Think home office seating ideas and a desk chair likely springs to mind first – and it is a key purchase for your room. But the seating for a home office might include chairs for a table around which to conduct meetings, and more comfortable armchairs or sofas for reading, planning, or to take five from the day’s tasks, all of which need to deliver aesthetically as well as practically.
And while corporate work spaces tend to neutral shades and plain upholstery, it’s easy to embrace more stylish material and color options as part of your home office ideas.
Our home office seating ideas include desirable choices for every home office to make it a space you’ll be delighted to enter each day, along with expert advice on selecting the right designs.
Home office seating ideas
If you spend long hours at a desk, a desk chair that allows you to adopt the correct position is vital, but that’s no reason to opt for a look that falls down in the style stakes. Think, too, about the other home office seating ideas that can make it a pleasant place to spend time, including more relaxing options. And if you are creating a home office setup in which to conduct meetings, or want to move away from the desk to spread out papers, seating around a table will be required.
1. Include a variety of seating areas
In a space of all but the most modest dimensions, home office seating ideas should include, but not be limited to, a desk chair.
‘Comfort and ergonomics are of critical importance when it comes to designing an office space and we always test out chairs with our clients to ensure we select options that are both comfortable and durable,’ says Benjamin Johnston of Benjamin Johnston Design.
‘We also include other seating areas to create an inviting environment, encouraging our clients to entertain or even host small meetings in their stylish home offices.’
2. Incorporate seating that allows relaxation
Modern home office ideas recognize that, while it may be a place of industry, the study is also a sanctuary, and this can be achieved with the right seating.
‘A home office should be relaxing,’ says Julie Dodson of Dodson Interiors in Houston, Texas. ‘It should be a place of comfort and respite, surrounded by things that you love and that inspire you.
‘I always like to have an ottoman in a home office, to kick your feet up and read a book, or drink a glass of bourbon. I loved the fabric color on these chairs, and their scale. They are not too big where you sink in, but they still sort of give you a hug.’
3. Think purpose when selecting home office chairs
How long you spend at your desk, and how long on other activities, should determine the style of the chair. But even if the desk is the site for all or much of your work, dull corporate designs are far from the only option.
‘A chair has to be comfortable, but it is important to get the level of comfort right,’ says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin. ‘A leather armchair, for example, would fit for a library feel, acting as a sanctuary to read and reflect, where an upright swivel chair suits written desk work.
‘And do not be condemned to a black foam seat. Go for a chair in mid-century velvet upholstery or a cantilever with interesting lines.’
4. Make space for a sofa
Featuring a sofa in your home office seating plan can help make it a space which feels inviting whether it’s where you do your day job or a command center for organizing the family.
Be inspired by this room, and contemplate an upright tailored sofa, rather than the sink-into version you might prefer in a TV den. The button back adds decorative detail alongside the patterned wallpaper and Roman blind, while a soft and calming color palette makes this room a peaceful retreat.
5. Stay streamlined
In small home offices, desk chairs with the same sleek and streamlined credentials are natural partners.
This hidden desk idea is part of the kitchen by Roundhouse and is fitted with pocket doors so the bespoke joinery – which has a walnut interior – can be concealed when it’s not in use. Externally, the office matches the tall white kitchen cabinetry located on the opposite side of the room to give the space a cohesive look.
The room features Crittall windows that link the lower ground floor to the gardens and bring in natural illumination, and the chair’s white upholstery and chrome frame reflect the daylight to keep the space bright and open.
6. Add detail to upholstery
Decorative embellishment to office seating can contribute to making the room part of your home and far from a standard office in style. In this home office from Bee’s Knees Interior Design Studio, studs add interest to the upholstered desk chair, creating a contrasting texture, and giving the impression of a stripe on the neutral fabric. It’s a match to the detail of the desk, too.
7. Fall for a window seat
Window seat ideas are another seating option beyond the desk chair, and a great way to take advantage of a pleasant view and a source of natural light, which can be particularly valuable when daylight hours are limited, and work days are long.
‘We suggest incorporating comfortable armchairs or a window seat if possible,’ says Louise Wicksteed, design director at London and Gloucestershire-based Sims Hilditch . ‘This encourages the user to step away from the desk for regular breaks.’
8. Put visitors at their ease
Ensure visitors to a home office are relaxed by providing comfortable seating facing the desk. In this room they add an accent shade to the rich neutral palette.
‘We made this office from a former never-used dining space off the front entry,’ says Cheryl Kees Clendenon, president of In Detail Interiors. ‘We created wonderful storage by wrapping the room in built-in library-style book shelves painted in Benjamin Moore Vintage Wine and artfully hid closed storage with antique mirror inserts for the more mundane office supplies.
‘Since the room is right off the front of the home, we enlarged the opening to make it less “dining” oriented and added gorgeous lighting and furnishings to always be a beautiful visage when you enter the home.
‘Original art, interesting lighting and a stunning velvet wingback chair provide a backdrop of cozy luxury for the boss lady of the home. No worries though, we also added a couple of modern wingback chairs near the windows for the Mr to visit!’
9. Step away from the traditional
It’s possible to include a classic among your home office seating ideas while giving it a fresh twist that makes the room individual and full of interest.
‘I always put a “man chair” in a home office,’ says Kara Adam of Dallas, Texas-based Kara Adam Interiors. ‘I like the masculine lines and subtle pattern of the chair in this room. Just because it’s a man’s office, doesn’t mean the chair has to be dark.’
If this chair will be used for reading, ensuring it's carefully matched with your home office lighting ideas will make it comfortable in every sense.
10. Gather around a table
A table with seating around it can be a useful addition to any home office. It provides a space to spread out papers away from a desktop, as well as an area for meetings if you hold these within your home.
Furniture designated for the office isn’t required, and dining chairs teamed with a dining table can be a more handsome option.
Interior designer Robert Stilin used the existing dining table in his New York City apartment to create this home office. 'It’s about embracing and adapting to life as it evolves – using the things you have in a way that makes sense instead of being stuck in some set idea of what has to be,’ he explains.
How do I choose a home office seating?
To choose the ideal home office seating for you, consider its purpose first. For desk chairs, you need to ensure that the height and backrest are adjustable first and foremost. Then you need to sit on it to check that the lumbar support and arm rests are right for you. If you are tall, you need to ensure the seat is deep and wide enough – and of course, if you are short, you will want to make sure the desk chair isn't too big for you. Consider the material of your floor – hard floors are generally more practical in home offices and allow for casters to move about in the room. Even if yours doesn't have casters, ensure your desk chair can swivel. Finally, make sure the material of the chair is breathable for those hot weather days when you are still stuck at your desk.
There are plenty of ways to stop a clunky printer compromising the lines of a home office. You could consider home office desk ideas with storage inside to keep it immediately at hand.
Alternatively, stash the printer inside a stylish piece of furniture, such as a sideboard, which can have the perfect proportions to accommodate it.
You might also think about concealing it in plain sight. Put a black printer on a shelf with black-spined books, for example, and it won’t makes its presence apparent. Or try putting a white printer on white-painted furniture alongside objects that introduce a pop of color – they’ll draw the eye instead.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.
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