How to build a blogging space on a budget

When I was young, I dreamed of owning an antique writing desk. Something that Charlotte Bronte might be seen at, blotting paper underhand, ink stains on the spongy leather surface.

Then I grew up and balanced my laptop on my knee in front of the TV. And it was grand. Comfy enough I thought. Until the neck pain kicked in.

On the days that I worked outside of the home, spending an average of eight hours at an office desk and using my evening hours to blog or write, the pain would get so intense that I’d have to knock back glasses of Solpadeine and try and straighten myself out on the bed.

I visited a physical therapist who grinded my muscles from a bone like texture back to a much more desirable ‘tough steak’.

“I love blogging,” I muttered into the the massage bed, listening to the sound of my sinews snapping. “I know I’m in pain, but I’m not giving up.”

“Could you get a desk set up in the house?” asked the therapist, logically.

“Oh no,” I said. “There’s no room.”

And that was that. I handed over fifty quid a session and went home, ready to start another week of working my muscles into cement, hunched on the sofa, whinging at himself to go get me more Solpadeine. (He wouldn’t by the way. He thinks I have a codeine addiction. I don’t. I mean I could stop taking them if I wanted. I just choose not to.)

But the therapist’s words had stuck. He had sewn a Grand Designs seed. And my spare room didn’t know what it was in for.

Looking around it one day, I spied my beautiful vanity dresser, which I’d bought two years previously in a rush of finding a bit of ‘me’ space in the house. I turned our spare guest room into a LadyNicci room with wardrobe space, vanity desk and pull out sofa. (Thank you husband for not protesting too much).

If I got rid of the dresser, I thought to myself, I have space for a tiny desk. I raided the shed for some white paint to patch up the dresser and while the splodges were drying I posted the pics I’d taken online. The first offer came within 15 minutes and by the end of the day, ten people had offered on the desk.



Vanity Dresser
Pretty: yes. Useful for writing: no.

When it was carted off into the black of night, I felt very excited. I could now actually think about buying a real writing desk. Bronte fingerprints and all!

With only €60 in my pocket from the sale of the dresser I needed to get a bargain. I checked some charity shops and scoured online deal sites. An IKEA desk caught my eye – a large corner desk with shelves, that would never fit. Or would it?

I realised if I moved the furniture a bit, I could free up a good chunk of corner in the room. And with the shelves inbuilt, I could make myself a writing haven. I struck a deal with a lady online and after two visits to the house (and the help of a neighbour and his trusty screwdriver) the desk came home with me, wrapped in the seatbelt for the grand sum of €75.

blog space 3

Himself was more than impressed when I dragged the desk in bits through the hall at 10.30pm on a school night and politely asked him to get to work and rebuild it in its new home. So there was only one thing for it.

D.I.Wine.

DIY

I helped by dropping nuts and bolts on the wooden floor as the child slept next door and laughing and spilling the wine. And I was on hand to support the carpenter master emotionally when the desk had to pulled apart three times because IKEA likes to play tricks with the wooden mind!

With desk installed, I spent the next few days rearranging clothes and cleaning out wardrobes and shopping for just the right office chair. And here is how it all came together. (The apple below was genuinely on my desk. I just placed it strategically for these photos. After the photos, I replaced it what would should be there. Chocolate).



blog lamp




Book shelves


blogging space



blog space 8

Part of me was putting off finishing project writing desk. Now that it’s in place I have absolutely no excuse not to write. I hope it’s not like installing an exercise bike in the bedroom – gradually gathering dust, and then the odd towel; the only thing improving being your ability to lie to yourself.



blog space
That chair has ‘bestseller arse’ written all over it

I spent a grand total of €75 creating a mini home office. Here’s how I did it and some tips if you are thinking of doing the same:

1. Sell what you can

If you’re replacing furniture, try to sell your current furniture first. This frees up the space and gives you cash flow. I sold my desk on Adverts.ie. If you’re buying new, perhaps there’s something else in your house that will sell. You’d be amazed what will sell if the price is right.

