I’m fortunate to be able to meet home office professionals around the country, and whenever I see a home office I like, I ask – or sometimes bribe – the owner to let me take photos.
I’ll be sharing some of these photos – and breaking down their set-up and function – to help you learn easy tactics for improving your own home office space.
The Write Office
I met Michelle Newman at a writers’ conference and when she mentioned something about her home office, I asked if I could feature it on Working Naked. She gave me a strange look that was somewhere between What the Hell? and She doesn’t look like she runs a porn site. After I described the site to her, she quickly agreed. It helped that we were at a cocktail reception and the wine was flowing freely.
Writing can be boring, lonely, and challenging, so the right home office can make a difference between a space that sparks your creativity and one that makes you bang your head against the wall. Michelle Newman, a humor writer and columnist, has created a space that is not only inspiring, it’s comfortable and inviting. Michelle writes the phenomenally funny and insightful blog, You’re my favorite today, is a community contributor at Entertainment Weekly, and is a contributor to two books: I Just Want to Pee Alone and I Just Want to Be Alone. All of this writing, inspiration, and creativity comes from her beautiful home office in Minnesota.
Michelle makes every square inch of her home office count. The oak built-ins along one wall make full use of floor to ceiling space, and include plenty of room to display photos and store books. The cabinets below are ideal for stashing supplies or anything else that doesn’t need to be displayed openly.
Instead of using a traditional (boring) file cabinet to hold her printer and supplies that typically would be thrown into a desk drawer, Michelle uses a 3-tier basket shelf. Her drawer less desk is sleek and modern, and has enough space to hold her monitor and stacking trays. Hidden on each side of the desk is a small pullout tray. In between the built-ins and her desk is a club chair in a colorful floral pattern that picks up the soothing wall color. A comfortable chair next to the window is the perfect place to curl up with a book (electronic or the real deal) or relax while thinking of the next big idea.
Michelle spends her days making others laugh, but seriously, her office hits the trifecta of home offices: it’s full of style, it’s fabulous, and, best of all, it’s functional.
Click here to learn more about “Where the Magic Happens.”
For years I’ve said that the worst place for a home office is in a bedroom. The main reason is that it’s too hard to get away from work when your desk is only a few feet away from your bed. Ally Loprete’s home office changed my mind.
Her 10’ x 20’ office, in the back part of her bedroom, is separated from her bed by a large headboard/shelving unit. Not having a clear view of a home office can make it easier to keep business and personal life separate.
As a business coach for work-at-home parents, Ally is a master at inspiring her clients to stay focused on their goals. She follows her own advice by hanging motivational quotes above her desk. Her office also includes vision boards and a bulletin board filled with family photos.
While Ally’s bedroom serves double-duty as a home office, her home office serves double-duty as an art studio for her son. Rather than plaster his masterpieces all over the wall, she uses clothespins to attach them to a long string that hangs along one side of the space.
A Small, Yet Spacious Home Office
Do you know how some women can wear a paper bag and look gorgeous? My friend, Allen Hart, who is also an interior designer, can make any simple space look fabulous.
He recently moved and transformed a small home into a showcase. My favorite part of his home is, of course, his home office.
His design revolves around a huge, colorful, contemporary print above his desk. He has a completely paperless home office and stores everything electronically. That means he didn’t have to find room for a file cabinet. He found a creative place to store his all-in-one machine: under a sofa table.
The layout of Allen’s home office makes it easy to convert the space into a cozy conference room. When he has a client meeting, he pulls a table from the window to the center of the room, and then moves the chairs in front of and next to his desk to the table.
Each time Allen moves, he creates an even better, inspirational space. This one definitely is my favorite.
A Room With a View
A home office in a spare bedroom, closet or basement can help you be productive, especially if it’s organized, but it may not spark ideas or motivate you to work. A home office with a view, though, can inspire you to accomplish more than you thought you could.
