Since working from home has become the new normal, having a professional-looking office space is increasingly more important. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to stop doing zoom calls from your bed or have Tiger King as your virtual background. Mary Beasley with Let’s Be Frank Designs is going to show us ways to transform our home office space, how to work with items we already own, and simple design tips that can make a big impact.
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Read the Full Discussion Below
Sarah: Good morning. Good morning! We’ve been waiting all week for this show.
Glyna: I know, I’m so excited!
Sarah: I think this topic is something that’s so good for anybody that’s working from home because frankly, there are so many that are working from home, it’s the standard now, but having that professional look, that’s where things get a little fuzzy with people because they just- at first we were all like, “Hey, I’m on the fly. I’m going to work for a while on my bed and pop up my laptop, or I’m going to have some Tiger King virtual background”, and it’s just not the standard anymore. The expectation, or the bar, is getting a little higher to have a nice professional at-home office. That is exactly what we’re talking about today and we have the perfect person to talk to about it. Really excited. We’ve got Mary Beasley with us. She’s going to show us how to transform your home office, little tips to help you work with what you already have, and how just simple things can make a really big impact. So without further ado, let’s get going!
Glyna: Good morning. How is everybody doing?
Sarah: Great. Great.
Glyna: Good. I want to welcome everyone to Marketing Mix. Every week we talk about different types of digital marketing and we may have some trends, tips, and today we have an awesome interview. We’ve been so excited about this for weeks. Let’s first look at our broadcast then I’ll introduce our guest.
Sarah: Okay, perfect. All right. Do not forget every week we go live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and you can always catch the replay on Instagram and LinkedIn. And as always, there are our podcasts Marketing and a Mic, make sure you download that. And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, Fusion One Marketing. We are always putting up new videos every single week. Free resources. Definitely want to check it out.
Glyna: That’s exactly right. We are so excited to have Mary here. Mary is definitely a good friend of the show and a great friend of ours and we’re just so excited. Here’s Mary Beasley with Let’s Be Frank Designs. How are you doing Mary?
Mary Beasley: Hey Glyna, I’m fine. Thanks for having me again.
Glyna: Oh, we are so excited. It’s like Sarah said, it’s time to step up the backgrounds. We went through COVID and everybody was just trying to willy nilly it. It’s just like, wherever they were, that’s where they open their laptop. Frankly, some of my appointments have been a little scary. It’s like, wow, where are you? Why is that your background? Or why are you in bed? But it’s time to step it up. I mean, if you’re working from home, which a lot of people are, we need to have that background reflect your business and your professionalism. So, we’re excited to get started and thanks for coming on and we’ll just get going.
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So we’re going to talk a lot about that, but before we jump into it, I just want to give a good introduction for you because you are so versatile in what you do. You work with clients that anything from, they just need to refresh their space, do they need to completely redo their house or redo certain rooms. You’ll even help with clients that need to get their home ready to put it out on the market? Just very, very versatile. And so I want you to tell us a little bit about what Let’s Be Frank Designs is and what you offer.
Mary Beasley: Yes, absolutely. You’ve kind of covered everything that we do. I do a lot of interior decorating and this year more than ever, because as you said, people are home a lot and they’re staring at their space and they’re like, oh, I need help with this. I’ve been doing a lot of decorating, a lot of home offices, which we’ll talk about, but Let’s Be Frank, I have a team of four other girls and they helped me do projects. We split them up and, and we do anything from decorating to staging to get ready to sell, or we’ll just do, what I call a refresh. That’s kind of my niche market. People who don’t want to go out and spend a ton of money on new furniture. They just want to rearrange and refresh what they have and we can do that. We can go in and get a game plan for that as well. So yeah, we’ve been really busy this year. Thankful for it, too.
Sarah: That’s great. Yeah. Let me show off some of the stuff that you do. I love this one over on the left with the music theme, John Lennon, so cool.
Mary Beasley: Yes. That was fun. And those guys have another painting coming in of Paul McCartney. So, that’s going to be in there as well.
Sarah: Wow, that’s really cool.
