New Wallpapers = Plan for the Tiny Office!


If you felt a sudden shift in the air yesterday while you were hopefully doing something more fun than I was doing (eating falafel from a food truck on the side of the road under the JMZ in north Brooklyn, just trying to get home, my subway card as empty as my stomach…dark times.), you were most likely feeling the latest collaboration from one of my favorite wallpaper manufacturers, Hygge & West, being released into the world! This time, the wallpaper magicians at Hygge & West teamed up with Portland-based Laundry to create 6 new patterns (each of which comes in a few different colorways!) inspired by traditional Mexican designs. If “inspired by traditional Mexican designs” doesn’t sound exactly like my usual jam, you may be correct, but I love these! Each pattern is so pretty and the colors and metallics are SO good. I kind of want to design rooms around all of them and then make those rooms happen in my house and other people’s houses and just all the houses. Everyone deserves a little wallpaper.

Even though the tiny office space is currently a grotesque disaster of horror and despair, that is not going to stop me from planning what I want it to be. I tend to shy away from wallpaper in really large applications for myself (a personal shortcoming I can’t explain), but I LOVE to wallpaper little tiny spaces. It’s like a little special unexpected something to make those often-neglected spaces feel totally special and awesome. I’ve always been planning to wallpaper up one wall in the little office, but I didn’t know which wallpaper…UNTIL NOW.


BLAM, office plan. I’m into it.

1. HYGGE & WEST: I’m going to wallpaper the long wall opposite the door with the new Diamante pattern in black/gold. GOLD, YOU GUYS. It’s going to be amazing. The pattern is so pretty and intricate, and…GOLD. It’s really important to me to add more warm-tone metallics to my life, because it is not brassy/goldy/coppery enough as it is.

2. DWR: Max and I found this Era Round Armchair at the Design Within Reach Annex store for something like $75 because the arms are a little scuffed up. I think it’ll make a nice simple desk chair——it’s comfortable but also really visually light, which will help keep the space from feeling crowded.

3. FERM LIVING SHOP: I’ve wanted one of these wire baskets FOREVER but never really had a worthy place. I think this might be the worthy place…

4. White floor! White floor! White floor! As soon as I set foot in this room for the first time, I’ve wanted to paint the old tongue and groove floor white. I’m planning to follow the same steps that Anna did here, except for the sanding part since mine is already painted and the paint probably contains lead and I don’t want to play that. I know people get all weird about white floors, but I think it’ll be OK. No shoes in the office!

5. I think I want to make a simple floating desktop out of pine boards…cheap and un-fancy. I’m not sure how much I’ll like the pine with the wallpaper, though, so I think I might whitewash it with something or stain it black or…I don’t know! I’ll have to see how things are coming together…

6. IKEA: For storage of office paraphernalia, I think I might finally buy one of those ALEX drawer units from IKEA. It’ll hold a ton and slip under the desktop pretty inconspicuously. I might switch out the casters with something less…plastic.

7. I know, a whole lounge chair! I want to be realistic about myself and my work habits, and I know I often get tired of sitting at a desk, but I don’t want to be tempted to leave the room if I need to get stuff done. I found one of these Wegner-style folding lounge chairs a couple of months ago in Brooklyn for $20. The webbing is totally torn and needs to be completely replaced, but since it was so cheap and it’s already ruined, I think I might replace it all with some simple canvas (or leather??) slings. In my head this will take no more than 20 minutes and look perfect? I guess I’ll need something to prop my feet on (any chair is comfy if you can put your feet up, right?), so maybe I’ll get a pouf or something.

8. IKEA: What with the white floor and wallpaper and that chair, this room is just going to need a sheepskin. That is all.

9. SCHOOLHOUSE ELECTRIC: Right now there isn’t an overhead light in the room, which is a little bit annoying/dark. Since we have to add lights to a couple of other rooms in the upstairs anyway, I’d like to just bite the bullet and get one put in here, too, since they might have to make holes in the walls and I’d rather have that done NOW than after the room is all nice and pretty. I think this little Thunderbird light from Schoolhouse Electric is so cute. The quality of Schoolhouse’s fixtures is really amazing and they’re well-priced, too.

