Experts Say to Avoid These Colors in Your Work-From-Home Office (But to Include These 3, Instead)

Style Editor Brigid Kennedy spoke to a few different feng shui experts about how to organize and decorate your home office — and the answers may surprise you

a bunch of desk decor on a colorful background
(Image credit: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, The Sill, Bloomingdale's, Design Within Reach)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic turned us all into remote workers, you probably didn't spend much time worrying about how to decorate your home office. I don't even think I had a home office. Now, however, the look and vibe of the room in which I work (it also happens to be my bedroom but that's neither here nor there) is of utmost importance to me.

But what if I told you there was a wrong way to decorate your home office? What if, when you're shopping at the best home decor brands, there were desk accessories or decorations experts suggest you avoid, as they might actually harm — or at least not add to — the feng shui of your space?

'Feng Shui is very metaphorical so be mindful of the items and artwork you use in your office,' says Abby Lane, interior designer and feng shui expert at Holistic Homes. For example, 'a ship in high seas can have you feeling like you’re never on steady ground whereas a stable mountain placed behind your desk can help you feel stable and supported in your career and beyond.'

And that's just one thing to keep in mind. Below, I've collated a few home office decor tips I've gathered from some other experts across the web — tips that will keep vibes high and productivity flowing.

1. Stick to soft blues, greens, and earthy tones

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While there are scenarios where fiery colors like red and orange are beneficial for the home office ('These are amazing when we need output or big changes,' says Abby), Natasha Frolova, an interior designer at Planner 5D, suggests generally highlighting 'blue, white, green, neutral beige, and other soft shades,' she tells Livingetc. 'These colors work well as accents in their pure form and pastel shades, as well as combinations of different saturation levels of the same color.'

Such colors 'promote focus and concentration without being overstimulating,' adds James Gregory, feng shui expert and interior designer at Sunsquare. 'Pale blue, in particular, is known to enhance clarity and creativity.'

2. Use natural elements

As you select decorative objects and trinkets, try keeping it natural. 'Use plants to improve air quality and create a sense of vitality,' Natasha says. 'It’s better to choose low-maintenance plants like succulents or snake plants.'

Wood and stone help 'create a grounding, calming atmosphere,' James adds. And, much like Abby's earlier tip, he recommends choosing artwork 'that inspires you without being too busy or distracting.'

There is no rush to decorate either. The process 'should be done carefully and in small doses, so as not to turn your workspace into an art gallery or botanical garden,' Natasha continues.

3. Invest in 'functional and aesthetically pleasing' organizational tools

Of course, any good desk needs trays, organizers, and catch-all storage containers. From a feng shui perspective, you should 'invest in functional and aesthetically pleasing organizational tools such as shelves, filing cabinets, or baskets to keep clutter at bay and promote a clear mind,' Natasha advises.

4. Lean into the 5 elements

Last, but certainly not least, try working in the five elements of feng shui design — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — 'to create harmony and balance,' Natasha says, 'This can be achieved with decor elements such as wooden furniture, candles, plants, metal accents, and water features,' and 'allows for varied decor and finishes in the workspace.'

Ultimately, you want to 'create a balanced, harmonious space that supports your productivity goals,' James concludes. 'Choose colors, decor, and an arrangement that promote focus, inspiration, and a sense of well-being. Remember, your work-from-home office should be a sanctuary that nurtures your best work.'

How should I situate my desk according to feng shui?

While desk decor is undoubtedly important, so is the position of your desk itself. 'Position your desk to face the door, providing a sense of control and command,' James says. 'Keep your back to a solid wall for support and stability. Ensure a clear, unobstructed path to your desk to allow energy to flow freely. Keep your desk clutter-free, with essential items within easy reach.'

Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a Style Editor at, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.