Name: Rochelle McNally
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Occupation: HR Talent Analytics
Room size: 4,5 m² (48 ft²)
Cost of setup: $910
Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself
My husband and I purchased a house a year ago and have been working to bring it up to modern times.
It was originally a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home, but the previous owners had converted the third bedroom into a master bathroom and left a small 12×4 ft room.
Initially, we didn’t know what to do with such a small room.
We considered using it as additional closet space but ended up trying to make it work as a home office.
I work from home, and my job focuses on analysing and synthesising large amounts of data, so I often need to work in complete silence to focus better.
When decorating the home office, my main goal was to design a tranquil and organised environment where I could fully concentrate while also making it a space where I’d enjoy spending eight hours a day.
I’m a huge Anglophile and have been to England many times, so one of the ways I personalised my office was by putting up all of the little trinkets I have gotten from England while visiting.
For example, I have a commemorative Platinum Jubilee plate from my last visit, a small plate commemorating Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday from another trip, some beautiful gold prints from a street art seller on the South Bank, and my personal favourite — a little Queen Elizabeth figurine that waves when the sun hits a solar panel on her purse.
These little touches personalise my office and make it feel like more than just a workspace.
Take us through your setup
|Laptop||Dell Inspiron (company-issued laptop)|
|Chair||Comhoma Office Chair|
|Desk shelf||Nathan James Theo 2-Shelf Wall-Mounted Desk|
|Accent chair||CANMOV Modern Accent Chair with Ottoman|
|Mouse||VicTsing Wireless Mouse|
|Laptop stand||Soundance Laptop Stand|
|Webcam cover||MESMOS Laptop Camera Cover|
|Selfie ring light||GearLight Selfie Ring Light|
From start to finish, it took me about two weeks to redecorate my office.
I bought everything from Amazon.
I wanted quick delivery and was ready for my office to be more than just the one sad work desk I had been using for the year prior.
When I was looking for furniture for this room, I wanted a desk that saved as much space as possible and that I could easily scoot my office chair into when not in use.
My previous desk was too low, so my office chair couldn’t be pushed under it.
The desk and chair combo took up the entire 4 ft width of the room, which blocked half of an already tiny room from use.
To solve this issue, I purchased the two-shelf, wall-mounted desk by Nathan James Theo from Amazon.
It not only completely opened the room up for movement by having enough height to push my office chair under, but it also created a perfect use of vertical space with the wall shelves for storage.
I also have two cats that like to spend their time in the office when I’m working.
I initially considered getting a small cat tree for the window area, but instead decided to try finding a small but functional chair for both the cats and me to enjoy.
The CANMOV modern accent chair with an ottoman from Amazon turned out to be an unexpected winner.
It is one of the softest chairs I have ever sat in. It fits the space perfectly, even leaving enough room for a small accent table.
The chair is almost always in use either by the cats, my husband coming in to chat or by me when I want some alone time to read at night.
The main struggle we faced while furnishing this office was removing the furniture that was already in the room before we remodelled it.
The computer desk, computer chair, and large bookshelf were all far too large for this small room, and as a result, they ended up leaving several paint scratches on the walls when we moved them out of the room.
The previous owners had painted the room a horrible maroon colour, so the areas where the white paint was peeled off were very obvious and jarring.
We were fortunate to be able to match the colour of the white walls and paint over those spots before moving in the new furniture.
Since all of the furniture I bought for the new room was appropriately sized for the small space, we didn’t have any issues with wall damage when moving the new furniture in.
What’s your favourite item on your desk?
It’s hard for me to choose which item on my desk is my favourite because I love everything on it.
The box on the top right shelf is me and my husband’s “love box”, which contains little trinkets and souvenirs we have hoarded over the years we have been together.
We have the masks we wore for our very first Halloween together, loads of movie ticket stubs from our favourite movies, entrance tickets and booklets from various theatre shows and musicals we have seen, and so on.
The Platinum Jubilee commemorative plate is particularly special to me as well since my husband and I had the privilege of travelling to the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee in person.
I remember watching the Diamond Jubilee on BBC America when I was in college and wishing I could be there, so attending and celebrating the Platinum Jubilee in person was such a special weekend for me.
As I mentioned above, I also love my little solar-powered Queen Elizabeth figurine.
She was given to me years ago during our friend’s annual Secret Santa party, and it brings me so much joy when her little hand starts waving.
Overall, I might sound like a complete Anglophile nutcase, but until I redecorated my office as a space completely for me, all of my little British trinkets just sat in a box.
Being able to display my prized possessions in my private space has been a real highlight, and I am so happy with how it turned out.
What apps or tools do you use to get things done?
All of my work is done in Excel, PowerPoint and Workday.
If I had to choose a favourite, I would say Excel because it is so versatile.
With Excel, you can automate all of your weekly data views with just a push of a button if done properly.
What books, blogs or podcasts recently caught your attention?
Lately, I have been reading the Court of Thorns and Roses series, and I love it.
If you’re into fae romance, then this book is for you!
And yes, I have been doing all of my reading in my little office nook since redecorating it, and it’s the perfect place to escape and get lost in a book.
A Court of Thorns and Roses
“With bits of Buffy, Game Of Thrones and Outlander, this is a glorious series of total joy” (Stylist)
Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?
My number one tip for decorating not just your home office but also every room in your house is to use your interests as inspiration.
For instance, my husband and I are into weird little natural history objects like rocks, geodes, bones, and plant diagrams.
So when we were decorating our living room, we decided to build a large built-in bookcase to display all of the exciting items we’ve collected over the years.
Our bookshelf brings us so much joy when we have friends over and can talk to them about our newest finds.
It makes our home feel more like an extension of us.
So as long as you keep your interests and personality in mind when decorating, everything else will fall into place.
What does your typical day look like?
I have been working from home since the pandemic started, so as soon as I wake up, I head to my office to start work while my husband makes me Thai Chai tea.
I work on whatever data requests have come in that week.
In our free time, my husband and I play video games on our PCs. We have a second bedroom in our house that serves as a game room, where we have our two PC battlestations next to each other on a long desk.
Sometimes we play games like World of Warcraft together, but our video game preferences are usually very different.
I like strategy games and card games, while my husband plays a lot of FPS, so having our computers on the same desk and being near each other makes sharing our common interests fun, even if we aren’t playing together.
Your tips for working from home?
Personally, I need complete silence when I work, especially when dealing with large sets of raw data.
I’m easily distracted by even the slightest sounds, so having a home office entirely to myself has been a must.
Being organised is also so important. I keep folders in Outlook arranged by topic and save every important email I receive, even if the task is done, so that I can reference it later if needed.
I colour-code emails I receive.
For example, if I receive a data request, I colour-code it blue; if I receive a new contract that needs to be set up, I colour-code it yellow; if I receive an email with information that I need to keep in mind, perhaps to discuss in our team meeting, I will colour-code it orange, etc.
This way, I can quickly identify which emails are important and need my attention.
Colour-coding emails, saving emails into folders, and making sure to have a clean inbox with only emails you currently need while deleting or moving emails that you don’t need, are how I’m able to find any information I need to do my job most efficiently.
Lastly, I use OneNote to keep track of tasks, as well as any information that I frequently refer to, such as the Excel formula template.
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