Before and After: Beige 80s Office Turns Mid-Century Library with Woven Wood Shades

Abigail Sawyer | 13 Jul 2018 | Woven Wood Shades

Some people have a gift for seeing beyond the current state of a room, and into what it could be. Mandi Johnson from Making Nice in the Midwest is certainly one of those people.

Read More: 4 Remodeling Lessons I Learned from Veteran DIYer Mandi Johnson

She took a muddy, beige, box-of-a room and was able to turn it into a polished office. In a somewhat magical way, adding furniture and built-ins made the small space feel cozier rather than cramped.

Outdated Beige Office Gets Makeover with Built-ins and Woven Wood Shades

To turn this space into the office of her dreams, Mandi covered one wall with custom built-ins and gave the rest of the room some definition with board and batten paneling. It all got painted a soft seafoam and finished out with vintage furniture, books and accessories.

before and after of beige office remodel

Window treatments were the finishing touch and injected a pop of texture. To find the right shades, Mandi ordered Woven Wood and Roman Shade samples to compare colors and textures in person.

Mandi says:

"It took me some back and forth decision making before I settled on using Woven Wood Shades in the study. Phil and I were both so pleased with how the warm texture of the shades really finished up the study, that we just sat and stared at the windows for probably about a half hour after we installed the shades! We liked it so much that we decided to put up a similar shade in the kitchen too."

We'll be sharing Mandi's kitchen makeover soon, so check back for the reveal!

woven wood shade sample swatches

After the decision was made, her daughters promptly snatched up the leftover samples to use as "sleeping mats" for their dolls. (Mandi is also well known for the mid-century dollhouse she made for her girls a few years back.)

dog sleeping on chair in renovated office

Mandi Says:

"I ended up selecting the Woven Wood Shades in the Terra Oak color, because it was a bit darker than the wall color, and the warmth of the wood tones in the shade tied in nicely with the window frames. It also contrasts nicely with the lighter wood flooring in the study. The warmth of the shade adds a nice contrast to the cooler tones of grays, metals, and glass in the room and it nicely filters the light from the windows."

bookshelves in office with open woven wood shades in a window

Mandi gave the room some dimension with vintage furniture and art. Retro lighting, chrome finishes and a curvaceous stone coffee table embrace the 80s vibe that's making its way back into the design world. Woven wood shades have always had a kitschy feel, so they tie nicely into this design aesthetic.

Mandi Says

"I really have to give a lot of heartfelt praise for the way these woven wood shades completed the coziness of the room. They also helped add a touch of boho to a space which could very easily feel pretty traditional, considering the rows of books and the crown molding details. It was just the perfect touch of coastal casual that my heart desired."

chair in corner of renovated office

Mandi is an experienced woodworker and DIYer, but the installation of these shades was easy enough for even a less-than-handy person to pull off.

Mandi Says:

"For the installation of my inside-mount shades, all I had to do was screw the metal bracket to the inside of the window frame, then use nuts to secure the shade onto those brackets. I installed three shades within 15 minutes."

closeup of inside mount shade installation

After speaking with Designer Danielle, Mandi opted for a Top-Down/Bottom-Up lift that gives her more flexibility in light control and privacy.

Mandi Says:

"When I ordered the shades, I spoke with Danielle at, who explained functionality options for each of the shade styles. For the woven wood shades I chose, there isn’t a cordless option for the top/down functionality. I decided it was worth the cords in the study in order to be able to get the top/down function. The study is at the front of our house, and sometimes we want to allow extra light in by putting the top of the shade down, while still maintaining the privacy of having the lower half of the window covered."

woman opening woven wood shades

See More Of This Space:

For more details on Mandi's Study makeover (and a special reader discount!), check out her post: The Study is Finished + New Custom Blinds.

Mandi has also been documenting her home makeover on A Beautiful Mess. You can learn more about how she created the built-in bookcases and board and batten walls over there.

Get The Look!

Mandi's study windows are covered with Woven Wood Shades in Terra Oak with no lining and a Top-Down/Bottom-Up lift.

  • About Author

    Abigail Sawyer is the Manager of Social Media Marketing for She's a home improvement junkie who is currently restoring a 1972 cottage with the help of her husband and goldendoodle, Biscuit. Walking in the footsteps of Martha Stewart, she’s happiest when she’s crafting or whipping up a new recipe; although nothing beats curling up with a good book and some Girl Scout Cookies. Follow her on twitter + instagram at @whatabigailsaw