Glyna: Tell us a little bit about those designs, I mean, is that the same house or is that a different house, different spaces, or tell us a little bit about what you did here.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. All three of those are different houses. The John Lennon one is just a family room, for a family out in Shoal Creek and they just wanted a comfortable TV room. So, that’s what we did there and they’re Beatles fans, of course. And then the middle one, that couple just bought a new home and she had no idea how to style the bookcases in their family room. We also bought new furniture. But she didn’t know how to style the bookcases. They were just like an anomaly to her. So she said, I need someone to come in and do it. And there, I used almost all of her accent pieces and just style going for her. And then the third one on the right that family had their family photos done, I ordered the portraits for them on wood canvas. Then I found those two corner pieces to like close in the photos, just to make it unique, that’s a really large wall. So, just trying to make it more unique instead of just photos, wherever in the home.
Glyna: That’s so amazing.
Sarah: For so many people, they have a lot of good stuff but they just have no idea how to organize it or how to lay it out. That’s a big thing.
Mary Beasley: Yes.
Glyna: And that is one thing that I found out with working with Mary and we’ll talk a little bit about that in just a second, what she did for us, but she helps you use things you have. So, if you have things that you’re like, I don’t have any clue how to do this, she may help you redesign or move things around and then add, as you said, the refresh is a really cool thing that everybody’s looking at right now since they’ve been looking at their four walls for a year. So, the next part is really exciting. I think this is so neat. What you’ve created here. I don’t know if you created it yourself, but a “mood board”. Well, I never heard the term before, but wow it can make an impact and really help this process out. So, tell me kind of like what is a mood board? What’s the purpose of one and how you use it?
Mary Beasley: Okay. Yeah. A mood board or a lot of people just call them design boards, but I use them to inspire and kind of manage the ideas that come up. It just gives the client a visual of what we’re going to do or what the plan is. It’s a digital two-dimensional vision as well. If you’re not a visual person, it makes it easier for you to see what’s going to happen in the room. It’s a board that I could pull my own pieces of furniture from. If I find pictures online, I can pull those furniture pieces together and create them in the room and I can collaborate with my employees and I can collaborate with the client as well. So, let’s say I put the colors they like and the sofa they like in the room, and then I add my own ideas for chairs and rugs and curtains, but then the client can tell me, “I’m really not a fan of that chair, can we change it out for something else?” And the answer is “absolutely”. That’s the purpose of a mood board, is we can change it all, rearrange. And it just gives the client an idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s all put together.
Sarah: Yes. And you recently did this with Glyna. And so this is kind of, I love this. So what you’re talking about is the mood board and then the other image is seeing it in the space. So it’s really, really cool I love what you did.
Mary Beasley: Thank you. Yeah. You can see in that mood board, it gave her an idea of the colors I wanted to bring in, curtain panels and that sort of thing, and the lighting she actually already had. So, I just pulled off of that. And then the other picture on the right there is the actual finished product. So you can tell, I try to go with exactly what you see in the design board. We try to meet that.
Sarah: So pretty. So, how do you create a mood board? Let’s show some others. Now, this is something that you created based on certain styles for office spaces.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. As you guys said home office is very important right now, especially this year. A lot of people are going to be working from home for the rest of their time, I guess, I don’t know. But these, I create in an app called Canva. You can also use Photoshop for this, but first of all, I consult with a client and do kind of a question-answer process with them, what colors they like, what idea they have for the room. And then Canva allows me to select my own pictures and put them in the app, in the room actually. And then I can rearrange the furniture as I see fit. It just really showcases the design plan. After I send this to the client and they say, yeah, I love this. This is how I want it to look. Then I can send them a digital package of the email links of where to purchase those items or the store where to go to find them. And then I also send them information, like the size of curtains, the length of the curtains you need, the colors exactly and that sort of thing. So, they can do it for themselves after that point.
