Whether it serves as “command central” for your own business, headquarters for your remote job, a dedicated room for creative endeavors, or a separate space for household management, a home office is a place where serious business gets done.
The ideal home office blends form and function to create a space that’s just as comfortable and inviting as it is purposeful and practical. Basic pieces of the design puzzle include the right desk, ample shelving, and adequate storage; defining pieces include innovative lighting, bold finishes, and unifying colors.
Let’s explore effective planning and renovation strategies for designing the perfect home office.
Define Your Purpose
Before you set up shop in your rarely used dining room or guest bedroom, take a moment to define the purpose of your space. Knowing exactly how you plan to use your home office is the best way to determine how it should be organized.
Full-time home office
If you work remotely or run a business out of your home, you’ll need a suitable desk, table, or standing workstation as well as plenty of storage options, including vertical shelving, drawers, and cabinets. You’ll also need comfortable seating if you plan to see clients in your home office.
Multiuse work/craft space
When painting, designing T-shirts, or any other creative pursuit takes up residence in a home office, it’s helpful to create a specific zone for that activity. You might create a workstation for a specific hobby, or you might give it an entire corner of the room.
Given that craft supplies can take up a lot of space, they should have their own dedicated bins, baskets, shelves, drawers, or cabinets.
Family homework zone
If your home office pulls double duty as your kids’ primary homework or study zone, you’ll want to adapt the space to their needs. Besides giving them a separate work surface, it’s a good idea to create a kid-friendly storage system that keeps everything they need within easy reach.
Household command center
If you use your home office to manage your finances, schedule appointments and organize other daily household tasks, a mini home office in a shared space can be an ideal solution.
Whether it’s tucked into a corner of your kitchen, family room, or guest bedroom, a home office “nook” can be as simple as a built-in desk that provides smart storage options.
Start with Storage
No matter how you plan to use your home office you’ll need some kind of storage system. The key to optimizing storage in any home office, no matter what its size, is making good use of any available vertical space.
This is why built-in bookshelves, cabinets, and cubbies are a major feature of many home office design plans — they free up floor space, enhance functionality, add architectural interest, and provide plenty of storage options.
Built-ins can be subtle, blending quietly into the background to give your desk, armchair, and other furnishings center stage; built-ins can also take center stage when they’re used to define your home office space (think of wall-to-wall built-ins that incorporate shelves and cabinets as well as your work surface).
Find the Right Flow
Whether you plan to take advantage of built-ins, repurpose a vintage armoire, or simply buy free-standing shelves to line your home office wall, consider the flow of the room — and where you’d most like to sit — before you make any final storage decisions.
This step is especially important if your main workspace or desk is part of a built-in unit.
If your office has a large picture window, for example, you may want to place or install your desk below that window; besides gaining a lovely view from your desk chair, you won’t have to draw your shades to avoid a midday glare on your computer screen.
If you don't want your back to the door when you’re seated at your desk, configure your office accordingly. If you expect to meet clients in your office, the layout should be comfortable and conducive to a one-on-one conversation.
The right lighting can have a dramatic impact on any space, including your home office. To get the lighting in your office just right, it helps to apply that same fundamental design principle of maximizing vertical space.
Instead of relying solely on table lamps and floor lamps, install a central, ceiling-mounted light fixture (it can be a real focal point if that’s your goal), along with a few well-placed wall sconces and hidden light stripes mounted under cabinets or within open shelving.
Finish Your Space
The ultimate workspace is one that’s complete in every sense — once that’s finished, personal, and inspiring. Whether you’re exploring flooring options, looking for the right color scheme, or selecting the materials for your custom built-ins, don’t rush the selection process when you’re choosing the finishes that define your home office.
Photos, plants, favorite books, and travel keepsakes bring a personal element to the space that truly makes it yours — and makes it feel more inviting. An ever-evolving inspiration board filled with postcards, artwork, and other ephemera offers a visual boost that can keep you motivated.
If you’re ready to create the home office of your dreams, give us a call — our innovative virtual design process can help you get started from the comfort of your couch.