Published on September 13, 2019

Scratchy wall-to-wall carpeting, office-supply swivel chairs, cords galore: We’ve seen this scene before, and so, apparently, has Mandy Moore—at the This Is Us star’s Paramount office before she and Los Angeles designer Sarah Sherman Samuel set out for a redesign. First to go? The droopy orchid in the corner and faux wood furniture. But once the room was cleared out, Samuel had a real challenge on her hands. Since the space was a rental, she couldn’t just start from scratch. 

So the designer got creative, masking the stuffy workspace with extra-large rugs, graphic tapestries, and vintage furniture. You hardly even notice that the original brownish floors and floating luminescent fixtures are still there. “Having a creative space to work, relax, and have meetings in when I’m not working—an alternative to my trailer—is so lovely,” shares Moore. “It feels authentically me.” 

The design tricks Samuel used to turn this office around ring true for any rental. Here are four apartment-proof lessons we learned from the actress’s new outpost: 

Hide: Dated Carpet 

Try: A Large Area Rug

brown office furniture and a swivel chairPin It
photo courtesy of sarah sherman samuel

One of the perks of working with a designer who has recently launched a rug collection is that you’re guaranteed good-looking floors. Using the “largest area rugs I could find,” Samuel killed two birds with one stone: The giant eyesore was gone and the sandy-colored accents added a sense of warmth. 

“It feels authentically me.”—Mandy Moore

Hide: Plain White Walls

Try: Removable Wallpaper

black and white allpaper next to a red tapestryPin It
photography by tessa neustadt

Peel-and-stick to the rescue: Samuel swathed the ceiling and an adjacent wall in two very different black-and-white prints. “One easy rule of thumb when mixing designs is to keep the color consistent in both,” she says. The designer also wrapped MDF board in a wild botanical pattern and had it cut into an arch to add some architectural interest to the adjoining reception room. If Moore ever moves on to a more permanent setup, she can take the funky silhouette (and the plug-in sconces that are attached to it!) with her. 

Hide: The Sofa

Try: A Breakfast Nook

before photo of a standard officePin It
photo courtesy of sarah sherman samuel

Instead of building out a custom banquette for Moore and her colleagues to take lunch, Samuel decided to keep the extra construction to a minimum by faking a bespoke piece with a blush tufted sofa and two small bistro tables. In order to get the arrangement up to dining-chair height, she removed the legs and elevated it on a wood base. 

“One easy rule of thumb when mixing designs is to keep the color consistent in both.” —Sarah Sherman Samuel

Hide: Clutter 

Try: An Extra-Long Credenza 

pink faye toogood chair in front of a white ikea credenzaPin It
photography by tessa neustadt

The designer left her stamp with an O.G. IKEA hack: “We put two Besta units together and connected them with a piece of wood to make an extra-long credenza,” says  Samuel. This simple fix offered a lot more storage than a console table and beats looking at a metal box of drawers. To top it all off, she added two retro mushroom lamps and a set of wood coffee mugs. There’s not a sad orchid or swivel chair in sight.

This story was originally published on June 10, 2019. It has been updated with new information.

See more stories like this: 
Mandy Moore’s Wedding Florist Predicts This Bloom Will Be Everywhere in 2019
Mandy Moore Revealed Her L.A. Remodel and We’d Like to Move In Now
A First Look at Mandy Moore’s New Pasadena Home

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