22 home office ideas to create an inspiring space for working from home

With these home office ideas, WFH just got a whole lot more stylish...

An open-plan home office with seating for two
(Image credit: Paul Raeside/Future)

Functional and stylish home offices are at the top of lots of homeowners' agendas right now. This whole working from home thing we have all been doing on and off for over a year now looks like it's going to stick, so having a dedicated spot to work from that's practical and inspiring has never been more important. And even if you don't have space for a whole room to spend your working day, carving out a nook in your current space to make into an office might be easier than you think. 

'When personal life requires, occasionally working from home is the stuff of dreams. However, most of us are having to face the reality of working from home long term. Usually, home is the sanctuary in which we can unwind after a testing day in the office. The trouble is, today, home IS our office. Here, diversity is key.' says Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at interior design studio Albion Nord.

For those of you fortunate enough to have a study at home, you’re off to a head start. If you, like me, don’t have a spare room, try to create a space in which you can go ‘to work’ and leave well clear when your day is done. This way, when you’re out of your ‘work nook’ your home will still feel like home.'

But whatever your style, whether you are after a Mad Men-esque retro style office or a minimalist set up to fit seamlessly in the corner of your living room, we have plenty of home office ideas to get you inspired...

1. Create a home office 'zone'

(Image credit: Sean Litchfield)

If you have an open plan set up, or you want to create a separate space in your living room or bedroom for a home office, but storage to use creating 'walls'. In this New York loft cabinets in a gorgeous white oak are used as dividers to create a private home office that feels like its own room.

If you don't want such a solid wall in your space, opt for backless shelving. You'll get a similar effect but light go flow through. 'Backless shelves can even be used to zone a room. A great solution if you’re looking to create a home office in an existing space such as a living room or kitchen area.  Ensuring it’s backless will allow you to partition an area but still allow light to pass through, plus it’s a brilliant storage solution too.' say Loaf Founder, Charlie Marshall. 

2. Add an informal seating area a home office

A home office needn't purely be a functional space. You want it to feel cozy and welcoming as well as inspiring, so consider adding a more informal spot within your home office, as well as the desk add in a couple of comedy armchairs and a coffee table. Utilize this space for your morning coffee, a spot away from your desk to clear to take a quick break, or have a brainstorm if you have colleagues come and work from your home office too. 

This chic home office features a custom leather desk, with darkened brass inlays and espresso oak and Ochre’s iconic Scorpion lamp. 

3. Add a creative state will wall art

Home offices are very practical rooms, and this can make it tricky to know how to bring in decor. Wall decor, whether that be prints, gallery walls, clocks or artwork are perfect for adding a touch of personality without taking up any floor space. Pick a piece (or pieces) you really love that will inspire and uplift you throughout the working day.

'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.' says Martin Waller, founder and creative director of Andrew Martin. And we think this home office gets that balance spot on – practical yes, but the 3D wall sculptures by Rana Begum adds plenty of personality. 

4. Choose the perfect  desk

The desk is going to be the main feature in your home office, so make sure you get your design spot on. Think about how much room you are going to need, do you like to spread out your paperwork so you'll need plenty of surface space or is all you need room for a laptop and a place to plant a coffee?

Consider its location too. The most obvious spot for an office desk is in front of a window so you can benefit from all that natural light. But if that sound too distracting facing your desk into the room as you can see here so you aren't staring a solid wall.  Floating a desk like this also means you can use both sides for extra seating if you should ever need to. 

5. Replace a solid wall with a glass partition

Closet office with glass partition and blue wallpaper

(Image credit: Future)

Home offices can be light starved places, so considered borrowing light from an adjoining room by replacing a wall with a glass partition. That way the space flood with light and the space feels more open and less boxed in. Worried about privacy? Hang a curtain that you can pull over when you need to. 

