With a steady increase of people working from home this year and more making the most of the flexible working opportunities, it pays to have a designated spot in the home that’s dedicated to your work life.
If you have the luxury of a spare room that can become a study or a home office, check out the ideas ahead. Bold colours, clever storage and interesting artworks have been used to great effect and may even provide subtle inspiration, for those moments when you’re scratching your head for ideas.
Alternatively, section off an unused area with Crittal-style doors or glazing for a light-filled study.
Short on space? There are innovative home offices and study areas below that illustrate how everything from a narrow corridor, a chimney alcove or a mezzanine balcony can double as a desk-based nook, providing somewhere to store the laptop, and file paperwork, so it’s easy to find when you need to attend to it.
We love the numerous space saving ideas, such as the simple wall mounted desk, the shelves that have been turned into a stylish work surface and the chic work zone that’s been cleverly hidden behind sliding doors, so it can be closed off when not in use to keep the rest of the room looking neat and tidy.
There are larger home offices and studies ahead too that double up as reception rooms, home libraries, cosy dens for movie nights or are shared with the younger members of the family, so they can sit quietly and do their homework undisturbed.
When it comes to decor, keep things clear, slick and fresh. Martin Waller, founder and creative director of Andrew Martin says: ‘A home office must be designed as a space to induce thought. It wants to have crisp, clear lines, comfort and creative inspiration by way of artwork or patterned wallpaper.’
You can then cosy things up by adding softer touches like a rug or carpeting. Lisa Conway from Brintons suggests: ‘your carpet is the perfect place to start when creating a cosy home office space. Where an alternative flooring like wood or tiles might make a room feel stark and bare, a soft woven wool carpet, layered with accessories in cashmere, mohair and linen will all work to soften the overall look.’ For added texture, you could also mount a graphic rug on the wall as a textured artwork.
By creating a cosy, organised yet practical workspace, you can introduce a productive home office – whether you’re working from home more often, need a study corner for a side hustle or a dedicated space for catching up on life admin.
Whatever your circumstances, space constraints or interior style there are ideas aplenty for carving out a work zone at home.
Looking for ideas for a quiet space to relax, read or recline?
Check out these bookcases and home libraries.
This masculine office is upholstered in a smart, dark fabric.
Get the look: Custom Rug by Stark Carpet. Desk Chair client’s own upholstered in Cowtan and Tout Blakeney in Natural. Fabric walls upholstered in Jane Churchill Crispin in Dark Blue. Table Lamp by Arteriors.
Cabinetry walls in white oak are used as the spatial definers that separate and zone the different areas in this loft.
A recessed alcove features walnut walls and shelving, to display art and books. But the real wow-factor is in the 3D wall sculptures by Rana Begum.
Get the look: Millwork is custom by Gachot. Desk is vintage; Jean Prouve, Modele BS1. Chair is also vintage; Jacques Adnet. Table lamp is Verre Lumiere from Demisch Danant. Wall sculpture and framed maquettes by Rana Begum.
Wood panelled walls lend a more old-world touch to this masculine office space.
This stylish home office features a Greta Grossman desk, Skai Desk chair and an artwork by Tora Vega Holmstrom.
This wall-mounted desk folds back up and out of the away, free-ing up floor space. When it's folded down, it brings a pop of colour.
This bright, inviting room – complete with original frosted glazing – was once the public bar of the pub. It has a neutral, natural and understated look that creates a calming work space.
Get the look: Desk and desk lamp, Cox & Cox. Bench, Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam. Crisscross Bubble pendant, George Nelson for Herman Miller at SCP
This study is similarly rich in palette, featuring a brown leather recliner and a striking matt blue lacquer split-level table with Carrara marble base.
Tidy away the stationery in the evening and no-one would know this vintage piece of furniture had given desk service during the day.
Get the look: Find the Acorn desk and Helvetica office chair at West Elm. The Random pendant light is by Bertjan Pot for Moooi. The rug is from Urban Outfitters.
You can easily create a chic desk area in an alcove like this, using the bottom shelf as a desk, and sliding any chair under it when you need to use it – then just moving the chair back to its original spot to keep the room neat and tidy. We also like the idea of housing an alcove desk and shelves like this behind cupboard doors, keeping paperwork and stationery out of sight entirely. The footspace under the desk could even double up as extra storage, for example for toy baskets, when the desk is not in use. That way the room could serve a dual function.