Glyna: I must say, I was one of those people that, if I see something, I can tell you if I like it, but I have no idea where to begin. So, when she started the process with us, it was so cool that she could come and take a picture of our space and then just pop different things in. And I’d be like, “Hmm”, and she, like, popped different pictures in, you like this one, or you like this one. Because she also did our living room and helped us out there. But it was so amazing for a person like me who has no idea where to even begin. And these mood boards, it’s so funny because everybody that knows me knows I like a little sparkle, a little, I like really bold and wild colors. And after we got done, there were colors that I would have never chosen, probably, if she would have said, what colors do you think we should choose? And I wouldn’t have chosen any of these, but when it was all done and working with the mood board and working with Mary, I was just in love with it. It just turned out. So, I think these mood boards are kind of like a foolproof way of getting the design idea together before you go and purchase all of this stuff. So, it really goes in line. And the other thing was, she’s like, here’s all the links. If you want to just go buy the stuff, go ahead and do it. I mean, she did all the work for us, and then what’s even better, she came in and put everything together. I was just so excited. I still am about how it came out so she can come and help me put it together or you can do it yourself. Anyway, I could go on and on and on, but these mood boards are the thing to be using. And working with Mary, I was kind of nervous because when you think about getting a decorator, I was like, oh my gosh, it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg. At first, I was like, how much is that? How much is that? And after a while you realize that Mary’s there for … She is shopping for you. So she’s making sure she’s getting the best bargain. So anyway, I’m sorry I could go on and on and on, but I love what she did and it’s so awesome.
Sarah: Well, I wanted to share this. So, this is what’s really neat, this is your website letsbefrankdesigns.com. So, if people are thinking, I just need the inspiration. I just need the designer’s eye for what I need to do. You can build these mood boards or these design boards and they can just go ahead and purchase it. And you give them exactly what they need already laid out. And like you said, you can include the links. So you pretty much just give them this, the virtual space and they can just go purchase the items. It’s like, that’s so convenient and great. Cause that’s really what it’s about. We don’t know don’t have an eye for it,
Mary Beasley: Right. Exactly. Yeah. You can just go on my website now and purchase this package, it’s actually kind of a package deal. I’ll consult with you over the phone or over FaceTime for 30 minutes and we talk about what you want in a room, first of all, what room you want to do and what you want in the room and your colors and fabrics you like and things that you absolutely do not like, and that sort of thing. And then I build the mood board for you based on what you tell me you want. People even share their Pinterest pages with me and that gives me more of an idea of their style, what they like. And then I build the board and send the digital file to them. And if they like everything in it, then I will send all the links to those products and where to shop, and what sizes to get. It’s all just kind of a digital package that they get. And sometimes that’s all you need and maybe you just need to be able to see the vision and see what’s going to go where, and then you can do it yourself. And this also allows me to work with people outside of the Birmingham area because people all over the country can purchase one of these packages and it’s all virtual. So, it allows me to reach people farther away and in the market.
Glyna: Yeah. Even if you just want to do one space at a time. So you go purchase your mood board for your office and do that. Doing a whole house is probably a lot more fun and you can do it all at one time. But if you just have certain spaces, you want to work on $199 and you get all of that. That is a huge bargain. So, we talked about the mood boards. Those are some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. So, today we talk about marketing and digital marketing. Then this is really kind of digital marketing because we’re on Zoom. People are live-streaming and they really need to be thinking about what’s behind them. So why do you think that having a professional background is important these days?
Mary Beasley: Well, the biggest thing is that if you’re attending a meeting in a professional setting or you’ve been invited to speak on a live video call, maybe what you have to say is very important. So, you want your audience to be listening to you and not be distracted by what’s going on in the background or who’s in the background. So I think more important today than ever is to have a professional setting. You want your clients to listen to what you have to say and a lot of times your background can either help or hinder that. It kind of builds our credibility too. If you have a professional background going on, that builds your credibility and your audience will listen to what you have to say.
Sarah: It’s so true. I think we’ve collectively seen it all. All the things that you just don’t want to happen: bad lighting, no eye contact, bad posture, people in the background. Oh my gosh. Well, it just cracks me up, but it’s like …
Glyna: What do we call these, fails? Zoom-fails?
Sarah: This is like a virtual background fail. People like, oh, I’m going to do a fun and crazy background. And it’s like, no.
Glyna: They are fun, but not professional.
Sarah: And we talked about this too. It’s the virtual backgrounds. Unless you’ve just nailed it with the lighting, it could cut off your hair, cut off part of your head. It doesn’t really give you the best look.
