'Minimalism Really Helps Improve Your Concentration' — 5 Tricks to Pare Back Your Home Office Set-Up

Experts share how to set up a minimalist home office, and ensure your WFH works for you, not against you

Large modern home office featuring a dark beige central desk with drawers on gray area rug, glass front cabinet with minimal against the wall
(Image credit: Life Created Photography for Living with Lolo)

It's not uncommon to dream of a minimal home office look. However, when you are up to your eyeballs in paperwork, and cables, it can seem pretty far from reality – no matter how organized your home office may be. Whether you WFH every day or just a couple of days a week, this space is part of the home's landscape. So although you might have put off a makeover for the past 10 years, now, that will not do.

So let's turn our design attention here, to take minimalism to our home offices. We asked designers how to achieve a clutter-free WFH space where the vibes of productivity will be off the chain. This is what to do.

1. Favor steamlined built-ins

WFH spot in space with white walls, window sill and black spindle wishbone chair

(Image credit: Tim Lenz Photography for Barrett Oswald Designs)

A minimal streamlined home office needs next-level storage solutions. Although some might steer away from adding more to the bones of a room, with built-in storage for example, it can actually be a good move to trick the eye and make a home office space feel bigger and more open.

'Built-ins can often make a space look larger instead of smaller,' says Barrett Oswald, principal designer and founder of Barrett Oswald Designs 'By building in a desk with enclosed storage, you eliminate the need for multiple furniture pieces creating a more streamlined design.' Especially in a minimal and very small home office, this can open doors and make room for design interest.

2. 'Outfit' unexpected places for miscellaneous items

Corner home office space with open custom shelving, nature-inspired wallpaper, chair and hints of blue.

(Image credit: Nicole Dianne Photography for Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors)

Open shelving is to be very honest, a pretty major thing to avoid in a home office, especially if you want to 'visually' clear the clutter for a minimal aesthetic. However, even minimalists can work around this popular storage option. People in creative fields might need a lot of 'things' to hand, at any given moment, which if exposed would be the pure definition of clutter. Barrett has the answer: 'Get creative! If you have a bookcase, outfit a row with chic baskets to hold smaller, miscellaneous items for easy access. Also, focus on functionality by concealing larger items such as printers inside a built-in cabinet.' Even small desks with drawers might be able to hide more than you think.

Find good-looking baskets – the Woven Water Hyacinth Milk Crate from Brightroom at Target is a classic and failsafe design option – or similar hued containers that might even double up as home office wall decor.

'A minimalist office space is all about cultivating a calming environment conducive to concentration and productivity,' agrees David Thompson, Principal and Founder of Assembledge+. 'Concealed storage plays a pivotal role in maintaining tidy work surfaces, allowing you to be ready for spontaneous video calls.' Plus, it will mean more room to display one of the best table lamp for desks.

3. Choose creamy neutrals for a sense of calm

Oak hue WFH space with large window, wooden desk and black modern office chair

(Image credit: Matthew Millman / Assembledge+)

The power of paint ideas for walls needs no explaining and can set a modern home office apart from a more traditional look, or take a room from tired to glowing in a day. For a minimalist interior design scheme that feels calm but inviting, David advises light and cozy hues, amongst other things.

'Opt for a neutral color scheme featuring creamy whites, beiges, and warm wooden tones. Incorporating indoor plants or introducing a window for natural light and views can expand your perception of the space while also promoting mood and energy regulation throughout the day.'

Although white is one of the colors to avoid in a home office as it can come across as clinical and uninspiring, choose a slightly warmer tone, paired with tranquil greenery, and good layered home office lighting, and it could cancel out any overbearing cool tones.

4. Employ an office closet

Wicker fronted storage cabinet with gold-plated wall sconce.

(Image credit: Nicole Dianne Photography for Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors)

With less clutter on show, not only will a minimalist aesthetic shine through easily, but it's likely to help you work from home effectively too.  'Invest in storage solutions keeps the inevitable office clutter out of sight, and work productivity high,' says Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors. It's as much about concealing those everyday items, as it is disguising bigger objects that you don't need all the time. Shelving ideas need to step up here, but Ashley has a fresh approach. 'Consider wall-mounted shelves or an office wardrobe to store documents, printers, and office supplies out of sight.'

Furthermore, a minimalist's home office organizer game needs to be on point: 'Keep wires and cables hidden and organized to maintain a clutter-free workspace - one trip to the Container Store, and you’ll be able to ensure that wires are neatly tucked away.'

5. Make it ergonomic on all accounts

Modern home office featuring a dark beige central desk with drawers on gray area rug, glass front cabinet with minimal against the wall

(Image credit: Life Created Photography for Living with Lolo)

Second to Jerimiah Brent's home office design tips where seriously investing in lighting and creating reading nooks come first, Jerimiah gives in to ergonomic design too, saying: 'You need to find a balance between beauty and ergonomics.' This can be done in a home or small apartment office.

Stylish office chairs exist, and they might even steal the show from a very cool desk... Interior design Lauren Lerner agrees: 'For a minimalist home office setup, prioritize functionality and organization with a clean desk and ergonomic chair, minimize clutter with multi-functional storage, and incorporate natural light and simple decor for a serene and inspiring workspace that promotes focus and productivity,' says the founder of Living with Lolo.

How can I make a minimal home office look nice?

Minimalism in interior design doesn't mean cold and stark (anymore).  'Make it warm and inviting - a well-designed, personalized space not only fuels inspiration but also motivates its inhabitants to keep it clean and clutter-free,' says Ashley. Think one of the best candle scents for a home office, a print you love, indoor plants, and more that makes you feel inspired day in, day out. To complement a modern home, consider these for a clutter-free minimal home office that you actually love to be in:

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Contributing Editor

Camille is a freelance interiors writer and the former deputy editor of Real Homes where she covered a broad range of topics, including DIY, small space design, and gardens. She studied English language and Italian at the University of Manchester and it was during her year abroad studying in Bologna that she started documenting her adventures and observations in a blog. Camille has a passion for art and beautiful spaces. When not writing or refreshing her home, you will find her gallery hopping, taking photos, painting, and traveling to seek out interiors inspiration.