As a freelance designer, I’ve worked from home for nearly my entire career, which is stacking up to be over ten years. I won’t lie – it’s taken me a long time to get in my groove of working in the same space we live in while still being productive and not just taking over the dining room table or, erm, the sofa(although it’s tempting). There was one year at Christmas when the entire living room, dining room, and kitchen were consumed with all the holiday orders I was shipping out for my shop and I thought we were all going to go bonkers. By the time January rolled around, my husband and I agreed: the office had to have its own space.
I’ve finally carved out the perfect office space that meets all my needs – clean, colorful, plenty of light, and away from the main part of our living space. In our house, this is our upstairs bonus room. I’ve combined a play space for my son with a work space for me so we can be together (when he’s not in school) because I didn’t want to feel completely isolated and I wanted him to also feel like he was a part of it. We’re over a year into this particular arrangement, and it’s worked out beautifully. I’m able to stay focused on the work that needs to be accomplished, but I’m also able to include my child and still keep some sense of order in the other primary living spaces of the house.
When I was imagining how this space would turn out, I turned to my favorite place for inspiration: Pinterest! And I realized from the overall collection that I needed a room that was grounded in white (white walls, white furniture) but with pops of color. I know myself – I get bored quickly and need to change things up. So by adding color through accessories, it’s a low-risk and low-cost way to try out a new look. I also needed a big huge desk space so I could spread out with my computer and a sketchbook. Bookshelves and drawer units were also a must. And to be honest, Ikea was the perfect place to find some key pieces that fit the budget, overall look, and function that I needed.
If you’re creating your home office, think about what your specific needs will be. Do you need to store inventory, or books, or maybe lots of files? Will technology such as computers and printers need to be handy? What’s the mood you want to set for the space: calm and serene or energetic and inspiring? Look for cute storage bins and boxes and even unconventional items such as coffee mugs to hold things like pens and pencils.
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come all together immediately; it takes time to create a system that works for you and your family. In the meantime, get some inspiration from some of my current faves –
TREND: Strong colors and patterns, mixed together
This office uses elements that are anything but subtle (see: hot pink chair, zebra-print ottoman, et all), but mixes them together in a way that looks cohesive and even calm. The key is sticking with a tried and true color palette like the preppy staple of pink and green, and then punching it up with bolder versions of that color within the room. Then just vary the textures and scale of patterns, and you’ve got a winning room.
You can get a similar look with the items below.
- Alisha Ottoman Bench, Walmart
- Geo Zipper Orange Drum Shade Pendant, Shades of Light
- Billy Bookcase (with a DIY plywood overlay), IKEA
- Croft and Barrow Outdoor Pillow, Kohl’s
- I Like Big Books and I Can Not Lie Print, Theloveshop
- Reid Adjustable Desk Lamp, Lumens.com
- Rose Silk Paint, Benjamin Moore
- Baby Seal Black Paint, Benjamin Moore
- Jacqui Console/Desk, Bungalow 5
- Peonies for the Table Print, Pratt Creek Art
- Fuchsia Nina Chair, Cost Plus World Market
- Slim Coffee Table, Room & Board
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely