Once considered a luxury, guest room office ideas have become a necessity for many in the post-pandemic world, with more of us working from home regularly or perhaps even permanently.
Whether you’re repurposing a box room to function as your guest home office, have recently moved house to enjoy the benefits of office space, or are looking for ways to work a small home office or bedroom office into an empty corner of your home, our guest office ideas are here to inspire. Designed with productivity in mind, these spaces are stylish and functional, whatever your work from home needs.
Guest office ideas
1. Creating a calming space
'Not all of us have space for a dedicated office in our home, so guest rooms can provide the perfect alternative, offering a calm and quiet place in which to concentrate.
I’d suggest choosing a desk that can double up as a dressing table; that way you’ve got the perfect space for your work, but it can also act as a handy surface for guests to use when they stay,' says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director at OKA (opens in new tab). 'Then, I’d add a few decorative pieces, such as a statement lamp or some characterful bookends; not only will this create a nice environment to work in, but it will keep the room looking attractive for when guests come to stay.'
2. Give your guest options
This neat area is perfect for a spot of email checking and there's a handy desk lamp for working in the evening. Or, sit in the comfy armchair with laptop on your knee. Giving your guests a couple of options is key, especially if they're staying for a while.
3. Install a custom-built desk area
Step away from the corporate and there exists a plethora of home office desks and chairs that could complement your home’s architecture. The materials from which the desk and chair might be made together with color options add to the breadth of choice.
'I like to provide my guests somewhere to sit away from the bed. I always include a comfortable upholstered chair and place a table and lamp close by to create a cute reading corner, or, somewhere to work,' says Natascha Dartnall, interior designer and founder of ND Studios (opens in new tab).
4. Always provide extra touches for your guests
Providing a small space for work is a thoughtful way to welcome guests into your home as they may be visiting during the week. The office space does not need to be extravagant or elaborate since it is for temporary use, so the essentials of a comfortable chair and a functional desk are the main requirements.
'We like to take it a step further and prepare the space with fresh flowers and some writing utensils,' says Jessica Lagrange, founder and principal designer of Jessica Lagrange Interiors (opens in new tab).
5. Don't neglect your guest room office decor
Home office design has become increasingly important, as more people spend time working from home. It’s important for the space to suit both individual style as well as be conducive to productivity.
Karen B Wolf, creative principal at Karen B Wolf Interiors (opens in new tab) agrees: 'A fantastic approach to add interest and help create a fashionable and individual touch to an office space in a guest room is to add wide two-tone stripes.'
6. Create a welcoming space with a hint of color
Our homes are serving multiple purposes, from being a home office, to somewhere we entertain and have guests stay overnight, to being our own personal sanctuaries – the place we relax and unwind. As a result, creating an environment that feels uncluttered yet warm and welcoming is paramount. The trend for warm minimalism does exactly that.
'Characteristically, minimalism is paired back with a clean feeling where less is definitely more,' says Helen Shaw, UK Director of Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab). 'Whereas warm minimalism allows for an element of homey-ness to be incorporated into the scheme.'
7. Consider flexible lighting for your guests
The right home office lighting ideas will ensure working on screen, or close up according to your needs, is comfortable and eye strain is avoided – crucial factors in any guest office space.
'Clip lights are a flexible, easy way to light key features such as bookshelves and fireplaces, providing an immediate solution to illuminate a temporary workspace. Easily moveable, they can transform your lighting scheme without any installation costs or need for an electrician,' says Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC (opens in new tab).
8. Make your guest room a multi-use space
Turn a guest room into a home office or study area is no easy feat, but done right, it is a great way to make the most of limited square footage.
'For those who do not have the room for a dedicated enclosed space we can steal/borrow room from other areas, such as a guest bedroom and make it a multi purpose space,' says Mary Maloney, owner and lead principal at Bee's Knee's Interior Design (opens in new tab).
9. Be functional, but add comfort too
A guest room office does not need to be formal or soulless, we enjoy layering pattern and texture to introduce personality. Above all, focus on comfort.
'Functionality does not need to come at the expense of comfort or aesthetics, and the most important investment for a working space is a good chair,' says Clara Ewart, head of design at Kitesgrove (opens in new tab). 'Choose something that you love and which will support you throughout the day.'
10. Inspire the creative guest
A guest office should be a place of inspiration and creativity. This is also a wonderful opportunity to show off your logistical and decorating knowledge, too.
'This rustic guest room office space has all the charm – vintage desk, antique chair and cozy leather armchair in the corner,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living. 'On the bed there's an oh-so-soft blanket ready for those cooler evenings that can be pulled over your shoulders if working late. And don't forget lighting, a good desk lamp that doesn't take up much space is essential.'
How do you make an office also a guest room?
Turning an office into a guest room, or vice versa, is not always easy. We recommend scaling things down, or, in other instances, using the right bedroom color and prioritizing which areas of the room are to be the focus.
Think carefully about how you use each area of your room, and what purpose they serve before designing an office space. It may be work calling in the experts if in doubt.
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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