During these uncertain times with more of us now working from home, the need for a dedicated workspace is greater than ever. For some, this might be an entire room given over to a home office, or it might be a carefully designed work zone within a sitting room or hallway. Whatever the scale of the project, the key is to create a functional, comfortable and inspiring place in which to work. We’ve created many stylish home offices over the years for our discerning clients. Here, we share our top tips on how to create the ultimate home office.
If you don’t have the space for a dedicated home office, why not create a stylish workspace in a corner of the sitting room or under the stairs? A built-in desk and shelving can be integrated seamlessly into a living room to create a work ‘zone’ which blends in with the rest of the room. In our Eaton Mews North project, the desk area in the open-plan sitting room makes a real statement with its retro leather chair, industrial-style desk and neon artwork.
A more discreet solution can be achieved with the use of a pocket door which slides across to conceal the work station when not in use. This approach worked brilliantly in our Richmond project in which we created a long, bench-style desk along one wall of the large living area. A beautiful, timber door slides back to reveal elegant painted cabinetry complete with cupboards, shelving and plenty of space in which to work.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this is a home office, not a soulless corporate space, so your choice of furniture and fittings needs to reflect this. Avoid hard edges where possible and introduce interesting textures such as leather, velvet and antique brass to create a ‘lived in’ look.
Elements such as cherished artworks or mementos from your travels can make your workspace feel more homely, as can a soothing colour scheme, cosy cushions and a textured rug.
In our Richmond project, the client was initially reluctant to embrace colour for his study, but in the end he put his faith in our design team and the walls became a deep, chocolate brown. This rich colour palette teams well with the bespoke dark timber joinery, and the light linen desk top provides contrast and texture. To continue the opulent theme, we added a thick loop area rug and an animal print visitor’s chair.
When it comes to furniture for a home office, we prefer to seek out pieces which don’t look too ‘officey’. That way they blend in more naturally with the home aesthetic. Both Vitra and Amara have a great selection of stylish chairs which are practical enough to work in a home office environment. One of our favourites at the moment is Amara’s Masters Chair (£167) which is made from black polypropylene and features a simple but distinctive curved design. We also love Vitra’s swivel Aluminium Chair (£2,252) which comes in black, grey or white.
Vitra Aliminium Chair in black, Compas Direction Cork Stool, Eames House Bird, vitra.com
Amara Kartell Masters Chair, amara.com
Efficient storage solutions are essential for a home office because a clutter-free workspace will inspire you to tackle that to-do list without distractions. Here at RWD, we tend to favour bespoke joinery to create streamlined storage which blends in with the rest of the home interior. If you have the height in your home office, we advise floor-to-ceiling shelving to maximise storage. Bespoke library shelving is wonderfully stylish as well as practical. A ladder can be included to access the higher shelves which – as well as being functional – adds a unique design feature.
It’s also important to think about stylish accessories for the desk itself. Books and collectibles will add character and visual interest, and a beautiful pot plant – real or faux – will add a welcome hit of greenery. When it comes to useful storage items for the desk, Amara’s faux crocodile range has really caught our eye. The black Rectangular Desk Box with a gold trim (£205) is gorgeously tactile, as is the pen pot / pencil holder (£85) and desk tray (£160).
Getting the lighting right is essential to achieving optimum productivity in a home office, and it’s also crucial in terms of setting the mood and tone of the space. The primary level of light (ambient lighting) should provide a comfortable level of brightness. To ensure a good distribution of light, we recommend a central pendant light or ceiling spotlights.
When it comes to task lighting, an anglepoise lamp is a great option as is a more decorative choice such as Porta Romana’s elegant Miro lamp (£1,194) with its gold, sculptural base. Strips of LED lighting can also be used inside shelving to great effect, illuminating your books and decorative objets to bring warmth and character to your workspace.