While many homeowners tend to obsess over every detail in their living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens, it’s easy to neglect the den or home office. More often than not, it’s tucked away in a corner where guests won’t see it, causing it to get overlooked during the decor process.
However, designing a comfortable, warm, personalized home office is essential if you want to be as productive as possible. Beat procaffeination by creating a space you actually want to work in with these tips from professional designers:
1. Select the right space
Lara Cupido, Project Designer at LUX Design, said it’s crucial to choose the right spot for your home office. She explained that selecting a space that’s pleasant and cozy to work in is paramount if you’re planning on spending long periods of time there.
“I would say one of the most important things is to make sure you’re selecting a space that’s near natural light, so a window if possible because we always smile with a little bit of sunlight and scenery,” she said. “But if there’s no natural light available in your space, lighting is very important. Always make sure that there’s sufficient light for the space.”
2. Keep it clean with subtle pops
Liberty Central Phase 2 model home. Photo: James Bombales
Cupido also suggested incorporating subtle pops of color and texture into a home office. She recommended designing a cohesive, all-white space with jaunty accent pieces to break up the look and create a cheerful atmosphere.
“What I would suggest is to keep the color consistent throughout your home, but if you have a pop of color in the family room or kitchen, you can take that color and do it on one wall in your office,” she said. “I also like the idea of bringing in textured wallpaper for an accent wall or for the space in between floating shelves.”
While Cupido advocated for pops of color, she said that they should be balanced out by clean, minimalist spaces throughout.
“It’s best to have one shelf with boxes and one with decorative items to have that breathing area visually. I think that when you’re clean and organized, you have more of a clear mind to work,” she explained.
Photo: Maegan Tintari/Flickr
To dial down visual noise even more, Cupido suggested maintaining a consistent look and feel using light colors. Storage solutions are also key for maintaining a clean, organized structure for the space.
“You don’t want a big bulky desk with dark woods. Light woods or white will help to keep it light and airy. Drawers are also very helpful just to keep those smaller items off the surfaces,” she advised.
3. Infuse it with inspiration
Ryan Martin, Principal Designer at Croma Design Inc., said that a home office should be infused with personal elements like photos or images that represent your ultimate goals like a (gasp!) real-life Pinterest board.
“One of the things that we like to do is make it inspirational, so that might mean that you have a map on the wall with pins of all the places you want to visit, an art piece you collected on a trip, or maybe a wall of family photos,” he said. “It’s nice to look at and it gives you that driving push you need while you’re working.”
4. Choose the right chair
Photo: Nick Keppol/Flickr
Martin also emphasized the importance of purchasing a comfortable chair for your home office to encourage productivity and good posture. He and the team at Croma have a few favourites that they share with their clients.
“At Croma, we have a chair that we really love. It’s called the You Chair by Allseating and it’s the perfect blend of comfort and support, so you don’t get fatigued if you’re sitting in it for a long period of time, but it doesn’t encourage you to slouch and give you bad posture,” he explained. “It’s not the most expensive chair out there but it’s not the least expensive either, so for us, it’s a good middle ground.”
5. Cozify your corner
Martin also suggested that a home office should be just that: homey. He explained that balancing necessary items like staplers with decorative objects is an easy way to make the room both functional and intimate.
“The main point is to not pretend that your home office is a commercial office, so here you’re not after something that’s hard-lined and brightly-lit. Go for something that’s more pleasant and more cozy by mixing keepsakes like coffee table books or terrariums with the utilitarian items you need on your desk, and it all becomes sort of artful,” he said.
6. Expand your area
Often, home offices are relegated to small, cramped rooms like dens or even closets. Joanne Chan, Principal Designer at SDI Interior Design and Project Coordination, had a few tricks up her sleeve for making a small space feel larger.
“Sometimes, we have clients that have a space that doesn’t get much daylight and it looks like a dungeon, so to remedy that, we mount decorative glass panels that light up or have reflective surfaces on the wall. It makes it feel bigger and brighter because it’s sort of like a pretend window,” she explained.
7. Free up your floor space
Chan also suggested using multi-purpose furniture for small home offices. She said they can be especially useful for homeowners looking to create a workspace that doubles as a playroom for kids.
“A lot of products are coming out like close-away desks. Imagine a murphy bed but a desk. Resource Furniture does great hideaway desks,” she said.