6. Mix in some non-office furniture

home office

(Image credit: timediacontent.com)

And by that we mean don't just stick to the classic home office furniture, bring in pieces that reflect your personal style too. Storage is usually the best way to do this, find second-hand pieces that can double up as storage – a vintage trunk, an antique bureau or an old cabinet will all add interest while still serving a purpose.  

7. Wall mount a desk to save on floor space

semi-detached house in south London

When space is tight in a small home office or if your home office is just a nook in another room, opting for a set up like this with a compact floating desk is a good option. Make it feel like its own separate space by painting the wall or the alcove around it and hanging artwork or a notice board above the desk. We'd recommend wall mounting a light too so you aren't taking up precious desk space with a lamp.

8. Add a desk into built in storage

family home in Mumbai

We'd once have thought that giving up precious closet space for a space to work would be a straight-up no, but the increase in the cloffice trend has us thinking otherwise. Closet office ideas are both stylish and practical – just look how fabulous this design is – you can build a desk into your storage and just fold it away or close the doors on it at the end of the day. Perfect for work/life balance.

9. Double up a window ledge as a place to work

(Image credit: Lindsay Salazar)

Designed by Alice Lane, this clever desk area was created between built cabinets, in the window sill area. Sure a clever home office idea to make the most of what would otherwise be dead space. If you are considering going for a wall of built-in storage in your home office, pinch this idea for sure! It might not be the most practical spot for your whole working day but would be perfect for drinking coffee and catching up on emails. 

10. Transform an awkward corner

corner desk

(Image credit: timediacontent.com)

Home offices can often be awkwardly shaped spaces, but lean into those weird angles and work with it. Use this space as inspiration – see how the built-in desk spans the longest (and straightest wall) really make the most of the space. The dark shade on the walls blurs the boundaries of the oddly shaped room too. 

11. Choose a sophisticated but cozy color scheme

This masculine office is a case for choosing darker, warmer colors to make a home office feel cozy. The walls are actually upholstered is a deep blue fabric, rather than just painted – a simple way to make a home office feel more inviting without taking up any floor space. The warm woods add to that old-fashioned feel and the large area rug adds softness underfoot and the perfect amount of pattern.

12. Take that old-world feel up a notch with panelling

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Wood paneling is something else we love in a home office, adding that old world charm that's so synonymous with home offices. Keep it bare wood for a more traditional look or if you prefer a cleaner more contemporary vibe paint panelling with a crisp white shade – you still get the texture and interest just in a more minimalist form. 

13. Keep it simple and stylish 

Sometimes all you need is a desk and a chair to be able to call your space a home office. So just keep it simple, pick a desk you love and a chair that suits your space and then place it anywhere in your home that it makes sense. Ground it in your chosen spot by hanging some artwork and of course a vase of lovely flowers. 

This stylish home office features a Greta Grossman desk, Skai Desk chair and an artwork by Tora Vega Holmstrom.

14. Go for an uplifting neutral scheme

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. 

We all know greens are the go to shade if you want to create an uplifting space, and we love the pale shade in this home office. As Patrick O’ Donnell of Farrow & Ball says, 'Greens are naturally calming and help us to relax, especially if we can create an environment that feels like the great outdoors. The symbolic colour of nature’s ‘green’ in all its shades can be a very effective colour to focus the mind, from pale, soft cool greens to the deeper richer end of olive tones! Greens inspire thought and logic, perfect for dealing with your daily tasks.'

15. Turn and alcove to a work space

desk ideas

(Image credit: timediacontent.com)

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. 

16. DIY a personalized pin board

As this home office proves, a pinboard can be  so much more than a spot to store your to-do list. A pinboard can be a design statement in itself, whether you keep it simple with an oversized cork design or go more traditional with an upholstered style. Make it into a piece of art by decorating it to reflect your style (just be sure to leave a teeny space clear for your to-do lists).

The upholstered pinboard-come-artwork is made bespoke by Studio Peake.