2. Buy secondhand

The desk I bought is practically new, but cost half of what it would if I had bought from the shop. St Vincent de Paul may have a furniture store in your nearest town and my favourites Done Deal, Adverts.ie or eBay could work for you

3. Think workstation

The all in one desk  I went for came with inbuilt storage and shelves, meaning I didn’t have to buy add ons which had been my original plan. I thought I’d need to spent around €70 on new shelves, when in fact they came with the desk for that price.

4. Use vouchers and check bargain basements

We had a voucher for €80 left from one of our wedding gifts. I went to Wogans, a furniture store in my home town and picked up the office chair which I love. I wanted something neat, on wheels and with a gas lift. It was originally on sale at €145. I found a similar chair on Littlewoods too – somewhere you might have vouchers to spend. TK Maxx also have a fab home range.

5. Storage is your friend

I got the lamp and floor mat in Argos, but the most important thing we bought there was an in wardrobe storage unit that allowed us to move all the furniture around in the first place to make room for the desk. You may feel that there is absolutely no space for an office space, but maybe all it takes is a bit of imagination. And IKEA. And D.I.Wine.



PicMonkey Collage

 

Where to buy
Silver desk lamp €25.99 from Argos
Micke Corner Workstation: €150 new from IKEA, also available secondhand
Brandon Office Chair: €119 from Greenwood Furniture, I bought locally for €89
Flo Flokati Black Rug: €25.99 from Argos
Heart shaped lights: bought in Penny’s: €2

Are you a sofa blogger or writer and long for a little desk space to call your own? I’d love to hear from you.
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Life with Baby Kicks

35 Comments on How to build a blogging space on a budget

  1. I love that work space, the light make
    It look so peaceful and chilled out. Look like a perfect space to blog from. I wish we had room for me to have something like this. All of our spare spaces are jammed up
    With kids things. X

    • Thanks mrs – yes it is a lovely space, am so happy with it. It’s very peaceful too – good head space for writing. Thanks for commenting x

  2. Great post, Your Ladyship ?
    You did a wonderful job of creating your own space, even before the ‘wonderful desk’. That ‘me space’ to me is more important than anything else when it comes to writing, but once that is in place then the actual physical aspect is vital.
    For me, the place to write is in or on a bed. I think this is just a long term habit because I am a maternity nurse and have spent the last 23 years in other people’s houses and quite often I stay in the spare room or nursery which often only has a bed and no desk or chairs so that is what I am used to, plus, I have a bad back so the pillows help me to prop myself comfortably.
    However, I think this may have to change soon. I have been signed by a literary agent and if my babycare book gets taken up by a publisher I want to use any advance I get to stay home and write full time.
    Last time I took time off to write I found it too tempting to have a lie in, to check Facebook, get carried away by research etc so think I need to draw a line between pleasure and work (though I love writing so much it doesn’t really count as work) and your post has got me thinking about creating an office so I can get up and ‘go to work’.
    I live on my own so can please myself how I use the space, and the dining room is also a sort of office so you have inspired me to start thinking about how I can set this up to be writer and blogger friendly, including finding the best office chair to support my back.
    I love your blog, it’s always so full of useful stuff, and so interesting, thanks,
    Sarah x

    • Thanks a million Sarah for your lovely message. Wow, you’ve been signed by a literary agent – that’s super! Well done, best of luck in getting your book placed. Sounds like you’ve had a really interesting career. The desk I think will allow me to draw the line. When I’m at it, I can put away the phone and dedicate time to writing. Kindof like being at my desk in work! Do you have your own blog, would love to check out. Nicci x

  3. I loved reading this post. Im all for budgeting and selling things to get the things I need. I also look what you have done in your space. i’m more than a bed blogger than a sofa blogger and I blog in bed but would love to start rebuiding my strength and using a desk in the future! Shame we have a lack of space!

    angela

    • Thanks Angela, I’m a total bargain hunter! I love getting just want you need on budget 🙂 I tend to rea in bed, rather than blog. But funny, when it comes to writing my book or other fiction writing, I can write in bed. Hope your health improves soon x

    • Wow you must spend a lot at Starbucks! Blogging is something I find you can do on your lap, even watching TV, but when I’m writing fiction or working on a book etc, I really need a quiet, dedicated space. Thanks for commenting.

