Designer Brittany Friebe had her work cut out for her when redesigning Made by Mary’s office in Bluffdale, Utah. The jewelry brand had one clear directive for the Canvas House Design founder: change the entire aesthetic from top to bottom.
“It was just your standard commercial office space from the ‘90s, and it clearly hadn’t been updated since,” Friebe shares. “The Made by Mary team really wanted a space that would reflect their brand aesthetic and inspire their growing team — basically the exact opposite of what was there before.”
Friebe ultimately decided to throw out the “office design” rulebook and create a space centered on comfort, creativity, and soul — more like a stylish yet functional home than your traditional office. Find the jaw-dropping before-and-after below, plus Friebe’s expert tips on designing an inviting office that’s anything but sterile.
Update Your Canvas
Friebe’s first order of business was to update the basics: doors, floors, ceiling, and paint. She ripped out the old brown carpet and installed warm but durable luxury vinyl plank flooring, and mirrored the new look with brand-new white ceiling tiles. She also swapped out the dated oak doors for a modern, matte black upgrade, and gave the entire space a coat of bright white paint. “We were on a strict budget, so these affordable yet impactful aesthetic updates were a game-changer,” she explains.
Add Plenty of Functional Storage
Next, Friebe turned her attention to the storage space, or lack thereof. “In order for this space to really feel cozy and inviting, I needed to be able to hide away workspace clutter, like the water cooler, office supplies, kitchen snacks, and the like,” she explains. She ultimately went with two storage built-ins in the break room and the seating area using IKEA Sektion cabinets, Semihandmade DIY Slab fronts, SSS Beaded fronts, and our floating shelves. “They feel custom without the price tag; I love the way they turned out.”
Don’t Sleep on Statement Lighting
Instead of sticking with the fluorescent overhead lighting common in commercial offices, Friebe added statement lighting in the form of sconces, ceiling pendants, sculptural table lamps, and floor lamps throughout the space. “These design details, like the woven sconces over the floating shelves, really added to the ambiance and made the space feel inviting and homey,” she notes.
Textiles, Textiles, and More Textiles
Like a home, the office space is brimming with warm textiles, including rugs, throw pillows, woven storage baskets, and more. I’m primarily a residential designer, so I added the sort of beautiful textiles that you would normally find in a home rather than an office,” she notes. “In addition to warming the space up, these pieces added personality and really brought the design together.”
Invest in Non-Functional Deco
Rather than displaying strictly functional items like a stapler, three-hole punch, and extra printer paper, Friebe added purely decorative, aesthetic knick-knacks throughout the space. “We went with a high-low mix of vases, coffee table books, bowls, artwork, paper weights, and the like,” she explains. “I wanted the space to feel lived-in and properly decorated — faux and real plants and flowers were the final touch.”
Source Cozy yet Hard-Wearing Furniture
True to form, comfort was top of mind for Friebe when sourcing furniture for the space. But, she also made sure to select durable, easy-to-clean upholstery that would stand the test of time. “I wanted to use pieces that you would find in a house, but I went with hard-wearing fabrics like leather to ensure they’d withstand day-to-day use.” As for the conference rooms and meeting areas, she went with wood tables and chairs for a more homey look. “They almost feel like dining rooms, in a sense, which I love,” she adds.
Dress Up the Windows
Friebe even added proper window treatments throughout the office, specifically woven blinds from Select Blinds. “The old blinds were metal, crooked, broken, and in desperate need of an update,” she notes. “We went with something woven to add some warmth to the space, and even added them to the interior windows adjoining offices for added privacy.”