Georgian terraced house in north London

Gallery walls are one of our favorite ways to decorate a home office – they add a tone of texture, color and interest to a space and make it feel more personal and lived in. See how 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 that's perfect for this traditional home office. 

18. Go for an eclectic vintage style

Victorian terrace flat in west London

Make your home office a more creative space by filling it with towering house plants and antique (or vintage looking) artwork. Hunt second hand for a rustic desk and pair it with a non-matching chair for an extra eclectic touch. 

19. Create a display with your books

home office ideas

(Image credit: James Merrell)

We've always said if you've got books, you've got decor, they add instant color and personality to a space, plus storing your book collection in a home office just makes sense. Store them alphabetically, by genre or by color, just get them out and on show.

'Clever storage is king and a good de-clutter can make an area feel bigger. Make the most of wall space to get everything up off the ground using shelving. A great storage solution, shelves are also the perfect way to show-off memories that you’ve collected over the years. Display your favourite knick-knacks, keepsakes and dog-eared books to give your home office personality.' says Charlie Marshall.

20. Double up seating 

home office ideas

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

If you share your space, this is a great home office idea. Make the most of both sides of your desk by floating it in the centre of the room and add in a mis-match of chairs so it looks lovely as well as being functional. Ground the table with a large areas rug – just ensure all the furniture sits on top.

21. Paint a chalkboard wall 

detached Victorian house in Kent

It might sounds like more of a kid's room idea, but a chalkboard wall can be a practical addition to a home office too. Ideal to making to-do lists, creating a calendar or just turning it into a beautiful mural that you can switch up whenever you fancy.

22. Decorate with moody hues

townhouse in Brooklyn

Darker shades can work wonders in a home office, creating cozy, inviting spaces. Livingetc’s editor Pip McCormac says ‘For a small office, go with a rich, dark color on the walls - it may seem counterintuitive but a wonderful deep shade like a purple will bring the room alive, making it seem like a space to be creative. Then cover the wall with art and photos in a gallery wall style, which gives the eye something to be inspired by every time you take a screen break.’ 

How can you make a home office look good?

To make a home office look good, think about your own personal style, how you decorate your other rooms, what colors, prints and textures you like and then think about how you can reflect that style in your home office. 

A home office does have to be a practical space first, stylish space second but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with the space. Pick out second hand pieces and mix them with your office furniture, hang a gallery wall to add character or put up some bold wallpaper that's going to give you an uplift each time you get a glimpse. 

'Always start with a color palette. That’s the easiest way to make a space feel like you.' recommends Emily Henderson. 'Then I would make sure to decided on all of your functional pieces ie desk, chair, storage. But remember you can get creative. A dining table can be a great desk and might give you some more style options. Using vintage pieces is also a perfect way to make your home office feel unique to you. Then after those pieces are set add in art, accessories, personal memorabilia. It’s really like designing any other room. You just want to make sure you create a space that’s conducive to you and how you work.'

What should a home office include?

The main thing you need in a home office is a good desk that meets your personal needs and style and a comfy chair that's supportive and designs to be used for longer periods of time. After that it just depends on what you want from your space and the size too. Storage is always helpful, a couple of shelves for books if you are squeeze for space or if you aren't limited by square footage a whole wall of built in cabinetry would be a real asset. 

Then there's lighting, a key part of home office design. Make sure you have a good task light either overhead or on your desk to work by. But also include other light  sources too, because ambience is still important. Dot about a few lamps for a softer, all over glow.

How do you make a home office cozy?

Home offices do tend to be very practical spaces, and there's usually not lots of room to add in tons of decor, so the easiest way to make a home office feel cozy is textiles. They are warmth and texture but take up zero room. As Emily Henderson says, 'I think textiles always make a space cozier. If you have a window, make sure to hang curtains. If you have space for an accent chair, throw a pillow and blanket on it. Get a low pile rule so you can still roll your chair over. Easy fixes that make a big impact.'