Five Things To Consider When Designing Your Home Office

home office of the future with walls of glass and open space
The pandemic has changed the way we work forever, including the evolution of the home office.

The pandemic has changed the way we work forever, and many of us are now working from home permanently. This makes having a separate home office appealing for many and essential for some. The home office can also potentially increase a property’s value, as recent trends in the real estate market show.

But a home office should never look like the real thing—an industrial or commercial space. Instead, it should complement the rest of the home’s design scheme. So skip those mesh chairs and metal desks, and create a space where you like spending time. Here are five things to think about when designing a home office.

contemporary white office in a santa monica home

Working with a smaller space? This Santa Monica home office uses a large wall mirror to give the room volume. (Hilton & Hyland)

Add A Mirror To Make The Space Feel Larger

The good thing about home offices is that, unlike a home gym, designing one of these spaces doesn’t require much square footage. You really just need room for a desk and a chair. Still, these spaces can feel cramped, especially if you work from home full time.

Installing a mirror can be an easy solution to this problem because it gives the illusion of having a larger space.

A floor mirror was used in the office of this beautiful home in Santa Monica, California. However, if you’re not into floor mirrors, a more oversized wall mirror will have the same effect. A stylish mirror can also be an alternative to art.

narrow office with white builtins and cabinets with gold pulls

Built-ins lend a sophisticated touch to any home office. This Toronto home office beautifully pairs white built-ins with gold hardware. (Barry Cohen Homes)

Install Bookshelves And Built-Ins

Need some design inspiration? The built-ins in the home office of this stunning Toronto estate are incredibly sophisticated. The white cabinetry and gold hardware give the room a classic aesthetic that won’t go out of style anytime soon. The dark marble shelves pop and elevate the overall look. 

You can also combine both bookshelves and built-ins in the same room, as seen in this home office of this lovely Edwards, Colorado, home. It certainly makes this space look more interesting than using built-ins alone would.

colorado home office with wood built-ins and tree views

Bookshelves and built-ins can also be combined, as you can see in the home office of this Edwards, Colorado, residence. (Slifer, Smith & Frampton Real Estate)

Remember, bookshelves and built-ins aren’t just for books. You can also use them to display everything from picture frames to art, statues, and other types of decor.

rustic home office with half moon-shaped desk and vaulted ceilings

A half-circle desk serves as the centerpiece of this home office in Goleta, California. (Village Properties)

Choose A Half-Circle Desk

The desk is the most important piece of home office furniture you’ll need to buy in terms of design. While most desks have a rectangle shape, a half-circle desk is a far more stylish alternative, as seen in this fabulous equestrian estate in Goleta, California. The eye is immediately drawn to the bold piece of furniture. 

Half-circle desks have other advantages as well. They are generally on the larger side, so they work well in big spaces. They’re also a smart choice if you have multiple computer monitors or need to have several devices out simultaneously.

typical home office with desk and rug

An accent rug is used to warm up the home office inside this Spanish-style home in Hollywood. (Hilton & Hyland)

Don’t Forget A Rug

No home office is complete without a rug. They’re the cherry on top of the design sundae. Not only do rugs warm up a space and create texture, but they help define spaces within a room. We see in the home office of this wonderful Spanish-style home in the heart of Hollywood, California. 

Keep in mind that rugs can also be just as practical as they are aesthetically pleasing. Rugs are a great way to prevent chairs from scratching new floors. They can also provide traction underneath a standard swivel office chair, so it doesn’t slide. 

small office desk at the top of stairs

A home office can often be incorporated into a secondary space. For example, this Colorado home features a small creative space at the top of the stairs. (Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate)

Blend Your Home Office Into Your Home

One major design mistake many people make is choosing the same furniture pieces for a home office as they would a commercial office. Your home office is still part of your home, and the room’s design should complement the rest of the furniture and decor. 

This particularly applies to home offices that aren’t separate rooms, as seen at this Avon, Colorado, mountain retreat. The warm wood mid-century modern desk and chair seamlessly blend, creating a beautiful nook for productivity.

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I am a writer, design expert, host of the podcast Bougie Adjacent, and comedic performer. I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of décor and design. It once took me six months to choose a soap dispenser and I can’t even remember what it looked like. I like bright prints, southern exposure and any location you can call a “village or town.” There are currently over 100 episodes of House Hunters on my DVR.