10. LAURE JOLIET STUDIO: I don’t even really know how my friend Laure and I started talking online, but she’s a totally hilarious and awesome person who also just happens to be an extremely talented and accomplished photographer. She recently opened up an online shop to sell a modest collection of prints——they’re all black and white and HUGE (3′ x 4′!) and cheap, and I love them! I already got this one (taken at a natural history/hunting museum in Paris, I gather…) and I’m pretty excited to hang it up. I think the whole ensemble of this room might lean a little feminine, so obviously I need some French taxidermy and guns to manly it up.

11. CLARK + KENSINGTON: I still have some leftover paint from the kitchen, and I think it’s enough to paint the rest of the walls and moldings in this little room! Since the wallpaper is so bold and dark, I just want to rest of the walls to be a simple grey-white with white moldings. Nothing crazy!

That’s my big plan! Office by Christmas? Is it possible?

This post is in partnership with Hygge & West.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 11.14.13
    Sommer said:

    That’s going to be great! I’m thinking of wallpapering our half bath but I think I’ll start REALLY small and just do the inside of a couple of the (closed off) fireplaces.

    I’ve been looking for a good light for our laundry room but that may be too much awesome for a lowly laundry room.

  2. 11.14.13
    Jennifer said:

    I adore those busy teal prints! I can just see them in a bathroom, above high paneling so they can be lush and pretty without being overwhelming.

  3. 11.14.13

    This room is going to be SO LUXE. I am soooo down with your whole plan.

  4. 11.14.13

    Love this whole idea, especially the wallpaper. I watch Boardwalk Empire in part to stare at the olden days set designs”¦ there are several wallpapers on the show that I adore, and this one reminds me of them, yet it feels like a modern version.

    Your little house is turning into a home!

  5. 11.14.13
    Alli said:

    Have you ever been to Pricey, but can provide ideas at least for switching out the casters! And I don’t know if you’ve heard of zulily. Yes, it’s primarily for preggos and kids, but they have midcentury mod furniture every now and then. I saw this and thought of the white one you got for your apartment a while back, it’s on sale for $90.

    • 11.14.13
      Daniel said:

      I have seen pretty pegs, thank you! I actually like the idea of casters on those drawers, but I don’t like those castors so much, specifically. A set of industrial metal casters is super cheap and I think would make the whole thing look nicer!

  6. 11.14.13
    Paul said:

    Are you and Max still planning to host Thanksgiving?

  7. 11.14.13
    Susan S said:

    My husband has an unreasonable aversion to wallpaper as he thinks its old-fashioned but now that we’re turning an eye towards our forever home after more than a decade of living the military gypsy lifestyle, I plan on sneaking in some some applications here and there.

    The swatch on the bottom left needs to be in my future laundry room, which I don’t have any idea of what it might look like because we haven’t found the house yet but the ideas are definitely there. Heck I might even mod-podge it to a roll up blind and pair it with breezy, gauzy white curtains!

  8. 11.14.13
    KathyG said:

    I love your idea about just a small space with wallpaper. I have a love/hate affair with it, so this is a possible alternative that I just hadn’t figure out. Thanks!

    If you haven’t sat in a Poang Ikea chair with footrest, try it out. I was set against them, but I bought one as a “placeholder” so that I could sit comfortable with my laptop (while waiting for the perfect other chair to come along), and it’s the best thing ever!

  9. 11.14.13
    Julie F. said:

    Love it the bold wallpaper! Maybe you could add a few dark gold accessories too? And the fur. Every room should have fur.

  10. 11.14.13
    Jean said:

    Poangs are very comfy. I wouldn’t want the cloth-covered ones, but the leather is very nice.

  11. 11.14.13
    Carolyn said:

    Go white floors! You will not regret it. When we moved into our rental this spring, the master bedroom floors were painted the brightest turquoise possible for no good reason. The landlord agreed to repaint them white and I have never looked back. It’s my favorite room in the house now because of it, so bright and airy. When we own someday, you bet I will absolutely be painting some floors somewhere white. (When ours gets scuffed I just hop around with the paint bucket and paint right over, maybe not THE best solution but it works!)

