Two designers share their secrets. 

By Katie Holdefehr
September 06, 2019

Before the office space in the 2019 Real Simple Home was revamped, it was a boring, blank room just waiting for a makeover. Fortunately, designers Shavonda Gardner of SG Style and Carmeon Hamilton of Nubi Interiors knew exactly how to infuse the space with personality. The designer duo walked me through some of the surprising design decisions that make the finished room so wow-worthy. From a dramatic, moody wall color, to DIY picture frame molding, here are the tricks the designers used to completely transform the space. The good news: Whether you decide to incorporate one or all four ideas into your home, you're guaranteed to create a standout space. 

Continue the Tour: Check out the beautiful master bedroom in the Real Simple Home (psst...you're not going to want to miss the gorgeous feature wall!). 

Go Bold with a Moody Wall Color

The first thing you notice when you step into the office (see it up-close in the 360° video tour) is the dramatic paint color. The surefire way to give any room a fresh new look is to brush an unexpected color on the walls. According to the designers, the black paint (it's Dark Kettle Black by Valspar), actually adds depth to the small room. 

Install DIY Picture Frame Molding

If your home lacks architectural interest, create your own! By installing DIY picture frame molding to the walls in the office, Hamilton gave the room a dose of personality. Especially in a newer construction building, molding gives the space a sense of history. 

Wallpaper the Ceiling

To make a room anything but boring, you'll want to think like a designer and add a couple surprising elements. Exhibit A: the gorgeous floral wallpapered ceiling in the Real Simple Home office. The eye-catching pattern—it's Meadow by Kelly Ventura—draws your attention to an unexpected spot. 

Pick a Statement Piece 

When designing a room, choose one standout piece of furniture that will steal the show. In the office, it's the vibrant patterned Lindsey Desk from Made Goods. Choose one piece that anchors the design, then add around it.

To buy: Hadley Oatmeal Rug, $1,279 (7 by 9 ft.); loloirugs.com for info. Lindsey Desk, from $3,600; madegoods.com for info. Balboa Armchair, $748; serenaandlily.com. Flutter Rose Quartz Pillow Cover, $25; holistichabitatclt.com. Barton Bookcases, $1,599 each; potterybarn.com. Honey Can Do Square Water Hyacinth Baskets (on bookcases), $28 each; bedbathandbeyond.com. HP Tango X Printer with Charcoal Linen Cover (on bookcase), $200, and HP Envy Laptop (on desk); store.hp.com. Spiral Notebook in Peacock (on desk), $28; mariemae.com. Bodie Chandelier with Glossy Opal White Glass, $1,099; varaluz.com. Meadow Wallpaper (on ceiling), $80 per yard; kellyventura.com.Custom art by Monica Lewis; monicalewisart.com for info. Paint: Valspar Dark Kettle Black 4011-2; askval.com for info.

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