Glyna: It really doesn’t. And if you move a certain way, it looks like you’re popping out of, you have to really sit very, very still, which I’m horrible at obviously. So, why not just do something that’s permanently there and you don’t have to worry about that. That’s what I love. I would love … and Mary’s going to help us or help me for sure. I want to have a set up to where I can sit down here and I’m ready to go. I don’t have to worry about creating backgrounds, how it looks, all that stuff. And sometimes some meetings, like ours are cool, we’ve got some really cool backgrounds, but some meetings, it may be overwhelming for people to see that like our bright colors or a bold “Fusion One Marketing”, “Digital Marketing” all over the background. You may not want to be so in their face because I’d probably turning the background on and off, depending on what meeting I’m at.
Sarah: Yeah. That’s so true. How often is it that you’re like, what’s going on below the desk? Because you’re in this little rectangle space where the camera is and this one that you sent us with this guy, this news anchor at the top is absolutely hilarious. What happened on this one?
Mary Beasley: That is Will Reeve. He’s a news anchor for CBS. I believe he’s actually Christopher Reeve’s son. But he got caught on camera, a live shot of wearing no pants. So he didn’t adjust his camera, his webcam to the right position. So he looked great from the chest up. But he wouldn’t want us to be looking at his lap. I don’t think.
Sarah: Oh my gosh.
Mary Beasley: We can see where a lot of people just put up their office in a makeshift fashion. Like just wherever they can get a spot, but you’re still going to have a lot going on behind you and having distractions.
Sarah: Yes. That’s so funny. Like toys and junk everywhere.
Glyna: Oh my gosh. It has really helped with some of the humor in the last year. All these Zoom things, people come on, or they forget that they’re still on and they stand up and they don’t have pants on or whatever. Yeah. The backgrounds, we need to think about this a little bit more.
Sarah: Yeah. Oh gosh. Okay. So let’s move on to design tips. This is sort of the meat of it all. So, what would you say are some tips that you could give us on creating a professional office space?
Mary Beasley: Okay. I think number one would just be mindful of what’s going on behind you and what your audience is seeing. You have this view here of where your face is going to be so you need to set up what’s going on behind you there to be more professional. Like mine, I know mine is not perfect, but I have some texture back there with the lamp and then a picture frame, my printer’s there, of course, because this is my real office. But if you just put in some decorative items, it may be a live plant, like I have, it just gives life to the space and it makes it seem more inviting. And it’s like a welcome to the people who are watching or seeing your space. The second thing is, and you guys talk about this a lot, is making your camera at eye level. You also want to be about three feet away from your background, three feet or more away from your background. And then the lighting is so important. You guys have talked about this before. Natural light is best. So, if you can put yourself in front of a window or have a lamp in front of you and you can see my lamp back there is not turned on because when I do turn it on, it puts this giant light back here and it just makes me look weird. Like I’m like I have an aura around me. And then another thing is, try not to move a lot, Glyna, it’s hard for me too, because I have a swivel chair and I want to do this the whole time but that is so distracting. So, try not to move as much as you can. I think that’s very important. And like the level of your camera, make sure it’s not looking up or your leaned back like you’re in a dentist chair because it’s not an attractive view either.
Glyna: It’s hard. It’s hard for me to sit here.
Sarah: We always laugh about this because we all have different mannerisms. I have a problem with talking with my hands too much. And I really try to … it’s almost like I just want to tie them down to my desk. And then we also have Kelsi, she also talks about how she’ll slowly start sinking.
Glyna: I’m the drinker. I have a drink with me all the way through my meetings or lives.
Sarah: So let’s talk about some of your before and after. These are crazy, crazy good. Let’s talk about this.
Glyna: Oh my God. This is just beyond.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. This is a basement office area. The couple both working from home needed office space. You can see it on the left, it’s just a drab cold basement office. And you can even see the paint color samples on the wall that we were choosing from, but we just made it a lot more fun and inviting, and now they don’t feel so bad about going to work in the mornings because they have a real space put up. So, we just did identical spaces, two of the same desk, two of the same chairs. It turned out really good.
Sarah: I love those painted white arches! I don’t even know how to word it correctly, but how you put the two-tone paint colors on there.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. That white just created more light, more reflection for them when they are doing Zoom calls. If the dark wall was in front of the desk, which is be a little too dark.