Get the look: Flooring is Majnu Gold Dusk, £89.99 per sq m, Brintons.
This desk space is nestled into built-in storage, painted in vibrant gloss blue.
The sharp end of this irregularly shaped room finds its true calling thanks to a bespoke desk, set into the window.
Get the look: This is the Masculo chair by GamFratesi for Gubi. The desk lamp is by Anglepoise. The wall is painted in Hague Blue estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The landscape photography, entitled Yangshou Dawn, is by Tim Hall.
Designed by Alice Lane, this clever desk area was created between the cabinets, in the window sill area. A full wall of built ins allowed for projects and papers to be organised and out of the way.
A small alcove next to the kitchen was transformed into a homework and study nook.
The upholstered pinboard-come-artwork is made bespoke by Studio Peake.
Both high- and low-end artwork grace the purple walls of the study. They come from junk shops as well as galleries, creating a deliberate collector’s mix.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt estate emulsion. The mid-century Brasilia rosewood desk by Danish designer Kai Kristiansen is from Two Columbia Road. Find the Cherner chair by Norman Cherner at Aram Store.
An internal glass wall opens into the study – a jewel-box of a room that feels more opulent than your average work area.
Get the look The flooring is from Cheville Parquet. Nicola Hicks designed the bespoke joinery, made by Lethbridge Lines. This is Cole & Son’s Byron wallpaper. The LED star is from Lights4fun.
The desk is an Italian table bought at a market.
Get the look Lampshade on the floor lamp near desk, Sera of London. The table came from a market. Fibrous plaster panelling, Sera of London.
Design firm Alice Lane wanted this space to feel moodier and richer than any other room in the home but with a mix of masculine and feminine aesthetic so it could feel like a work space for everyone.
When she bought the property, the owner thought the narrow office might feel claustrophobic but she finds it cocooning.
Get the lookChair, Eames for Herman Miller. Task light, Ilse Crawford. Painting, Lorne Reid. Rug, Cultural Cloth.
The study doubles up as a guest room and because it’s so dark, it’s a great place for the family to watch movies.
Get the look The walls are covered in a Phillip Jefferies grass cloth. The photograph on the wall is by Gerald Förster. This is the Alma chair by Organic Modernism. The vintage Moroccan rug was sourced from factory20.com.
The room started with the Eames chair and then the desk. It’s a quiet place that the owners escape to.
Get the lookWalls painted in Hicks’ Blue, Little Greene. Blind, Kravet – try The Swedish Fabric Company. EA108 Aluminium chair in Grass Green/Ivory Hopsak, Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra. Similar vintage rosewood desk, Pamono. Snoopy lamp, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos. Framed picture of gira es at London Zoo, taken by Suzy on her iPhone.
This space was boarded up, so it was a nice surprise for the owner to find the alcove when he bashed down the partition wall – it’s the perfect size for a mini office.
Get the look The metal document holders are from Rockett St George. The vintage-style filing tray is by Rose & Grey. For similar library steps, try the Bekvam stepladder from Ikea.
A turquoise wall adds a punchy note here, while built-in joinery provides a sleek office area.
Get the look The Trombone chair is from Caravane. Véronique picked up the vintage pendant lights and the trellis partition in Paris’ Paul Bert Serpette market.
Overlooking the garden, this space benefits from plenty of light streaming into the house.
Get the look This is a Plan desk by James Tattersall. Find a similar office chair at The Old Cinema. The vintage armchairs are from Alfies Antique Market. Jenny-Lyn supplied the pendant light. The shutters and the shelving were made by Jonathan Beckwith. The artwork hanging over the mantelpiece was brought back from Vietnam. For similar portraits, check out modernartvietnam.co.uk.
A wall-mounted desk creates a neat area for admin in the corner of the large, open-plan kitchen and living area. The wall paint echoes the look of the snug, which lies just beyond the sliding doors.
Get the look Bloomingville wall-mounted desk, Bodie & Fou. Wall, Down Pipe Estate Eggshell, Farrow & Ball. Lantern vase, Jonathan Adler. Hector wall light, Original BTC. Switches, Forbes & Lomax. Caribou chair, Ochre. Cushion Kirsten Hecktermann.
This space doubles as a second reception room.
Get the look The artwork includes a sketch by Henri Matisse. This is the Clifton dining table, designed by Terence for Benchmark, teamed with a vintage Thonet chair and Eames DSW side chairs in White. The Task table light is by Original BTC.