Linda Cotter, founder of Delightful Purpose, works with clients to help them discover their purpose and passion again. Not only does she have a gorgeous view from her home office, she puts her view to work.
As she was sitting on her sofa one weekend working on her tele-course, “3 Days, 6 Ways to Get Your Spark Back,” her sliding doors inspired her. Linda looked out the doors and thought, “3 days (three doors) and 6 ways (cut them in half).” Then she grabbed window crayons and wrote an outline on the doors. If you look closely through the drapery, you can see several rows of notes.
Linda said that writing on her doors was liberating and opened up her thought process. So if you don’t have a view from your home office, consider working from another part of your home one or two days a week and don’t forget the window crayons.
Who says that a home office has to be dull and boring? If you love a sport, a hobby, or in this case, a state: Texas, there’s no reason your home office can’t reflect that passion. This western-themed office reflects its owner’s love of Texas and matches his design taste and personality, perfectly.
The cabinets flanking the credenza behind the desk feature iron bars instead of solid doors. In the middle of each door is a Texas star. Open cabinets aren’t for everyone — you can’t hide clutter —but solid doors would have overpowered the space with too much wood. There is additional storage room in the credenza.
The large (everything’s big in Texas!), dark, hand scraped wood desk with a Texas star on the front has two deep file drawers and smaller drawers to store supplies. With the desktop computer on the credenza, there’s plenty of workspace on the desk.
The sliding doors that would have fit perfectly in an old-time sheriff’s office, have canvas shades to give the owner a little privacy. This is especially helpful when he’s working, as his home office is next to the front door.
I give this office a gold star…actually, a Texas star.
Keeping the Family Organized
During the past few years I’ve featured home offices that range from traditional spaces to art studios. One type of office I haven’t included on this site, until now, is a family communication center.
For some of us, running a household can be just as challenging as running a business. Keeping that in mind, having a central place to run a home is important.
My friend, Melinda Miles, designed this room for one of her clients. This family communication center also doubles as a craft room. The owner stores her wireless printer behind one of the cabinets and uses a laptop to make it easier to work anywhere in the space. The center island, topped with granite, is perfect for creating crafts and spreading out large projects.
White upper and lower cabinets and drawers surround the room. There are also plenty of open slots and shelves to store supplies.
The owner’s favorite part of her home office is her comfortable window seat filled with patterned pillows. The owner asked for the window seat to give her a place to relax and catch up on books. She’s still waiting to find extra time to do that.
Ready for the Next Event
Being an event planner takes organizing skills, a good design sense and loads of creativity. Event planner Bill Robertson’s home office reflects those skills and more.
A few years ago Bill bought a home, and as part of the renovation he added a home office. His contemporary home office includes a functional U-shape workspace. He uses the surface to the right of his desk to hold his printers, and the shelves below to store extra paper. Behind his desk is a long credenza with plenty of file drawers and supply storage. The exposed, yet painted brick behind his credenza, blends in well with the overall design.
Across from his desk is a seating area that includes a few chairs and a sofa to meet with his staff. One of the best parts of his office is the row of windows that overlook his three-acre backyard. On nicer days, Bill works on his patio surrounded by beautiful landscaping.
Bill plans to expand his staff this year to handle his growing number of clients. Sounds like a good plan.
What do you do when you don’t cook or eat at home, but you need to set up a home office? You may do exactly what entrepreneur and author Mandy Williams (aka Black of Red & Black) did, and convert your dining room into a home office.
Mandy isn’t your traditional author or business owner and doesn’t take a conventional approach in her personal and business life. Her approximately 15.8′ x 15.7′ home office is the perfect example. She could have converted a spare bedroom, corner of a family room, or a formal living room into her workspace, but how conventional would that be?
Mandy’s well-hidden home office is still disguised as a dining room, thanks to the wall of wood. Unless you opened the cabinets, you’d never know that behind the Wenge wood doors are several file drawers along the bottom, a slide-out printer stand, and open shelving for storing loose-leaf binders and various office organizing boxes/sorters. She also has cubbyholes for paper, notepads and envelopes.