    • Hi Michaela, we have a 15 month old but recently we put a lot of her stuff into storage, so there were no guilty worries. The sofa’s comfy too and I’ll prob end up using both, but nice to know I have a dedicated space too now 🙂

  4. Oh I think you have inspired me, I have my eye on a spot in our spare room that would be perfect so I think I might get my butt in gear and sort something out! I love what you did and some great tips!

    • Thanks Eimear – it was actually Sandra Harty’s post that originally inspired me. I’d seen a few posts where bloggers created desk spaces and I was so jealous. But not anymore, I’m just chuffed with myself now! You’ll have to do a post now if you do decide to change 🙂

  5. I love what you did with your space! What a clever idea to make the desk into the corner like that. I have been blogging on my lap too & was finding my back & arms getting sore. Now I sit at the island in my kitchen. I’d love a proper space – I have a small corner & I might steal your design! 😉 Thank you for sharing! x

    • Becky you really should. It’s still a tiny space, but working so much better now. When you’re spending hours blogging (I’d say if you added up the hours you wouldn’t believe it) no wonder we are causing our bodies pain. Let us know if you do get to squeeze a desk in!

  6. I
    Loved this post! Have emailed it to my “better half” to show that high Physio bills can be avoided If I can just make my own work area. I loved your dressing table though not sure I could have sold that lol. X

    • Exactly! That really was my thinking behind it. For less than two visits price, I have the issue sorted, longterm. Hopefully! Good luck on the persuasion. Yes it was hard to let it go, but all for a good cause. So delighted with it now, it really did pay off 😉

    • Thanks Emma- sorry for late reply, sometimes I miss comments… I’m def showing off, very proud of my writing space 🙂 Still have the neck pain a lot of days. Hopefully I’ll start making a fortune blogging and can pay for physio every week! Good luck with your own writing space, you won’t look back x

  7. Great post. I love your little workspace. I am quite jealous! And also of that gorgeous wallpaper!! I write at my dining table, which is a great place to work – it’s a conservatory so I work looking out at the garden, and it’s right by the kitchen (I’m a food blogger – this is important!!), but it’s a complete pain every evening when I have to pack up all my stuff so my family can eat their dinner!! 🙂

    • Oh I know. The kitchen can be a lovely place to work when it’s calm and quiet. But a dedicated space is the bomb. Getting through loads of work and really focused. Actually using it which I wasn’t sure I would. So I would recommend! Thanks for your lovely comments, I love the wallpaper too!

    • Oh hard to type on the phone, but I do spend most of my time – away from the desk – on it! Little fingers love little buttons on phones!

  8. What a beautiful blog space! You must be so pleased. It’s great to see people showing what you can do on a budget. as often these posts suggest dropping mad amounts of money to achieve something that isn’t half as nice. I’d love a blogging corner, but there isn’t space here so I’ll stick with bunging the laptop on a tray and sitting on the sofa.

    • Thanks! I’m all about the budget! I thought I had no room for years, but the space I’ve used is about 1m x 1m! Since I’ve set up the desk I’ve become a lot more productive – professional even. Still blog in front of the TV though.

  9. Great post! I really need to find an affordable options for where to write. It’s amazing I have been blogging for years and just find myself blogging here and there. I think finding a spot to really write would be super beneficial. I love the desk you picked out!

    • Thanks a million! Oh I hope you do find a place to write – you might not write at it always (i’m in my bed at the moment!) but it does draw you in – you might find yourself working harder! I needed it for novel writing, in front of the TV just wasn’t working for me!

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