Home office wall decor often gets left as a finishing touch. The focus, with designing a home office, tends to be on the practical. Where will the desk go? How big will the desk be? How much storage can you fit in? Is the Wifi good enough? And of course, these are important things to consider. But as well as functioning effectively, you also want your home office to be a space you want to spend time in, as you are probably going to be spending a lot of time in there. So you do need some touches that are going to make the room feel like it reflects you and your style.
Hence why home office wall decor ideas can be just as key as the perfect desk. So we asked designers to share their favorite looks and how to recreate them so you can get inspired to add a ton of personality to your workspace. From statement wallpaper than can be hung in any sized office, to impressive built-in storage systems that are every bit as practical as they are beautiful.
Home office wall decor ideas
1. Make it personal
Now we aren't talking cliche motivational quotes, but we do think choosing home office wall decor that's really personal to you can be inspiring. Maybe a piece of artwork by someone who inspires you, a portrait of someone who inspires you, or sure, if you wanted to, a quote that inspires you. Hang it above your desk so it becomes the focus of your workspace.
'I love when office walls have personal touches.' explains designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab). 'Whether it’s a piece of art that means something to the homeowner or even framed mementos, it’s neat to have points of interest that are meaningful. Plus, one should also think through storage and what might be required to maintain an efficient and organized space. That often includes open shelving or cabinetry.'
'Our client for this project, Krissy Lefebvre, is an attorney and powerhouse female in her own right. It seemed only fitting that a portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg should hang above her at-home desk. This piece is inspirational and adds an essential pop of color to the space.'
2. Go for a modern take on paneling
Perhaps when you think of wall paneling ideas, your mind goes to something quite traditional, something that would suit a period property. However, if you are looking for a way to add interest to your walls in a more modern, minimalist way, embrace the trend for slat walls. A contemporary take on wall paneling, the look can be adapted to suit all styles and works particularly well to add texture and interest to a home office without totally overwhelming the space.
'This home was fully tiled on the main level and we knew we wanted to add a lot of warmth with the millwork and create something that matched the more modern style of the home.' explains designer Katie Monkhouse (opens in new tab). 'We went with a white oak slat installation that made the office nook feel like a feature and not an afterthought. The natural oak brought so much warmth to this mostly grey and white home.'
She continues, 'I think modern home offices should be minimal in the decor. Visual noise can be really distracting. I like paneling or millwork to add interest to the walls without being too loud or busy. I also think a textural wallpaper like grasscloth would be a good choice. As for art, I would opt for oversized photography of a landscape or someone who inspires you to make a big statement but again, keep the space somewhat minimal.'
3. Add chic storage with cubby holes
And not all home office wall decor has to be purely aesthetic. Wall storage gives the perfect opportunity to add in some personality, while also providing space to store books, files, tech etc. We do always say if you have books, you have decor, they just add some much color and interest. Especially if you are a bit of a coffee table book collector.
We love how in this relatively small home office, designed by Tamsin Johnson (opens in new tab), feels both super elegant and yet very much lived in too, thanks to the slightly disordered books that fill the cubby holes. Proof that you can curate just a touch of chaos in a home office and it works.
'I think home office decor is very personal as some people look to a minimal space with clear surfaces but I find beauty and inspiration in lots of books, plants, art, and objects in a space.' explains Tamsin.
4. Or keep it simple with floating shelves
And if slightly organized chaos is not your vibe, keep it really simple with just a couple of wall shelves. In this space designed by Natalia Miyar (opens in new tab), the subtle black shelves do everything you need from home office wall decor – they add a slight amount of interest but don't overwhelm the room, and in this case, as they sit to one corner, they give an unexpected asymmetrical aspect to the room. Plus they add some handy extra storage.
If you have gone bold with your home office paint ideas, we would recommend keeping your wall decor relatively simple. Although you want your home office to feel personal to you and reflect your style, you don't want it to be a distracting space that's too visually stimulating. Minimalist wall shelves or a single large print would work best.
5. Pick one statement piece and have fun with it
Home offices get a bit of a reputation for playing it very safe when it comes to decor, after all they are very practical spaces. But that should be even more reason to have fun with what you choose to put on your walls. Sure, you have think practically when choosing a desk or picking out storage, but your wall art is where you can ditch practicality and be purely creative.
'For this particular project, our client Christina Haack wanted to take some chances with the office design and give it a coastal California feel. We came across this image of a fearless 70's skater girl and thought it was the perfect image for the workspace.' explains designer Raili Clasen (opens in new tab).