This study is clad in American walnut, with lots of sleek fitted storage to house kit such as the owner's printer, files and folders.
Get the look The desk and lighting are vintage finds. The duck was made by artist Laure Mackel. The wood candlesticks were brought back from Bhutan.
Simple yet ingenious changes that make family living a comparative breeze and mean the owners can catch up on emails and admin, but still be with their children.
Get the look The desk and cabinets were custom-made from bleached American oak. The shelves were custom-made from painted folded steel. Find similar at Aram Store. This is the About A Chair by Hee Welling for Hay.
This flat’s Haussmann-era proportions provide plenty of space for an artwork in the study that doubles as a crash course in art history.
Get the look The artwork is by Anne Berning. The desk and chair are vintage. Try The Old Cinema for similar. The chain-link chandelier is by Franz West for Meta Memphis. In the living room beyond, the Tree table lamp is by Atelier Van Lieshout.
The blackboard started out as a fun thing for the kids, but it’s turned out just as useful for the parents to scribble reminders on.
Get the look Find a table like this at Sunbury Antiques Market. For a similar desk, go to Habitat. The 1972 Munich Olympics posters are by Otl Aicher. Pick one up on eBay. These are the DSS-N and DSW chairs by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra. City Cows sells similar hide rugs. Find desk lamps like these at John Lewis.
Raised up from the main reception room, this mezzanine study is painted a striking black. It has a great bird’s-eye view of the reception room from up here.
Get the look: the walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Railings estate emulsion. This is a vintage Eames EA217 swivel chair. The Shinto desk is from Oka. The vintage French cafe lights were bought in France.
This space at the front of the house is painted a deep blue. This room really suits a dark colour.
Get the look: This desk is a vintage Arne Vodder design. The desk chair with hopsack upholstery is the original EA108, by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller. The walls are painted in Hague Blue estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The hare is from Graham and Green.
Next to the kitchen there’s a small timber study – a room within a room – to provide space for a collection of vintage cigar boxes.
The whole concept behind the study is it’s a big cigar box, with many little cigar boxes inside, some of which are 300 to 400 years old.
Get the look: This leather armchair is from Restoration Hardware. The antique chaise longue is from the Napoléon III period. The Persian rug is vintage and was dyed grey. The walls are made from oiled American walnut. The steel door was powder-coated in Black.
This calm office space is also used by the children to do their homework, and also doubles up as a play room from time to time.
The desk is a new piece but it has a retro feel.
Get the look: This is the Onegin desk by Julian Chichester. The vintage desk chair is from Jensen & Ballantine. The articulated wall light is from Felix Lighting.
This open-plan home office is tucked into the dead space at the end of a mezzanine floor and overlooks the floor below. Views of an enormous tree growing right through the space provide a fitting distraction from the paperwork.
Get the look: The artwork is by Alain Diot.
Moodier hues are given free reign in this glamorous lair. The walls of the study hum in a deep aubergine shade that lets the glossy lighting and furniture shine out in contrast.
Get the look: A similar paint colour is Brinjal by Farrow & Ball. This is a vintage Spoleto chair by Uffico Tecnico for Knoll. For a similar desk, try Andrew Martin. The photographs are by Jeff Barnett-Winsby. This is Serge Mouille’s Spider ceiling lamp.
This top floor box room doubles as both dressing room and study, complete with bespoke shelving, which flanks a simple desk.
Get the look: The desk is from Ikea. The chair is by Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam. The wall light is from Holly’s House. The blind is made in Jim Thompson’s Gemstone cotton in Emerald, available in the UK through Fox Linton.
A patinated foxed mirror displays a beautiful reflection of the prints opposite it.
Get the look: The sketch is a portrait of Danielle by French fashion designer Stéphane Rolland. To create a similar wall, try Rough Old Glass.
Office space finds a stylish home in this narrow passage, with a bespoke marble-top desk echoing the design of the adjoining kitchen.
Get the look: This is the Saarinen Tulip chair by Knoll at Skandium. The walls are painted in Studio Green estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. For a similar table lamp, see the Kaiser Idell by Christian Dell at Republic of Fritz Hansen.
This office is tucked into a corner of an open plan space, where bespoke shelving helps zone the area.
Get the look: Find a similar desk, Retro Living.
Shelving built into the alcove creates a great spot to catch up on family admin.
Get the look: The building and carpentry is by Boldline Construction. The insect print is from Graham and Green.