought more character to the room and the exterior of my home (you can see a glimpse of what they look like on the outside from the deck, below!)

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

Another cool feature with these particular shutters is you install them yourself, which makes them far more affordable than most plantation shutters.

Find a post about the shutters in my bedroom and guest room here.


The shutters I have are HERE. (Select Painted Wood Shutters, Birch White) Be sure to use that referral link AND my code INSP1RE5 (note the two numbers in this code) for an extra 5% off the best price anywhere!

I’ll share more about the shutters we’ve installed our lower level (we have them in several rooms now!) in an upcoming post!

Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters
Use What You Have  Home Office + Painted Wood Shutters

Shop my house and favorite decor here.

Take my Seattle house tour here.

Take my previous house tour here.


  1. Sharon

    I love those curtains so much! I sent you a question about where they were from way back and you told me, but they were no longer available. I found the fabric (not crewel though but the same pattern), and I sewed my own. They are still a favorite!

    I have two sofas like your love seat- also an inspiration for me by you. We, too, have two dogs who have been all over them. One is a “nest builder,” ie scratcher of leather- as well. A little leather cleaner and conditioner from time to time refreshes the leather perfectly.

    I have lived in three houses with these two particular pieces inspired by you. And, yes, reusing what you have instead of buying into always getting new things is the best advice!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      How fun!! Thank you for sharing! It makes me happy to know you were inspired and still use them years later. ?

  2. Abbe

    So I only have the wall at my staircase to house anything related to an office. Where do you house your printer, router, paper shredder and filing cabinet? Mine are are visible dust collectors and awful on the eye!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      My filing cabinet is a part of my desk. The printer is around the corner in a supply / storage area (yay for wireless printing!)

  3. Liz

    The previous post on the home security camera in your office makes sense now – you have a door from the backyard in that room.

    For Abbe – I moved my shredder to the laundry room where I also have a small chair, bookcase, light on one side. From the hallway, the room looks more like a small library. In my office area, I have small stackable buckets so I can separate for trash – recycle – shred sorting. Then, I empty all three buckets and restack. Having the shredder in the laundry room makes it easier to clean up those little shreds that escape when you empty the bin. I can also shred as I am waiting for the last few minutes of the machine cycles.

    And yea for wireless printers, but I’m interested in seeing the organization in that small room off your office.

  4. Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista

    I love this post Melissa! Remembering contentment is always a great encouragement. And as a long time blog reader, it is also fun to see old pieces of the past continue to get used in new ways. I remember how much I loved that chalkboard in your old house!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Ashley! It’s a perspective that easily gets lost these days, particularly on social media!

  5. Gretchen

    I started following you because of your “using what you have” philosophy. I began to simplify almost a decade ago and that has led to the most enjoyable period concerning home decor ever! I have realized that I only want what I truly love in the house where I live. And for me that mostly means cozy, meaningful, comfy casual with a cottage…sorta’ coastal and sorta’ modern farmhouse feel. I love mixing my old mahogany pieces from our family in with the creamy slipcovered sofa and white coffee table that are new…newly purchased lamps in with one I grew up with as a child of the ‘50s. Jars of seashells next to antique brass ballerina bookends keeping old books from falling over. It is “me.” And because I have been married for fifty years, it is also “us,” and we love our home.
    By the way, our home was built in the late 1880s and my husband’s family bought it in 1957. So it truly is his family home.

  6. Kelly Tooley

    It looks great to me! I like to use what I have, too. Waste not, want not.

  7. lisa Nahas


  8. Linda Harris

    I love this cozy room Melissa and I do love shutters. We are building a home and I am considering shutters. Should I do all the rooms? I want a cohesive look but I also like wood blinds and fabric Roman shades. How do you pull all your rooms together so nicely?

  9. celeste

    Love it! What is the paint color?

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