Her gorgeous custom-designed, glass-top table with a leather base looks like a dining table but can be used as a conference table or desk. Not unlike many dining rooms, Mandy’s office is filled with natural light (often the best in the home).
Not eating or cooking at home seems to be a good trade-off for a stunning home office.
A Working Naked Update
One of my favorite parts of this site is the All Dressed Up page. I feature all types of home offices to inspire you to change, update or tweak your own home office. The only problem with sorting through all of these photos of home offices that I’ve designed and others have designed, is that they make me want to change my own home office…often.
So, I’ve redesigned my home office again.
I started my home office makeover from the ground up, by adding a new rug with circles in different colors and sizes. Whether you pick an area rug, wall-to-wall carpeting, or keep the floor bare, keep sound reduction in mind to avoid the “cave effect” when you’re on the phone.
Normally, my next step would have been to pick out furniture, but since my furniture is fairly new I used the desk and bookcases I already had in my home office. My desk with a return gives me plenty of room for my laptop, external hard drive, all-in-one and lamp. I use the keyboard drawer to hold extra printer paper, and the cabinet that was meant to hold a CPU is perfect for storing extra supplies.
I bought two chairs at my favorite commercial furniture store. One is an animal print chair for reading, and the other is a tan desk chair. Behind and next to my reading chair are an iron floor lamp and a small round table.
I had installed the woven shade last year, but to soften the room I added striped drapery panels. The artwork that was next to the window was boring, so to add a bit of color and interest I found a print from a site that features works from independent artists. Rather than buy the print already framed, I had it framed locally.
Next, I replaced my ceiling fan (it came with the house) with a beautiful pendant. Then I added a few more things to my desk including a multi-circle frame and three jars to hold paper clips, rubber bands and markers.
My new home office is exactly the look I’ve wanted for awhile. It suits me perfectly for now, but I may need to stop looking at so many home office photos!
Creative and Clutter-Free
Some people think that if you’re creative, you can’t be organized. Watercolor artist Laura Trevey proves them wrong. Her perfectly organized yet creative art studio/home office includes a custom island designed by Laura, with shelves wide enough to store 26” x 40” watercolor paper. Most of the time the island is in the center of the room, but casters on the bottom of the island make it easy for Laura to move it anywhere.
It isn’t uncommon to create an inspiration board or wall, but one made from pegboard is ingenious. Laura installed a 5 ½’ x 8’ pegboard to showcase her inspiring watercolors, both framed and unframed. The pegboard, painted the same color as her walls, is framed with white trim.
On the wall across from her desk is a row of cabinets that she uses to store supplies. The floors of her art studio/home office are a light wood and are easy to clean, especially in the case of spilled paint.
Next to her Ikea desk, created by using two trestles and a glass, beveled edge top, is a rolling drawer unit that serves double-duty as a printer stand. Above her desk is one of her stunning, original watercolor paintings.
The next time you think creativity and organization don’t mix, consider Laura’s advice, “An organized office is a happy one.”
In this corner is Heather Anderson’s vintage home office that proves that with a little creativity, recycled materials and an eye for antiques, you can create a home office that’s a bit whimsical, functional, and, best of all, inexpensive.
With four kids at home, five years and younger, Heather set up her home office in the corner of her large dining room. She felt that it was “necessary to be near all the action.” Anyone with small children can relate.
Her 6 1/2′ x 2′ desk is made from a base she rescued from her kitchen. On the base is an antique door with a piece of glass on top to give her a smooth work surface. She cut out the drawers in the base to make room for her CPU and printer.
Above her desk is a hutch made out of 1’ x 8’ boards, with cubbies that hold her office supplies and products. She painted the hutch in a distressed gray after her facebook friends helped her decide which color to use. Next to her desk is a dresser to store more supplies.
