You can have a home office that’s both put-together and practical. Refresh your WFH space with our home office design ideas.
With remote work becoming the new norm, you may be taking a long, hard look at your improvised home office space and thinking it’s time for an upgrade. There’s no reason your workspace can’t be as inviting as the rest of your home — and let’s be honest, you’d much rather use your actual office space as a Zoom backdrop vs. a digital, pre-designed one.
Use these tips to streamline and elevate your work area without overwhelming your living space.
The easiest way to designate a space for a home office is to literally find a separate area for it within your home layout.
Reclaim a rarely-used walk-in closet for your new workspace, aka what the cool kids are calling a “cloffice.” Make it official with a built-in desk, especially one that matches your current flooring. Closet workstations can be easily closed up at the end of the work day — out of sight and out of mind.
Have fun with this Narnia-style closet office by hanging a bold patterned wallpaper that you may hesitate to hang in a space that is always visible. Small spaces are more fun for experimenting, after all!
No extra closet? How about running a slim desk along the length of an unused wall for an office nook and functional storage? (This can double as a reading nook when you’re OOO.)
Install a couple of bookshelves to flank your desk and install sliding doors in front of your nook to close the space up at night. Consider fluted wood doors that frame your workspace when open and become a wall feature when closed. To introduce natural light to your space, opt for French doors or thin screens that act as room dividers.
A home office shouldn’t throw the interior design of a small space off-kilter. With some rearranging and a few additions, your office space can be an extension of your current living area, anchoring and complementing your style.
Let your office space blend with your home’s minimal color scheme by keeping your furniture neutral. Neutral or white furniture is soothing, especially when paired with white walls. White paint can make a shared office and living room feel grander while letting your office furniture blend in with the walls for a uniform and uncluttered design.
However, you can apply this minimalist approach to color, too, if you choose a monochrome color palette for the office area and your desk chair. For instance, your sage upholstered office chair will slightly recede into the background of your rainforest green walls. The effect is a big boost of color without overshadowing the rest of the space.
High-quality paint or charming wallpaper that works with your decor creates a home office space that feels like it belongs:
Celebrate both your home and work personas with the art you combine for a gallery wall over your desk. A collection of favorite photos can give your workday added inspiration and seamlessly flow into living room entertainment in the evening.
Use Spoak’s gallery wall tool in the design suite to experiment with the placement of your frames before pulling out the hammer and nails.
Anchor your small home office with a rug that’s soft enough for lazy Saturday mornings but low-pile enough to accommodate a rolling office chair. Choose a rug with a checked pattern to liven up a traditional space of neutral colors, or use faux cowhide to complement the rustic wood desk. To bring in a dash of the boho aesthetic, jute rugs add texture and can help mask distracting sounds.
Aim for a rug that accommodates your desk and office chair and extends at least 15 in. farther to define the space.
If you don’t have a dedicated space for a desk, create one along an empty wall in your living room or dining room that serves as a buffet or console after hours. Adding a desk between bookcases or built-ins, painted the same color to look like part of your original cabinetry, lets a TV wall function as a home office during the day. When you tuck your laptop into the drawer beneath the console, you are ready to transition from the workday to relaxing.
A storage piece, like a vintage secretary cabinet turned home bar, can function as a desk when the drop-down writing surface is open. When it’s time to entertain, close your laptop at the desk and enjoy the bar, with your plush club-style desk chair becoming extra seating for the dining room. *chef’s kiss*
The ultimate home office desk chair is one that is so chic and so comfortable that it can simply be turned toward the sofa in the evening and become the perfect seat for a guest.
Look for sophisticated mid-century shapes that are ergonomic for working all day while offering high style — like an Eames chair. Vintage pieces were made to work well and last a long time: “Buying used” isn’t a compromise but an investment in quality seating.
A fast way to banish any cubicle vibe is to set it up near a window for natural lighting. Further ornament your home office by treating yourself to a beautiful overhead light fixture: A Sputnik-style chandelier combined with a mid-century conical shade floor lamp will look stunning with your Eames chair.
Using an unexpected whimsical mushroom table lamp instead of a desk lamp will also be a welcome treat after years of office fluorescents (plus, it will make you feel like you’re working in a magical garden).
Bringing a patio tree or large ficus into your living room/office space can help to transition you home from work to play. Plants connect us to the world outside and increase feelings of wellness while adding textural layers to your decor. It’s a bonus that they look really good, too.
That empty corner near your desk may be the best place to set a plant, like a fiddle leaf fig, that adds visual height to the room (up to 10 feet!).
Modern home offices are easier than ever to blend with the rest of your decor due to the constant streamlining of technology.
Purging your small office of unnecessary wires, tech gear, and paperwork is essential to keep the space feeling as large as possible. Attach a wire cord-keeping basket to the bottom and back of your office desk for holding excess lengths of device cords.
Go wireless with your monitor, keyboard, and mouse — all of which can be kept out of sight and tucked away under a sleek monitor riser that matches your desk.
If you need a dry-erase board for your daily agenda, hang a clear version over your desk that lets the pattern of your wallpaper show through. Using chalkboard paint on the wall behind your desk is another way to make quick notes that wipe away each evening. We won’t judge you if you start to daydream and doodle!
Small offices may benefit from today’s paperless culture, but if you still need storage for hard copies, try hiding them in decorative baskets that look right at home on open shelving or in under-bench storage compartments. Conceal hanging files in a file cabinet designed to mimic the look of a vintage flat filing system with brass hardware and trim for a classy touch.
Implementing any or all of these ideas can make any office space more functional. From the smallest of corner workspaces to separate home office rooms, there’s no reason to feel uninspired and uncomfortable at your desk.
Photo Credit: (Left) Eye Swoon
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