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DIY'ing A Home Office, In Nicole's NYC Apartment

A small apartment doesn’t mean compromising on your interior goals. Nicole (@home.bynicole) is here to prove us right with her colorful New York apartment 🌆

A software engineer by day and furniture flipper by night, Nicole is often found upcycling on her balcony in Brooklyn. Tired of working from her laptop without an office desk, Nicole soon stumbled upon her next project 🪑

She transformed the nook of her bedroom into a small home office, by upcycling a second hand office desk and adding colorful decor. We sat down with Nicole to chat all about her small city apartment, home office refresh and tips on how to best upcycle any piece of furniture 👌


Home office desk refresh
How it all began 🛠

“I first started furniture flipping during the pandemic after re-finishing a piece I inherited from my grandparents. I really dove into home DIY projects when my husband and I moved into our new house in Utah.

We decided to finish the basement ourselves and learned as we went! The only thing we hired out was the drywall and carpet installation. I fell in love with creating a vision and making it come to life.

As a software engineer for my day job, it was refreshing to put the computer away and build something with my hands. I also found such a fun, creative, and accepting community among other DIY'ers on Instagram!”


Installing knobs

Advice for smaller spaces 💡

“Focus on the details and be intentional with every inch. Every little corner can be curated. There are ways to make a smaller space functional and aesthetic.”

Planning the office refresh 💭

"Whenever I start designing a space, I look for inspiration. Visual inspiration can come from posts I save on Instagram, but most of the time, I turn to Pinterest. For this project, I searched ‘office corner / nook’ and noticed the elements that made a space feel complete. A clock, wall art, organizers, a lamp / wall light, a plant and obviously a desk.

I looked for those elements that connected with the style of my room. For large pieces like a desk, I usually find something second hand. My go to is Facebook Marketplace. Often, there are many options at a reasonable price. I check frequently because sometimes you can jump on a really nice item if you see it soon after it is posted!

Then I mock it up to bring everything together, before ordering anything. I take screenshots and copy and paste them into a design software. But it doesn’t have to be that fancy, you could just moodboard using Google Slides!"


Linton loop pull or Stack knob

The final decisions 🌟

"Choosing hardware was so difficult because Plank has so many good options! I knew I needed something small and simple for this desk, since when you’re sitting at a desk you don’t want hardware jamming into your abdomen. I was split between the LINTON Loop Pull and STACK Knob, but finally decided on STACK."


Home office desk with STACK Knob

How to upcycle any piece of furniture 🔃

  1. "Always start by cleaning the piece
  2. Know what the best primer, paint, and finish products are
  3. Know how and when to use them
  4. Be bold but stay classy with designs
  5. Good styling always elevates a piece, whether in your own home or to list if planning to sell."


    Home office desk in NYC

    Nicole’s D.I.Why 👷‍♀️

    "There is something so rewarding about building something from scratch with wood and nails. You can learn a lot of valuable skills by watching tutorials on YouTube or Instagram and through trial and error. Skills people pay for! The creative problem solving process is something I love. DIY’ing is more customizable and (most of the time) cheaper than buying new!"


    Big apple BREAKs 🍎

    "When working on a project, I always love a good Honeycrisp apple cut in thin slices!"

    Inspired by the DIY community 👨‍👩‍👦

    “Most of my visual inspiration comes from Pinterest, but my inspiration to help dive into learning something new comes from Instagram’s DIY community . There are hundreds of women and men building their dream home one DIY project at a time. It’s hard to recommend just a few. Find one and check out who they follow – we all follow and support each other!”


    Home office desk in NYC

    A Swiftie at heart🎙

    "Here’s some tracks that have soundtracked our home office makeover."


    A huge thanks to Nicole for joining us for a TEA BREAK ☕ Why not follow her DIY journey over at @home.bynicole?