Glyna: That’s cool.
Sarah: That is. I think we’ve got another one here.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. This one…It’s not a whole lot different. We just wanted it to look a little more professional. So they decided to do some remodeling and we added the coffered ceilings and the built-in bookshelves. We still got a little bit to go, like a rug for that area would cool it down a little bit. The floors are a little too dark. So we’ll put in a rug and some lighting as well.
Sarah: I think we’ve got one more. This one. You kind of talking about how you can lighten up the space?
Mary Beasley: Yeah. This is not mine, of course, but I just want to show this because this is a lawyer and just because she goes to a courtroom for work, doesn’t mean her home office should look like one. I mean it’s just really dark and drab. So just lighting it up with lighter walls and light curtains and neutral-colored chairs just makes a huge difference.
Sarah: That’s amazing.
Glyna: Yeah, it really is. And you make a good point. You want to create an office or a space that makes you feel good to walk into it. Not like, okay, all I’ve got is this little chair sitting over here, I have to move all this crap out of the way and make it work. A nice space makes you feel so good. And now I’m excited. I will be going to sign up for my mood board for my whole office. Let’s look at the next ones. You have some themed office spaces, which is really kind of cool. So, how did you come up with these kinds of things?
Mary Beasley: Yeah, this one makes me want to say it’s lady-like. You know, a girly office, but it’s just really light and airy with the white desk, the white credenza, the white lamps, and then just touches of gold throughout. Isn’t that inviting to get to work there every day? Yeah.
Sarah: Beautiful. And this one is sort of for the more masculine look.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. For the guys. Just a little more dark and moody, different textures. We have a black leather chair and then you have the wood tone desk. So, you still have some light with the bookcases, but it just is inviting for someone to work there too.
Sarah: Hmm(affirmative). I love this next one.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. This was my favorite one because rustic is kind of my style. I love that cowhide rug, but this is kind of a neutral office. It could be a man or a woman’s office, I think. Actually, this one would be great for staging a home for real estate. Just kind of gender-neutral, but still very textured, very dimensional and it makes you want to go to work there.
Sarah: Hm-mm(affirmative) And I like this gallery concept too. And I think you had said something about if you talk with your hands. Maybe sometimes the gallery is a good thing behind you. I don’t know. Maybe not.
Mary Beasley: Yes it is. Because if you’re talking with your hands, you’re kind of busy. And so the background of this with more dimension would take focus away from you a little bit. But I put these two pictures because one of them is a lot less busy than the other. The picture on the left that you see, it’s very streamlined, there’s still a lot of dimension and a lot going on, but it’s just more focused in one area. The larger gallery row wall on the right is a little too busy. It’s got too much going on too. You don’t want your audience to be wondering what each one of those pictures is instead of listening to what you have to say.
Sarah: Well, you’re right. It’s like the pictures are so far apart that you’re right, it almost becomes … you don’t know where to look.
Mary Beasley: Right.
Glyna: Well, yeah. As she said, I’m more interested in what’s going on back there. What’s in that picture? What’s in that picture? Well, cool thing is, my background, it’s all right, but again, we’re working from home and most people don’t have two and three offices in there. They have bedrooms, and they turn the bedrooms into offices and it’s time for me to figure out something that looks Mary-worthy.
Sarah: Mary-worthy, I love it. So, you did something so cool, which is, you took our pictures. We took pictures and sent them to you of what our current office space looks like. And then you’re able to do sort of this virtual placement of different design ideas. So I want to show off what you did. This is, I say before, but this is Glyna’s office.
Glyna: With junk and without.
Sarah: And then you came to her with four different ideas. So, tell us, as we’re showing this, what was sort of your thought process behind piecing this together?
Mary Beasley: Well, obviously, Glyna has those doors behind her and she positioned her desk in the right place in front of a window and there’s really no other option but to have those doors back there. So, I was just trying to think of ideas to hide those doors and Glyna already has a screen up there, I think. So, I was trying to find a screen with some shelves so we could add some texture and just arrange some little knickknacks on there just to make it a little more professional. And then, the picture on the right, I really loved that bookshelf is a free-standing shelf and it’s from Ikea and it’s turned the wrong way in the photo. I couldn’t get it lined up correctly, but you could put something like that, just in front of those closet doors. So they are still functional, but Glyna has a nice background behind her.
