Adding Character And Beauty To A Home Office
with Antique or Vintage Accessories
By Nancy Baughman

It is important to have a home office that is efficient and organized, but you do not
have to sacrifice beauty to get a workable office at home. I want my home office to
be stylish, fun and comfortable, since I spend at least nine to ten hours there every

Using antique or vintage accessories is an easy, inexpensive way to bring your
personal style into your home office. This can be a fun process and you do not have
to spend a fortune to make your office look fabulous. You can hunt down bargains
at local flea markets, antique stores and online auction sites such as eBay and
Yahoo. Using the online sites is a smart way to comparison shop before you go to
the stores, but keep in mind that any item purchased online will have a shipping

Lighting is a great way to add an antique or vintage touch to your home office.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to add some drama and style to an office is
with a desk light. Desk lights styles can range from the industrial Art Deco look to
the elegant Tiffany stain glass lamps. Real Tiffany lamps are extremely expensive
and difficult to find, but there are many lovely modern reproductions of their style
that are inexpensive and readily available today.

Depending on the style and size of your home office, you could also add a floor
lamp or torchiere. These lamps can add a light source and character to a room.
Some of the older floor lamps can be quite elegant with marble bases and satin
glass shades. The floor lamps from the Eames/Danish Modern era can range from
the sleek streamline look to the fun and funky style. Many have three or more
lights, and the shades are unique in size and shape. Chrome, brushed aluminum
and plastics were all used during this period to make great modern lighting.

A note of caution must be added at this point. Sometimes old lighting needs to
have the wiring checked and reworked before it is safe to use the lamp. Rewiring a
lamp is very inexpensive, so if you find a piece you really like purchasing it will
not haunt you in the future.

Pottery is a great way to bring color into a room and can be used alone or as a
vessel for plants and flowers.
Vintage pottery makers such as McCoy, Shawnee
and Haeger have all made wonderful pieces in different colors and styles. These
pottery pieces can be found at bargain prices online as well as flea markets and
antique stores. If budget is not a concern, you can go for more expensive makers
such as Roseville, Weller or Moorcroft. There are figural pieces with images of
animals and people, or lovely floral motifs with incredible detail, delicacy and
architectural styles with dramatic shapes.

Once you have your great pottery piece, why not showcase it on top of a pedestal?
A pedestal will add height and an architectural feature to a room. You can choose
to go vintage with a nice wood or pottery pedestal, or purchase a modern pedestal
made of resin. If you have several pieces that you would like to showcase, you
may want to consider shelving or a curio cabinet. A cabinet with a glass front on the
top and doors on the bottom could serve a dual purpose. You could display your
pottery pieces on the top half of the piece while storing paperwork and office
supplies on the bottom behind the closed doors.

Art is another wonderful way to add personal flair to your home office. There was
a time when trying to purchase an original painting was out of reach for most
people, but that is no longer the case. I see great original artwork at very
reasonable, even cheap, prices online, or at local flea markets and yard sales. Be
careful when purchasing original art online. There are a lot of artists with limited
talent selling modern reproductions of the works of the masters. While it would be
great to own a Rembrandt or Monet reproduction, they usually lack soul and are
horrible in quality. It is much better to purchase an unknown artist, with great
talent, than a poor imitation of a great painting.

My final tip would be to add personal pictures to your space. Add character and
distinction to the photos by putting them in vintage frames. The older wood frames
can be plain, or they can have very detailed carvings of flowers, leaves, people and
animals. Old sterling silver frames have lovely patina on the silver that comes from
years of polishing. These old sterling frames can be very expensive and are easily
dented, so make sure to check for damage before your purchase. You can choose
different size frames to compliment your office décor but keep to one finish. For
example, do not mix plain wood frames with ornate gold metal frames. The frames
should be different versions of the same look. In my frames, I keep photos of my
husband and daughter, which are placed in key areas around my office. I like to
have a reminder in my office of why I am working so hard and why I need to stop
working sometimes.

Meet the writer:

Nancy Baughman founded eBiz auctions in 2002 with her husband, Daren, as a sidelight to
her estate sales and auctioneer business. She is a Certified Personal Property Appraiser
(CPPA), a member of the Certified Appraiser’s Guild and has a degree from the University of
North Texas with a background in Business Finance. Nancy grew up working at her
grandparent’s antique store and now specializes in selling antiques, fine arts and luxury
items. She is currently writing a book about selling on eBay.
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