Decorating for Writing


In many ways, I’m like my cat, Diamond. She enjoys finding different places to nap; I enjoy finding different places to write, depending on my mood and need. After my husband died, I moved into a tiny one-bedroom apartment where I had the task of finding brand new writing spots and places to put all my writing gear.

The Small Space Challenge

In my old house I had five filing cabinets. I brought only two with me and put one of them in the bedroom closet. Now I have to move clothes aside in order to open a file drawer. I spent weeks tossing out papers. Amazing what you’re willing to get rid of when you have to.


This (above) is what it looked like when I moved in. I closed off the kitchen with Ikea bookcases and made the dining room into my office. I even managed to fit in my huge executive desk. I’d come within a hair of selling it at a garage sale, but it offers so much storage — three file drawers and three smaller drawers and enough room on top for my computer, two printers and all the little desk things I love, such as my “cat” Scotch tape holder and my “cat” cup for paper clips. As you may have guessed, I have a thing for cats.  ImageThis may be the world’s smallest office, but it’s cozy. I love cozy.

Secret Nooks and Crannies

Of course, creating an office left me without a dining room. But I figured something out! I hid a folded-up card table and folding chair behind the wood screen that I use as a room divider between the office and the living room. See?Image When I set up the card table, which is a little grungy, I pretty it up with a lace table cloth from the cabinet in the background. Then I can spread out for editing and moving papers around.  And it doubles as a dining room table.  Image

Most Decadent Writing Spot

One of my favorite places for writing (see below) is in bed with my bed tray. So decadent! Usually the cat snuggles up next to me and leans her head back for a neck scratch.  I use the little red laptop that my late husband gave me a few years ago, and I love it. So light and easily movable.  I’ll write drafts of blogs here and then email them to my desktop in my “office.” Image

Under the bedroom window, below, I have a small secretary desk. There is so little room between the desk and the bed, I can hardly squeeze in. On top of the desk, left side, I’ve placed a small footstool, the one that Diamond is napping on in the first picture above. It’s one of her favorite napping spots. Here’s where I do the kind of writing I just hate — writing out checks to pay bills.

Decorating for Writing 005

When I’m sitting here, Diamond and I watch squirrels and birds. The squirrels climb up to our floor, clinging onto the stucco, like tree bark, and peek their heads around to look at us through the glass. They chatter at Diamond and flip their tails at her. She flips her tail right back at ’em.

Out on the “Catio”

Finally, there’s the 4 ft. by 12 ft. patio which my very talented son-in-law screened in securely, giving us 48 square feet more space. (That math is right, right?) What a luxury that is! It’s like getting another room.  ImageYou can see Diamond enjoying the morning sun and taking a  more up-close and personal look at the birds and squirrels. I like the “catio” for coffee, looking through research notes, reading drafts and making necessary phone calls. And watching birds and squirrels when I should be concentrating on marketing my book!

There’s Always Starbucks

When I want to see actual human beings instead of birds and squirrels — and Diamond — I go to Starbucks.  No matter how many writing spots you can find in even the smallest of living spaces, you simply cannot be a writer, especially in LA., without an occasional outing to Starbucks. It’s a great place to watch other people getting their writing done.



4 responses to “Decorating for Writing

  1. catherine Yesayan

    I loved this post. Your really turned your small space into a cozy office. I moved into a small apartment. Happy writing.

  2. Jørgen Sommer

    Dear Sylvia.
    Nice to hear from you and get some pictures and impressions of your new surroundings. I glædr me particularly much over the image with Diamond on the balcony. It enjoys views of the birds, but fortunately there are glass so it does not feel like thiol to jump.
    I understand that you often go to Starbucks. A lovely place that I remember so well from my wonderful visit with you. You also get inspiration there and probably when you join Diamond sitting on the balcony.
    I am so much that you are now in place and can begin to look a little forward. The sun will shine on you and you will have many joys and experiencing in the next several years. I am thinking. your lovely children and especially grandchildren. You should know that you are always welcome with me as long as I live in Denmark. There will always be room for you if you can overcome the flight of Atlanterhaven. As long as I live in my house with the dejliglifge overlooking the lake, the trees and the many birds will be able to give you inspiration and you will enjoy a holiday in this beautiful country regardless of the eventulet raining and not 80 degrees as in Callifornien.
    Write your Skype name if you have come on Skype. I am always happy to try to speak English with my family. It probably will not be one timew as it often was with my cousin, but much less will do it so I can get a little News from the family over there.

    • Hi Jorgen!
      I was getting a lot of spam on my blog so I cut off the comments for a while. How nice to hear from you. I have been planning to write. Hope all is well in Denmark!
      Love, Sylvia

  3. H Catherine, maybe you have some more tips for me! Sylvia

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