There are a lot of things to think through when designing a home office. Whether you use the space to work full time from home or just as an organizational hub for volunteer and household activities, it needs to be functional. BUT it also needs to be attractive - especially if it is adjacent to the public rooms in the house.
Plan your layout for function
We talked about this already…I wrote THIS POST last year with a list of some of the things you should think through when planning an office layout. With careful planning and the right layout, the office can even do double duty as a library, media room, or dining space. See THIS POST for some great dining room/office combo inspiration. The most natural combination is library/office…since libraries offer shelf and book space and most offices need at least SOME shelf space. Besides, it’s kind of inspiring to work surrounded by books. Bookshelves with lower cabinets offer hidden storage for all the files, printer, and office supplies that are usually involved in a home office, and a wall of storage can often incorporate a credenza to house a desktop computer if that is a necessity for you.
Many of the images of offices that I find appealing follow the same sort of layout - a furniture piece or built-in bookcase wall (or three) with a floating desk. If you have storage available in a piece behind the desk, then you can often get by with a pretty writing table as a work surface.
Below is an ooooold picture I that I saved a long time ago of a gorgeous office. It is obviously styled for photography more than set up for function in the image, but the elements to make it functional are there and it is so darn pretty. It belongs to Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen. She had just moved her “office” out of a built-in desk in the kitchen…remember those? It was THE thing, back in the dark ages, as a sort of command center for the busy mother who apparently was never allowed to leave the kitchen. In any case, Brooke was moving to this gorgeous space in the sunroom. The desk is from Tritter Feefer and the pendant lantern from Wisteria. I love the idea of a chandelier or lantern over a floating desk, and it solves the cord problem of a desk lamp in this sort of layout. The lantern pictured is no longer available BTW, I checked, but Tritter Feefer is still making that desk!
Sunroom Office of Brooke Giannetti (2009)
Plan your lighting with multiple light sources
Here is a library/office from the Southern Living Showcase Home by Hatcliff Construction. The deep navy on the walls has a bit of a sheen which keeps the dark color from absorbing all the light. The rich woods of the furnishings look spectacular against the blue, and the built-in has library/picture lights along the top. This is an excellent way to add some accent lighting to a room with built-ins.
Another alternative to picture lights or articulated arm sconces above the shelves, is sconces placed on the vertical stiles between the bookcases like the ones in David Hicks marvelous library shown below.
Some favorite lighting options shown below (click each the image for more information)
Pay careful attention to the details - these are the things that will make working here a pleasure!
We are currently working on a home office design as part of a larger project. The office is a small space adjacent to the living room, separated only by an open archway. It will be a library/office space and serve as part of the entertaining area when our client hosts parties. She fell in love with the inspiration image we found (shown below). There is something SO appealing about a windowseat nestled between bookcases, even though it is likely no one will ever sit on it, except maybe the cat, since it is too small and narrow for lounging. Another thing to note here is the wallpaper lining the backs of the bookshelves - an opportunity for a bit of subtle texture and pattern and accent color that adds another layer of richness to the room. For foolproof blue paint colors and another gorgeous dark blue library, see THIS POST.
If using furniture pieces instead of built-ins, an alternative to a windowseat might be a chic bar cart under a window and reading chairs in front of the bookcases if space permits. Below is a mood board for a functional and pretty library/office in shades of blue and ivory with warm woods and gold accents.
Here are some other fabulous desks and writing tables I found (click on each image for more information). They include a marble topped oval desk with a wrought iron base that reminds me of a pastry table from a Parisian bakery, a sleek gold and glass desk, and an eglomise mirrored writing table that would be equally at home in a glam office or in a master bedroom suite as a vanity!
Light and bright offices are beautiful too. The one below features soft pastel colors and a built-in with shelves, storage and a credenza in a room flooded with natural light.
Splurge on some things and save on others
Splurge on a great desk chair and on a comfy reading chair if you plan to use the room as a library space. Splurge on furnishings and built-ins that make the room as functional and efficient as possible. Save on guest chairs like the really inexpensive slipcovered one shown below - it has great lines and a washable slipcover. Cheap chairs won’t stand up to the heavy wear and tear of constant use, but for an occasional guest to sit in you don’t need it to.
Here are some chairs and stools with great style and reasonable pricing (click on each image for details). The swivel desk chairs and spool chair are all available in a variety of fabrics and wood finishes. I included the bamboo accent chair because it has such great lines - and wouldn’t it be fabulous with the bamboo chandelier from earlier in a combo office/dining room space? And the rope and seagrass stools would add great texture and a casual vibe to any space…unless you have the aforementioned cat, in which case they are destined to become scratching posts!
It’s time to get your home office ready for a beautiful and productive 2019!
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