Sarah: That’s so cool. And then here’s a couple more that you shared. I love the barn doors, or I don’t know if that’s what that’s called.
Mary Beasley: Yeah. Isn’t that cool? Those are barn doors, but it’s actually curtain panels.
Glyna: I wondered! I thought, well, I don’t have room to open a barn door!
Mary Beasley: I know. But those are curtain panels and they have several online to choose from and they get rave reviews, you guys, I thought that these were going to look cheap and they’re not going to look like the picture, but the reviews from those curtain panels are amazing. So Glyna, you can just hang a curtain rod above those closet doors and then hang the curtains in front. So it looks like other doors.
Glyna: Oh my gosh. Well when I saw that, I was like, that is so cool, but how am I going to open it?
Mary Beasley: And then another one is just another screen like you have now just styled a little differently with some books and knickknacks and some live greenery. I think that’s important.
Sarah: Yeah. I thought that same thing. I thought, wow, that’s so cool. But how would you open it? Probably the fact that it’s curtains, that’s incredible!
Mary Beasley: I’ll send you the link.
Sarah: It’s amazing. All right. So here’s my before. And if you look closely, I’ve got about 18 holes in the wall because I don’t know how to hang stuff without making several mistakes, but this is my before and I love your ideas of what to do after. That’s so cool. I love the light fixture and that plant hanging down. Oh my gosh. So what was your thoughts behind putting this together, Mary?
Mary Beasley: Well, you kind of have a small space there and you also have those closet doors and the door going out of the room. So I wanted to bring the focus into that small wall. And earlier I talked about having three to six feet behind you. So, in the first picture, I put the light fixture there just to add more texture. If there was a way to angle, your camera where it would bring a light fixture in focus, that would be cool. And then just two neat pieces of art and also put the two chairs there. Those may not be practical for that space for you to open the doors, but you could bring them in a little bit. And it just makes that setting behind you look a little more professional and put together. Again, I have a live plant in that one. Then, in the picture on the right, these are all the things that I think should be in the background. You have a live plant and this one happens to be hanging, there’s another small plant on the cabinet if you can see that. You also have a stack of books and a lamp and a neat piece of art and then a cabinet. I think those are all cool ideas to have in your background and those particularly fit in that space perfectly. You have a nice pop of color, some live plants. I think you should do that. I’m going to send you all those links to buy that. I think it looks so cool!
Sarah: I know. No, I’m in love with it. I think it’s so cool. And the way that you grouped it together, makes perfect sense.
Mary Beasley: Thanks.
Glyna: It’s like, all right, I’m ready. Yeah. We’ll be talking after this. So exciting! But I want the people to understand that she can put those virtual things together like that for you. And as you said, that helps you. You can work with people anywhere, so, wow. That’s just awesome.
Sarah: It’s amazing. So before we end this, we need to make sure that everybody’s got your contact information below. If you want to reach out to Mary, there she is. Let’s Be Frank Designs and you can check out her website and poke around there and see the gallery of some of the work that she’s done. And you can reach out to her at Mary@LetsBeFrankDesigns.com.
Glyna: Do you have any things that we maybe haven’t covered that you want to bring up before we let everybody go?
Mary Beasley: I don’t think so. I think we’ve covered pretty much everything. I just wanted to say thank you to Glyna and her team because you guys created my website for me and put that shopping aspect on there where people can go online and buy the design board. So, thank you for doing all that. It looks great. I’m so happy with the way the website turned out. Thank you for allowing me to come on today and talk to your viewers. I hope everybody reaches out to me and I’ll do a design mood board for them.
Glyna: Yes, exactly and she can do it for any room! So, it doesn’t just have to be your Zoom background or your office. It can be any room of your house. So, make sure you go on her website and just go to the shop button and it’s right there. It’s really easy to pick out.
Glyna: We really want to thank everybody for joining us today. Mary, this was so fun. I think everybody will be getting some mood boards going and thanks for tuning in. As always, we’ll be back next Friday at 8:00 AM for another Marketing Mix. So until then, hope you have a great week!
Mary Beasley: Bye!
Sarah: See you!