'One statement piece of art behind the desk is a fun way to add personality to the space without adding clutter. Natural woods make a great base while accenting with a colorful rug and a fun chair give it just enough personality. And as always, trees, trees, trees!' she adds.
6. Use bold colors to create contrast
Your go-to might be to keep the color palette simple and neutral in a home office, but there's so much research and color physiology to back up going bold in your workspace. Now while there are a few colors to avoid in a home office, blues and greens are proven to have both soothing and mood-boosting effects.
If color drenching your space seems daunting, be inspired by this home office and add an accent color by painting any built-in cabinetry, and then keep the rest of the walls fresh and white.
'This office was right off the entryway to our client's home and we really wanted something that made a statement.' says Kirsten Krason, co-founder of House of Jade (opens in new tab). 'The beautiful blue paint color on the cabinetry draws the eye into the room. We had a large window we couldn't move but it turned into a great opportunity to add a charming window seat. We used the blank wall behind the desk to fill with meaningful art flanked by wall sconces. This layered decorative lighting can be used in the evening or morning when harsh overhead lighting would be jarring.'
7. Make a statement with all over wallpaper
Wallpaper can work wonders in a home office, especially in a small home office. Rather than stick with just one feature wall, take the print around the whole space, it's an easy way to make a home office feel bigger as it blurs the dimensions of the room. And while it may sound distracting to be surrounded by pattern, pick the right one and it will turn your boxy home office into an inspiring, cocooning space that gives you a lift each time you sit at your desk.
Our top tip for choosing a wallpaper for your home office is to keep the color pallet limited and don't go too small and busy with the print as they could get distracting.
8. Create a calming space with minimalist pieces
'It could be easy to overlook the décor in an office, when in actual fact the office deserves as much attention as the likes of the living room or bedroom, given the vast amount of time spent there.' explains Jen & Marr, founder of Interior Fox (opens in new tab). If you have struggled with how to work at home effectively, you'll know the surroundings make a big difference.
'The space should feel inviting, calming, but most of all, inspiring. While pattern and color can be used in an office, steer away from anything that feels too chaotic or has the potential to distract you. Instead, look for a soothing palette that reflects the outdoors. As for prints, a beautiful landscape or fine line drawing works wonders at adding a little personality and style to your office, while adding to the overall scheme.'
9. Curate the perfect bookshelves
'Our client had a large collection of books and personal items that we wanted to display for their home office. They wanted these floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to give them ample storage but to also create a place to showcase their favorite things.' explains says Kirsten Krason, of this space that doubles as home library. 'We usually go dark in the office but here we decided to go lighter to make all of our accessories stand out. They needed a large desk so we opted for a small dining table instead of a typical desk.'
The key to well-curated shelving, especially if you want it to cover a whole wall as seen here, is not to pack it too full. Negative space is essential, so rather than just seeing a wall of clutter, you can easily take in each item individually. And vary the shapes and height too, to add depth – note how the color scheme here is neutral but the texture from the mix of textures, materials, and shapes adds all the interest.
10. Decorate with a classic gallery wall
Gallery walls are the perfect way to inject color and pattern into a room, but in a home office, you don't want to go overboard on covering your walls in clutter. So think small scale, just three, or four pieces that will add the interest without adding too much distraction.
This home office designed by Gunter & Co. (opens in new tab) gets it spot on. There's an odd number which immediately makes it more eye-catching, and despite the layout of the prints and mirror being balanced, it's not symmetrical. It's simple and yet considered.
And we love the inclusion of a mirror. Bringing in items you would usually find in more lived-in rooms like sofas, armchairs, floor lamps, or in this case a mirror, always makes a home office a more welcoming space.
What can you use to decorate home office walls?
'We always recommend something personal in a home office,' says Kirsten Krason, co-founder of House of Jade. 'Our clients spend a lot of time in their workspaces and it's nice to look up and see something that motivates or inspires you.'
'For some, it's black and white photos of their grandparents to remind them where they came from. For others, it's an oil painting that they picked up at a flea market as they traveled. Consider lighting as well. A picture light over a piece of art can really dress it up or a wall sconce on a large wall will be the perfect finishing touch for your office.'
Essentially, use your home office wall decor to make the space feel more like you. Use these ideas to take your home office from a space that feels purely functional, to a room that's every bit as stylish as your living room or bedroom.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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