You don't need an expansive layout to create a functional home office. Use these tips to design an office that stylishly handles every task at hand.

By Ann Wilson and Jessica Bennett
Updated July 30, 2020
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A home office, whether tucked into a kitchen corner or encompassing a purposefully designated room, often handles multiple operations. It might serve as a hub for remote work, a spot to store paperwork, or a homework station for kids. Because these spaces typically juggle a number of activities (and family members), it's important to consider function as you plan your home office design. Who will be the primary user? What duties will it support? Make a list of the items, documents, and files you'll need to store, plus the equipment, furnishings, and supplies required to successfully complete all jobs. With this list in mind, assess your home's interior to find the right space for your workstation.

Kritsada Panichgul

Home Office Location Ideas

If you're lucky, you might have an unoccupied bedroom or a rarely visited guest room that can supply space for a home office. If not, look to underused closets, isolated corners, and empty walls or bay windows. Even a small niche can serve as an office when outfitted with a desktop surface and storage. Make sure the area is equipped with overhead lighting and includes electrical outlets for computers, printers, phone chargers, and task lights. If you'll be using DSL Internet service, you will also need an active phone jack. Utilize stretches of wall space for hanging cabinets, bulletin boards, or shelves, and if possible, choose a spot with windows that let in views and light.

David Tsay

Home Office Furniture and Storage

Measure your space and sketch out a plan that incorporates a work surface, storage pieces, and display areas. Opt for a home office desk equipped with file drawers. You can also top two file cabinets with cut-to-fit stock countertop to create a DIY desk. Or get a vintage look by moving in a farm or library table large enough to house a keyboard and computer screen, file organizers, and in-progress projects.

Select a desk chair that is compatible with the style of other home office furniture. If you spend hours sitting at the computer, spring for an ergonomic desk chair equipped with wheels and an adjustable seat. Stretch the office's purpose by including colorful upholstered seating that can accommodate business clients, kids' comrades, and solitary hours.

Extend your storage reach by mounting shelves that take advantage of the full height of a wall or by hanging cabinets above your workstation. If there's extra floor space, bring in bookcases to store work materials and control incoming and outgoing paperwork. Consider repurposing other furniture pieces (like trunks, nightstands, and end tables) as stands for printers, computer equipment, and stackable organizers.

David Tsay

Home Office Design Ideas

Home office decorating ideas don't have to be utilitarian. Personalize your home office by laying down a plush area rug, displaying favorite collections, and using organizers in appealing colors and interesting textures. Hang a framed magnetic chalkboard or a fabric-covered bulletin board to post memos and show off inspirational mementos that double as artworks.

Before you stock up on baskets, bins, boxes, and binders, determine the types of documents, office supplies, and modern media you need to store and keep accessible. Gather similar items to determine what organizers will work best, then shop for the finest-looking types you can afford.

You can also repurpose pretty possessions such as silver trophies, vintage toolboxes, or vases to hold paper clips, pens, scissors, and other work and art supplies. Use colorful baskets to hold rolled-up sketches, blueprints, and wrapping paper rolls. Take advantage of lidded boxes in a fun pattern or color to hold other home office essentials, such as extra printer ink, copy paper, photo paper, and file folders.

Keep function and style in mind when decorating your home office to create a space that is personal, attractive, and efficient, no matter the task at hand.

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