  12. 11.14.13
    Billy said:

    Now I need to find some of my old prints and reprint them in some giant black and white goodness. AAANND I’m looking forward to that desk! I’ve been wanting to do some sort of plywood desk situation but haven’t made the jump. Also I would be worried about that wallpaper, it’s gonna one of those things that you just constantly pet and it’s going to really distract you.

  13. 11.14.13
    Annemie said:

    I think it looks a bit ‘modern versace’-esque with the wallpaper and the tiger. In a good way though. With all the Whites and clean lines it will be fabulous as ever! Those prints are SO nice! Gimme gimme

  14. 11.14.13

    That wallpaper is perfect and I love it.

  15. 11.14.13
    Jo said:

    The lounge chair. Please do a post on your DIY reupholster leather/fabric/what-have-you post haste! I also have two of those awesome things with intact but stained webbing I’d like to change out. I’d rather you go first!

    Love your plan!

  16. 11.14.13
    Dana said:

    I want it. ALL. Santa?

  17. 11.14.13
    Christiana said:

    I am SO VERY MUCH feeling this. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  18. 11.14.13
    Karin said:

    I love the print! And I want one too! But how are you going to frame it without paying a ton of money?!

    • 11.14.13
      Daniel said:

      I probably won’t frame it! I think I’ll probably use a suspension system (something like this one) or even just hang it with a few binder clips and nails!

    • 11.17.13
      Christa said:

      Have you considered stringing up a wire and clips, darkroom style? I like to use them for big posters along with all those little inspiration pics in my office.

  19. 11.14.13

    Hey, Daniel! Check out the amazing weaving of the leather strapping in this chair: Maybe you can DIY that mamma-jamma on your lounge chair

  20. 11.14.13
    Molly said:

    Daniel, how are you planning to hang that print? Giant frame or some other crafty application? I have a long empty wall behind my couch that needs some BIG art, and I love the idea of the Laure Joliet prints, but wouldn’t know how to hang it without spending a ton of money on a frame.

    • 11.14.13
      Daniel said:

      Molly, go look at my response to Karin, above! There are lots of hanging systems like that out there (I just linked to one I found in 5 seconds on Amazon…) that are great options for hanging big posters. The prints (paper type/weight and print quality) are decidedly and purposefully un-fancy, so I think something more casual like that is a perfect solution.

  21. 11.14.13
    Teresa said:

    You better throw a smoking jacket into that collage. For some reason I also think the addition of a man in the corner holding a palm frond awaiting your chair lounging and perhaps a hipster bar cart somewhere would really tie your office together.

  22. 11.14.13
    erin said:

    So this has nothing to do with this post but I thought you might like to know what a bad-ass you really are. I just gizoogle’d (yes, it is a real thing) your website and here’s what it says about you: “I be a gangsta yo, but y’all knew dat n’ mah name is Daniel. I’m a gangbangin’ freelizzle interior decorator n’ thug up in New York fo’ realz”. Anyway, thought it was worth sharing. PS – LOVE the work that you do!

    • 11.14.13
      Daniel said:

      hahahaha! I LOVE gizoogle.

  23. 11.14.13
    Minnie said:

    I’ve been thinking of getting some wallpaper tiles for my new apartment, but I haven’t been able to decide on what one to get. And now they come out with more?! This is so hard!

  24. 11.14.13
    Par said:

    That’s the wallpaper pattern I would pick too. It looks like snakeskin, so decadent.

  25. 11.14.13
    Elaine in Laguna said:

    All I can say is Wowwww. Can’t wait to see the inspiration all done up. Timing-wise, I think it’s do-able if you pre-plan, stage, etc. Love the black and white prints, especially the palms. Soooo tempting!

  26. 11.14.13

    Your office is going to be so sexy! Love each and every item.

  27. 11.14.13
    Susan in England said:

    I love wallpaper and love the art of wallpapering. After having my own place, I’ve now been in rentals for years and I am so jealous of you being able to have wallpaper. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished room. Ready by Christmas? Of course.

    Ever the optimist, I’ve carried my wallpapering tools with me from one place to the next, hoping the time would come when I can wallpaper again.

    A word to anybody contemplating wallpapering a full room for the first time. It’s not hard to do but I’ve never encountered a room where the walls are totally square to each other. There is an art to going around corners and it should be checked out first. And it’s best not done by a novice using geometric patterned paper. Wonky geometric paper going around corners, instead of into the corner, is definitely not good. I used to avoid visiting a friend’s bathroom because I’d come out feeling decidedly dizzy.

  28. 11.14.13
    kmkat said:

    An office needs a place for a second person to sit when they stop by to chat. That lounge chair will come in very handy. And when I looked at the wallpapers at the beginning of the post, it was the black and gold one that won my heart.

  29. 11.15.13
    michelle said:

    been loving your blog since i found it – i bought a 1928 tudor style bungalow 13 years ago and totally gutted it and have been slowly rebuilding it ever since so i can relate. sanding is a critical step before repainting – prep is 90% of a good paint job – you need to rough up the existing paint to give the new paint something to stick to – have you heard of peelaway? little by little, room by room – all my beautiful wide pine moldings and baseboards – lead free! i, too, picked out the black and gold wallpaper from your samples – i would do black floors, though. you are so right to finish one little room as a respite from the madness – good luck!

    • 11.15.13
      Daniel said:

      Woahhhhh, peelaway looks like total magic voodoo?? I want it. It works as well as advertised, I assume? I always shy away from paint strippers because of the mess, but this looks really promising. Thank you!

  30. 11.15.13
    PhillyLass said:

    Fantastic! What are the brands/names of those paint swatches? I love them.

    • 11.15.13
      Daniel said:

      They’re actually Benjamin Moore colors that I just used for the images for the sake of this board (nicer looking than a rectangle of color, I think…). I think the lighter shade is Simply White and the darker is Lacey Pearl.

  31. 11.15.13
    Sarah said:

    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your journey in transforming this beautiful house into your home! A white Campaign desk would look amazing here, which the brass would totally complement the other gold/brassy accents.

  32. 11.15.13
    Elsie said:

    Going upscale jet-set get-away! Love it all. And that trippy wallpaper to get lost in safari style from your canvas/leather covered lounge chair? Genius!

  33. 11.15.13
    tess said:

    cool, plan, groovy wallpaper, all the black dots look like eyes,
    a friend had red and black flocked wallpaper that looked like faces,
    an auntie had a formica tabletop that looked like twisted, howling creatures burning in hellfire

  34. 11.16.13

    I’m really digging the idea of the floating desktop. Would it be on the same wall as the wallpaper?

  35. 11.16.13
    lisa said:

    I apologize in advance… but i am gonna pee my pants/on purpose! that’s how crazy i am for this entire plan! it is so freakn awesome – for real – i love it!

  36. 11.16.13
    Mariane said:

    Yeah you gotta stain that desk black…this is going to be so handsome and masculine and luxe and tiny!

  37. 11.16.13
    Hilary said:

    Could I encourage you to rethink the overhead light situation? They always look dinky in the middle of a ceiling and put out terrible light. Perhaps it would be more worth it to wire for sconces or connecting sockets to light switches instead?

    • 11.17.13
      Ann in SF said:

      I second that motion! Especially in an office, you’ll need task lighting instead, and a reading lamp by the armchair.

  38. 11.17.13
    Steph said:

    That’s a lot of look for a tiny room, in the best way. The gold wallpaper is SO GOOD. I really like reading your plans and thought process, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  39. 11.17.13
    Patty said:

    A 3″x 8″ 100W light fixture, seriously??? Just how dinky is this room? If you’re going to go bold w the wallpaper, go bold w the light. You want to see, not cast a shadow.

  40. 11.21.13
    Leanna said:

    They have super similar baskets to those Ferm Living ones at Target right now. For cheap.

  41. 11.22.13
    RMC said:

    Oooh, I’m late to this post but love the direction your office is going. Great materials & design scheme. What is the bigger room (that the office is located off of) going to be purposed as? A guest room? Design studio?