In April thousands of office jobs turned into remote jobs. Imagine your boss tells you one day that you no longer need to come into the office and that you’ll be working from home for the next couple of months. Sounds great, right? No more sitting in morning and afternoon traffic. No distracting coworkers. Even better, no dress code! Pajamas all day!
A week into working from home, you start realizing you’re not getting any work done. You can’t stay focused, and that dining room chair is doing a number on your back. It’s only a matter of time before you start dreaming of going back to the office. This can all be remedied by creating a home office that offers you the structure that you need to stay productive.
Unless you’ve been working remotely all along, it’s likely your home office is a bit lackluster. After more than four weeks of working from home, I've found ways to stay productive. But I've also done a lot of daydreaming about my ideal home office. Here are some tips, tricks, and inspiration for improving your own home office, whether it's through minor tweaks or a comprehensive remodel.
Read on for the lowdown on a few of the major varieties of home office and inspiring examples of home office design.
The first and perhaps the best style of home office is one that is completely separate from the rest of the house. Having a completely separate space is ideal because you can completely isolate yourself and dive into your work.
This type of office can also have a different decor style than the rest of your home. Different office decor themes invoke different moods. A minimalist or a mid-century modern office can help you stay focused with its open, airy, and sleek environment. Urban industrial design is a great balance between minimalist and mid-century modern, with a bit of a spark. If you’re an artist, a creative and inspiring office or studio space is what you’ll be looking for.
An office is a retreat, where we can turn family mode off and work mode on. Having an office decor that is different from the rest of your home can help turn your focus from everyday concerns and get you into a productive frame of mind.
Let's take a look at some examples of private home office spaces. Seclusion is key, and these spaces definitely provide a welcoming work sanctuary.
The modern office
This modern and moody office design has a distinctly executive feel. The raised wood wall not only adds texture and depth but helps reduce echo, providing a quiet work environment.
This minimalist design keeps your work place distraction free. I like how the blocky desk design is carried through to the cabinetry and cubbies. It's a striking design that is also perfectly functional.
Travel to Hong Kong for the day with this modern, Asian-inspired home office design. The painted screen provides a stunning backdrop, and the rich carpet adds a lovely geometric pattern.
With sunlight streaming through the windows and crisp white surfaces, this modern and clean home office is totally inviting. The wallpapered ceiling and brass Sputnik chandelier make it special.
Here's another example of a beautiful home office space that was taken to the next level with a creative lighting fixture choice. It strikes just the right balance between work and fun.
Sliding doorThibault BuildersThis office, which adjoins the living room, can be totally secluded simply by sliding closed the distressed wooden doors. When work is done, the doors can be opened, and it makes the living room space feel more open and airy.
When it comes to productivity, you can't underestimate the positive effects of abundant natural light. The corner desk in this casual, crafty maker space is placed perfectly to catch some rays.
Stairway to heaven
Here is another lovely office that's tucked into a corner next to a stairwell, making excellent use of this sometimes underutilized space. It's not totally secluded from the rest of the home, but the open feel and high ceilings are welcome features.
I like how this floating desk and adjacent shelving both share the same design and unique bamboo plywood material. It leads to an abundance of work and storage space that flow together in a pleasing way.
This playful home office goes big on the pink and brass accents. It also shows how you can position an L-shaped desk opposite the corner of the room to create a different feel for your work area. It's a great layout for people who expect to meet with people at home.
This mashup of industrial and library decor themes features exposed brick and a library wall. It's a playful take on the classic study.
If you can't, or don't want to, dedicate an entire room of your home to an office, you still have many options to carve out some workspace. You can place a regular or L-shaped desk in the corner or along a wall of nearly any room. L-shaped corner offices are particularly nice because they give you an ensconced feeling, even though they are open to the rest of the room. They also have more work and storage area, but be careful they don't visually overwhelm the rest of the room or become a magnet for clutter. While these spaces are not as private as dedicated home office rooms, they can be perfect for those who need to spend a little time on the computer but don't want to be totally disconnected from the rest of the family.
If you have even less space to work with, an office nook is a great option. Nooks can be added to kitchens and even closets. A closet nook could be a great weekend DIY project and can be tucked away when not in use. This works perfectly in small studios and condos and is best for those who just need a space for paying bills and doing some online shopping.
The downside to a nook is that it offers little to no privacy, putting you at greater risk for getting distracted by the kids, pets, or your partner. However, the drawbacks of an office nook can be balanced with “desk rules,” such as limiting non-work-related objects on the desk space, putting locks on social media apps, and setting a time for desk tidying to clear clutter and to reset your mind.
Office in kitchen
With plenty of storage and a drawer for every family member, this office nook in the kitchen has become the hub of family activity for our clients. A cork surface behind the desk is the perfect spot to pin up calendars, school schedules, and other important family documents.
A bedroom can be a great place for a home office because it is not generally in use during working hours. If you have a guest bedroom that has a space for a desk, that can be even better.
Sometimes all you need is a little landing pad in the kitchen to drop the mail or fire up your laptop for a moment while you drink your morning coffee. I love the cute subway tile against the live-edge desktop.
People under the stairs
Take advantage of the space under your stairs with a hidden office nook. This tiny office is neatly tucked away without feeling constricting or cramped.
This work area blends into the kitchen space, sharing the same cabinet design and countertop material. It's the perfect location to grab a cup of coffee, quickly open mail, check email, or pay bills.
When you open these bi-fold closet doors, you get a surprise: A mid-century modern office, complete with a mobile-style chandelier.
Office off the dining room
An office nook located off the dining room can offer more privacy than a kitchen, since it's usually the least-used room in your home.
The use of baskets helps keep this desk space clean and organized while offering natural tones to this contemporary look.
Our clients wanted a place to do household tasks and their kids to do homework, but they didn't want to be disconnected from the family. We designed this tiny office nook that shares space with the mudroom, off the kitchen. It proves that a successful home office can be placed just about anywhere!
Enhancing work performance at home
The location of your home office plays a big role in the motivation and productivity you feel while working from home. Location isn’t everything though. Many other things can have a huge affect on your home-work performance.
- Natural light: Sunlight helps reduce eye fatigue and can prevent headaches. A little boost of vitamin D can also leave you feeling more energized.
- Physical boundaries: Remember, physical boundaries equal mental boundaries. Simply closing your office door or facing your desk away from the action can help flip the switch in your brain to work mode.
- Posture: Desk chairs play a huge support role in your work day. If you don’t have the right type of chair or your desk is mounted too high or too low, it can lead to bad posture, which can give you tension headaches and backaches. Good posture promotes productivity.
- Organization: Staying organized helps you find things faster and keeps your workspace and mind free of clutter. You can achieve better organization with hanging baskets, rail systems with hooks, and drawer inserts.
Every homeowner needs an office. Whether you’re sitting down twice a month to pay the bills, studying for classes, or working remotely, you need a designated workspace for optimal productivity.
I hope these images of home offices have been inspiring. If you’re considering remodeling your home, creating an office space could be the perfect addition. Get in touch with us to start making your home office dreams come to life.
This image roundup post features photos from CRD Design Build, as well as other amazing designers, bloggers, and contractors. Please reach out to us to have any of the images removed. We would be happy to do so.