How Color Blocking Can Elevate Your Home Office

Stephen & David St. Russell transform a guest room into a stunning home office.

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If you’re beginning year three of working remotely, you’ve had enough time to cycle through pretty much every conceivable work space in our home. Your couch, dining room table and maybe even your bed have had a turn playing the role of ‘home office.’ At this point it will take something more dramatic, such as moving into a new house or taking on a DIY project, to create an inspiring new workspace. 

Moving wasn’t an option for Stephen and David St. Russell. The couple, an architectural designer and sales consultant, spent years renovating a completely gutted 1893 Boston Victorian. Turning it into their dream home has been a wild success, but years of remote work has the Renovation Husbands (as they’re known on Instagram, their blog and beyond) reconsidering one room in particular. 

“We decided to take our under-utilized guest room and create space for ourselves—a new workspace!” The Renovation Husbands, who work as a design-and-build team, weren’t content to slide a new desk into the room and call it a day. “The wall we were interested in using for our desk felt too large, so we are utilizing color blocking to bring down the scale and create a sense of place.”

That idea had the Renovation Husbands searching for the perfect shade of Benjamin Moore to anchor the space. Which of the stunning colors did they choose? And how can you implement the same strategies to revamp your own space? 

Follow along to see how Stephen and David St. Russell turned their concept into a functional and stylish home office.

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Step 1: Design and Scale Your Blocks

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The concept of color blocking is pretty self-explanatory. It’s all about blocking off a segment of a room by painting it a different color (or, as in this case, colors.) Therefore, the first step is deciding what you want to highlight with color blocking, and to what end you’re using the technique. 

For instance, the Renovation Husbands are incorporating it to frame their desk and create a dedicated workspace in their guest room. Every decision that follows is made with that mission in mind, but they acknowledge that you might have a different goal in mind for your project.

“Size it to what you are trying to highlight or encompass. Make sure to consider what art, shelving, or accessories you may want to showcase. Remember these do not have to be blocks at all, and can be any shape or size!”

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Step 2: Choose Your Colors

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“When we initially chose the base color for this room we wanted it to be an ever-so-subtle pink.” The Renovation Husbands went with Benjamin Moore’s A La Mode, which provided the perfect background for adding bold pinks as accessories and accents. The choice paid off during the latest project. “Now, it also allows our color blocking to stand out and act as an anchor for our new work space.” 

So what did the Renovation Husbands choose for the color blocks? “We ultimately found two perfect colors to play against A La Mode: Gobi Desert, a darker more saturated pink to frame the desk, while an offset of Pampas Grass softens the edge and allows for an area to feature some of our favorite art.”

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Step 3: Tape Your Design

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“This step is crucial in helping you decide the scale of your color blocks. Moving tape around is so much easier than repainting! Take as much time as you need here to make sure that you get it right. If you feel unsure, step away for a bit and come back later!”

Think of this step as a pencil sketch. Once you’re satisfied with the dimensions of your blocks, you’ll be ready to break out the Benjamin Moore and paint your masterpiece.

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Step 4: Paint!

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Finally, the fun part. Fill in those color blocks with two coats of Benjamin Moore. While you can’t go wrong with any Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint, the Renovation Husbands favor a flat finish on their walls. “The flat finish reflects light in a way that increases the depth of color, we just love it.”

As for the technical aspect of painting, you’ll want to plan out in advance what block to paint first to make sure you get the layering right. The Renovation Husbands are also quick to point out that you may need to paint and re-tape to get the effect right. Whatever it takes to keep the edges of your color blocks clean and sharp. 

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Step 5: Style Your Space

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Be sure to remove the tape within 12 hours of putting it up. After the tape is off and the paint is dry, you’ll be ready to style the space anchored by the color blocks. For the Renovation Husbands, this meant bringing in the desk and all the other accessories for the work station. It all comes together to create an eye-catching and inspiring workspace within the room. 

“In some ways, it feels like we have just gained an entirely new room in our home. This room now acts as both a guest room and an office, and it feels more cohesive than ever!”

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The idea of creating a cohesive color palette for a room might seem daunting, but you don’t need to have professional design experience or more than a 100,000 Instagram followers to develop a winning color scheme.

“The Benjamin Moore website offers many color palette ideas and tools to help you with this step if you get stuck,” St. Russell explains. “Choose a palette that fits with your design scheme or whatever makes you happy. Have fun!” 

Color blocking is an approachable DIY project that can still radically transform a space. All you need to revamp a room is a concept, a color palette and some paint from Benjamin Moore. Start looking through shades and sheens—you might just find some inspiration for your next project.

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