Genna Cameron Photography | Office makeover on a $0 budget

Office makeover on a $0 budget

September 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I have a confession to make, guys:  organizing is an obsession of mine.
Ok, so maybe that's not so much of an obsession as perhaps a hobby.
It's also pretty well-known that I'm a frugal person.  I like to spend money on travel, business upgrades (awesome cameras & lenses!), eating at great restaurants & making memories.  I skimp on everything when I can, like canceling cable, shopping sales, and selling goods on Buy, Sell & Trade to make some extra cash.  Since Seth & I are getting married soon (on Halloween!), saving for a house, AND planning for a family, there's definitely no budget for an office upgrade.  I consider myself a pretty creative person, so I knew I'd have fun creating a brand new workspace without spending a dime!

I've always been a predominately clean person, with the exception being my car (is anyone else like that?  My house is spotless but my car is always in need of a scrub!).  My fiancé & I share an 850 sq. ft. apartment with two small dogs and two cats, so it's pretty tight.  I've reorganized every nook and cranny of our apartment over the last two years, as we have very minimal closet space.  Our second bedroom is a shared office for the both of us, with me needing a workspace and him needing an art space (he's an amazing illustrator!  His website is under construction, but if you have Facebook, look up Seth Russell Illustration!).  My portion of the office became quite a catch-all, with lots and LOTS of stuff.  Everywhere.  It drove me crazy, so I never utilized the space.

Fast forward from months of wasted office space until today.  Last night we returned from a wonderful camping trip that included no cell service, no computers, no way to reach the outside world.  And it renewed me, more than I could have ever expected.  I came home promising myself to be online less, save for business purposes of course, and instantly tackled the neglected office space.  I started knowing that I had plenty of supplies, including shelving, so I wouldn't have to spend a dime.  All it took was a few hours of time, and some creative brainstorming on what to do with the vertical space I have available.

​(Please excuse the first two photos, as they're cellphone panoramic's)


Here are some detailed shots (with my Canon 6D), just so you guys can see what I did to make a great space where I can concentrate on my amazing job!

My desk & chair were purchased from Ikea about 2 years ago.  I knew I wanted something small due to lack of space, and I LOVE the chair, but the desk is something more for the size of a teenager or older child, as it's a bit low once I'm sitting to use my laptop.  Ergonomically, it's not going to work long-term.  Once I do purchase something else, it will most definitely be something from a used furniture store or a hand-me-down that I can repaint/redecorate to make it my own :)

Sidetone:  I have WAY too many backdrops!  I see a sale in my future! :-P
I had an extra canvas in my prop closet that I used to create a memo board.  Right now it only includes items that make me of kiddos I adore, a hand-drawn birthday card from my love, and a birthday card from a past student of mine that I'm very close to.  I used twine I already had, as well as mini clothespins I already had to make a mini banner at one point.  I used E6000 super glue (I swear by that stuff!) to permanently place 5 clothespins on the bottom for reminders, bills, etc.  Plus there is still space available for post-its, etc.  I'm really happy I made this memo's a cute little area for odds & ends when it comes to paperwork.

These two shelves were given to me more than 10 years ago when I lived in Columbus.  I used them when I lived there, but haven't since.  I've always liked them, and had plans to remove the brass adornments & spray painting the shelves white.  Seth & I are hoping to move within a few months of getting married, so I'm holding off on painting them since they'll probably get dinged up in the move anyway ;)

I had to be pretty creative with the way I placed things on the shelves, since they're only 4" deep.  I love the outcome!

I have a few mini canvas prints that I take with me to wedding consultations, so I figured why not display them to add a nice pop to the office? :)

One of my prized possessions is a custom camera mug my very creative brother Tyler made for me.  I wanted to include it in my happy new space, as his creativity pushes me to think outside the box as much as he does!
Like I mentioned before, the shelves are definitely not very deep, so I figured out a way to keep the things I use most on the walls.  My business planner, my tax receipts holder, and some colored pencils (I love to doodle!), as well as some tape are a few everyday staples.

Seth had a leftover magazine holder, so my photography mags now have a space!  I placed a $1 mini chalkboard I've used for many sessions on the top shelf.  I love that I can use it to write inspiring quotes and reminders to keep myself going down a positive & confident path! :)  On the left are some important binders:  the front binder I call my education binder, which includes notes from workshops, online courses and webinars that are very helpful when I need to refresh on all things photography.
This space is also used as my home office, and the purple binder is our family budget keeper.  We recently attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it changed EVERYTHING about the way we do and think about moola.  Obviously, I highly recommend the course, even if you're single!  Anyway, the skull & anchor binder is just an extra.  I'm an office supply geek and tend to buy too much, so I put it on the shelf as a reminder that I have plenty, but also because it's so very cute and fitting of my rock & roll style ;)

I really love my new office space and I wish I would've done it sooner!!  Since this was just done today within a few hours' time, I'm sure I'll come up with some other things that will also work to help me maximize the workspace, but if any of you have any suggestions, holler at me!! :)  Also, like I did mention at the beginning of the blog, I've become quite the organizer, so if you also live in a small space and need some advice for any room, ask away! :)

I hope my Type A friends enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed the free & super fun remodel I did!  Being my own boss requires lots of discipline and learning to be extra efficient.  I know that with my amazing new space, my workflow will improve even more.  Perhaps that means I'll have more time for some extra sessions ;)

Btw, I only have a few spots left for fall sessions, so email me at to book yours!

Live, laugh, create!

Genna Cameron Photography


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