You may be a couple of years into working from home now and, having got the practicalities sorted initially, be wondering how you can make your home office look beautiful.
Doing so is difficult, because when you're looking for home office ideas, you're also often looking for ways to maximize a multi-purpose space, or one where home office storage never quite keep up with your demands, or home office paint colors are downgraded to unimportant in the face of all the other demands of a home office setup.
However, there are some easy tricks you can use to make a home office look beautiful. We asked design experts for their favorites.
How can I make my home office look beautiful?
Whether you're looking for small home office ideas or home library ideas, it pays, it seems, to be prepared to push the boundaries when it comes to color and pattern in particular. We asked design experts for home office design tips that, in particular, make a home office look beautiful. This is what they told us.
1. Work pattern into even the smallest space
Whether you're looking for bedroom office ideas, or looking for ways to zone an office area out of an open-plan space, or simply designing a tiny home office, don't be afraid to introduce color. In fact, it can be integral to the room's success.
'Small areas are fun to style because they allow you to create an extra space. It’s those little in-between spots that can – if you’re clever – work harder and become places you want to stay in,' says interior designer and hotelier Kit Kemp.
'You can be really adventurous in a smaller space – it makes more of a statement. Color is a great way of breaking up a space and so is introducing a patterned wallpaper, such as on the back of a bookcase. If you then style it with some books and a few ornaments, it becomes a very decorative corner of the room.'
2. Make storage blend away
Open storage is the easiest to access in a home office, but it can mean the room looks messy. So, if you can put the storage shelves in a space that's not immediately visible from the entrance to the room, you will instantly make a home office look more beautiful.
To make it blend away further, use a dark paint color that matches that of the walls.
In the entryway of this Georgian farmhouse decorated by Dunning & Everard, strong wallpaper by Lewis & Wood, understairs joinery in a rich olive and a comfortable armchair have transformed the space into a study with an area for reading and contemplation.
3. Swap an office chair for a stand-out seat
Of course office seating ideas should be comfortable, but that doesn't mean they should be characterless. Using a flash of color in a study helps create a buzz of energy which might otherwise be lacking when not surrounded by the humdrum of colleagues. The bold yellow chair introduces visual impact within the otherwise comfortable surrounds of this room by Kitesgrove.
'Placing a desk in front of a window creates a calming work environment, with plenty of light during the day and a lamp to use when working during the evening,' says Clara Ewart, head of design, Kitesgrove.
4. Swap out office furniture for vintage
A butterfly ceiling creates a distinctive design feature in this home office in a Grade II-listed house in London, decorated by interior designer Henry Prideaux, but it’s the elegant choice of furniture which adds interest to the room.
Sleek mid-century pieces cleverly interplay with the historic detailing such as the window shutters and cornicing.
‘The furniture was chosen to represent a Mad Men-style aesthetic,’ explains Henry. ‘The walls are softened with paper-backed linen and the rug links the colors together across the room.’
Note the beauty of the home office lighting ideas here; they are all about the visual impact.
5. Connect with nature
There's nowhere that needs a connection to nature more than a home office. If you can see greenery outdoors, you will feel calmer. You can heighten the effect with decor with a nature-inspired theme.
This studio in the home of creative director of Blake Ldn, Alice Byrom, features an all-over leaf pattern and green joinery. ‘As it looks out onto the garden, I wanted to incorporate that somehow, so used Sanderson trailing ivy wallpaper,’ she told the team at Partnership Editions.
6. Hide the practicalities
Hidden desk ideas can range from a desk in a closet right through to an entire area of an open-plan room divided off by a pair of luxurious drapes. In this home office by Victoria Sass of Prospect Refuge Studio, the drapes are rarely drawn, but the half-hidden look makes the storage feel more decorative and curated. And this clever technique can be applied your home office desk ideas; it's a useful trick for anyone who can never, ever get on top of organizing a desk.
7. Work in a reading nook
A beautiful armchair will instantly make your home office look more beautiful because it will feel more like a living space and less like a work room.
'If you're looking for reading nook ideas and opportunities, try to work one into a corner near the window where light will be useful, and the chair will look naturally positioned,' says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief. 'As you can see from the beautiful home office/library above, you can make bookshelf ideas come alive by making them part of the architecture. Painting them the exact shade of the armchair helps make the space feel calm, a haven.'
How can I make my home office look pretty?
To make a home office look pretty, ensure you swap out 'office furniture' for pieces you would happily have in your living room. Yes, they should be comfortable, but they should be beautiful, too. Pick out wall colors that are calming (green and blue are perfect) and paint storage the same shade. Work in pattern, whether in wallpaper or window treatments, or both, and accessorize just like you would in the rest of your home.
Making a home office beautiful is largely about choosing a design for it that reflects that of the rest of your home. It means not shying away from pattern and color, and accessorizing just as generously. But it's also about hiding away clutter, which means maximizing storage and, of course, keeping your desk tidy.
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Arabella is a freelance journalist writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites including Homes & Gardens, Country Life, The Telegraph and The Times. For many years she has specialized in writing about property and interiors, but she began her career in the early 2000s working on the newly launched Country Life website, covering anything from competitions to find the nation’s prettiest vicarage to the plight of rural post offices.
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