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Home offices are no longer design-starved, makeshift corners where you can just about fit a desk and a chair. No, work from home has completely changed our outlook, and creating beautiful, functional and even statement-making study rooms or offices is the new way to go.
Colors, custom furniture, clever lighting, wallpapers, smart storage solutions, and more are key to creating an inspiring space. If you too are looking to change the way your home office looks and feels then these designer-approved home office ideas are a must-see. Here's how to revolutionize WFH.
1. Merge the office with a lounging area
If you're wondering how to work from home effectivity, consider designing a multipurpose room that easily melds work, lounging, and fun for a more functional and well-rounded home.
‘Both a library and study, this room was envisioned as a rich, contemplative space filled with books,' say Edward Yedid and Thomas Hickey, founders of GRADE. 'The cozy upholstered nook was designed for reading, with a desk for working from home, and the lounge area with sofa and vintage seating can be used for hosting guests for cocktails – the custom bar cabinet (left corner) contains a wet bar.’
2. Insert a home office in the living room
A living room TV cabinet can perform double duty as a desk space if cleverly designed. As well as storing the obvious television and all its wires and paraphernalia, including a small section complete with floating shelves allows it to transition into a workspace. Simply add a chair and a table lamp and you’ve created a perfectly useful home office.
‘Opt for a clear desk with lots of sockets,' says Ann Marie Cousins, founder of AMC Design. 'Each workstation needs at least six (a monitor, phone charger, PC/laptop, desk lamp, printer, and so on) so if you can, design them into your scheme from the early stages rather than relying on extension cables.’
Material: Engineered wood
Choose this sleek, curving chair made in oak reinforced with engineered hardwood, and add a smart, stylish touch to your home office.
3. Add jewel tones to the office
If you have an open-plan space and want to give the work area a distinct identity, zone it with home office lighting and color. Avoiding obvious ‘office’ furniture will ensure it still integrates easily into a living room.
‘This light, chosen because it mirrors the shape of the desk and complements the copper wallpaper, provides a striking focal point,’ says Barbara Reyes, director of design at Frederick Tang Architecture.
Material: Crystal and iron
Consider this lighting piece to add grandeur and to throw even illumination above your office seating area.
4. Paint the ceiling
For a unique home office paint idea, create a cocooning vibe with dark colors on the ceiling. Consider a semi-gloss finish so the room feels more like a decorated jewel box than a purely utilitarian space.
‘My vision was to reinterpret the space, using striking and vivid accents to create three-dimensional pictures, and furniture and objects as bold contrasting points of color,’ says Elisa Ossino, founder of Elisa Ossino Studio.
5. Bring in custom storage
Perhaps the most important element for the success of any home office is its storage. The better, smarter the storage is, the more practical and functional the space is. Consider custom built-in storage – and other thoughtful design touches– for laptop storage and other accessories as this will elevate a home office.
‘Here, wallpaper-clad pocket doors behind the desk conceal a bar – a hidden gem to mark the end of the working day,’ says Kumpal Vaid, founder of design studio Purple Backyard.
6. Layer the office with soft furnishings
A great way to add depth to a modern home office is with layering furnishings to give the room a soft, tactile vibe.
‘When a room’s architecture is linear, adding upholstered details brings a welcome softness. In this space, we even chose a tasseled chandelier,’ says Emily Munroe, founder of Studio Munroe.
7. Hide the office inside a cabinet
Don't have a sprawling home with ample space for a home office? Consider a closet office, that does not take up extra square footage yet works perfectly as a calm, functional area.
'In this home office within a cabinet, we installed a warm white LED strip, recessed into the plywood shelf above the desk which had a slot routed out of it,' say George Woodrow and George Vizor, founders of Woodrow Vizor Architects.
8. Add a seating nook for relaxing
Who doesn't love a little downtime in the middle of a hectic workday? If your home office has the luxury of extra space, consider adding a seating nook or a home library. Add a fluted glass divider for privacy.
'An adjacent custom desk nook and a seating nook were designed to be of the same depth and in the same colored laminate, with a feature screen of Translucent Danpal between them,' says Melanie Yard of Hindley & Co.
9. Play with shapes
Give your apartment office a unique look. Using different shapes can turn your space into something special – the key is to bring in pieces that offer strong contrast. Here, a constrained though exciting color palette allows the linear and curved lines to take center stage.
‘I placed a long table to fit snugly by the window and played with curving forms in the furniture to break the straight lines of the room,’ says Tim Veresnovsky, founder of Veresnovsky Design Studio.
10. Consider a color block to add interest
A home office doesn’t have to be a somber, staid space. Generous use of color – such as the vibrant teal seen in this bedroom office – will lift the mood no matter how long your to-do list is.
‘A paneled wall in light ash wood and blue marks a contrast and continuity of tones in the workspace situated within a bedroom,’ says Shiraz Jamali, founder of Shiraz Jamali Architects.
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For style leaders and design lovers.
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.
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