In addition to using a black lunchbox to hide ugly cords — she cut a hole in each side— she uses a jar to hold business cards and has binders decorated with brown paper bags and antique lace.
As someone who loves to share her handmade creations and ideas, this home office reflects her personality, her creative talent and her ability to save money. The only cost for the entire project was the boards for her hutch.
A Lesson in Creativity
Some home offices reflect what their owners do, and when you look at Julie Fountain’s home office/studio with its colorful walls and containers overflowing with supplies, it’s clear she runs a creative, artistic business. As a lampworker and the owner of Lush Lampwork, Julie melts glass to make stunning beads and buttons. Checking out the designs on her Web site is like being a kid in a glass bead candy store.
For three years she worked in her covered porch but after she outgrew it, she hired a builder to convert her garage into a studio. Her 9′ x 13′ studio has a partition wall almost 5′ back from the overhead door, which leaves her with room for a general storage area.
Julie encourages visitors — students and past students come back to rent the equipment and work on their own projects — to bypass her house and come through the side gate, which brings them into a little graveled yard area. The studio door and window also open into the yard.
Across from her desk is a long work counter with a wavy mirror above it, and plenty of room below it to store equipment. The chrome stools with adjustable seats tuck out of the way when not being used.
Along with making jewelry and teaching lampworking to beginner and intermediate students, Julie travels to other studios to teach larger groups. That’s a longer commute than the few steps from her back door to her studio.
A Picture Perfect Home Office
What do you do when you have an upstairs lounge that you rarely use and you need to reclaim your guest room for its original purpose…for guests?
You can do what Paul Bamford did and create a gorgeous home office with plenty of space to work and relax. The best part of this Photoshop retoucher and photographer’s home office is that it didn’t cost a fortune to put together.
Paul created his desk from a door he painted white and $5 table legs he bought from Ikea. He attached a metal U channel to the back of his desk so the wires along the channel wouldn’t hang too low. The open cabinet to the left of his desk holds supplies, files and photography equipment for his freelance photography and graphic design work.
This spacious, streamlined home office does the perfect job of combining a hardworking home office with a place to unwind at the end of the day. And the beautiful Australian view from his home office is an added bonus.
(Photo by Paul Bamford)
Big Plans For a Small Office
Two years ago, Steve Reilly, a home-based architect and the founder of SLR Architecture, traded his home office for a nursery when his second child was born. He needed a new place to work. Faced with a choice between commuting to an office and paying $1,500 to $2,000 per month, or creating his own place to work, he chose the latter.
While Steve created his new home office — a small building in his backyard — he considered a few factors including how much space he truly needed, how he would build it and what materials he would use. Budget was also an important part of the equation.
Together with his father and father-in-law, Steve built a truly “green” home office using recycled lumber and a soy-based spray foam for insulation. By building green, he knew he would save money on utilities and building materials.
In his town, any structure over 120 square feet requires a permit, so Steve designed a structure that was only 9’x13’ or 117 square feet. Although his home office is small, he has made use of every square foot.
The long counter on one side of his office and the shelves above give him plenty of space to work and to store books, reference materials and supplies. Tucked below the counter are a few file cabinets that are easily accessible. There’s even room for floor-to-ceiling shelves and a drafting table.
The windows and door let in plenty of light and keep the space from feeling closed in. It’s important to have enough windows, but not so many windows that they eat up valuable wall space.
Steve’s innovative and well-designed home office has been featured on Renovation Nation. It’s impressive to see how quickly and efficiently they were able to build his new space.
“I am really proud of the way SLR Architecture’s studio turned out,” says Steve. “I get to be close to my family, save money and the environment.”
New Year, New Home Office
Some people spend New Year’s weekend relaxing, thinking about what’s ahead and maybe even nursing a hangover from the best New Year’s party ever. Not business and marketing coach, Debbie LaChusa.
Over the New Year’s weekend, she “seriously decluttered, repainted and redecorated” her home office.
The medals she earned from two marathons, the Minnie Mouse drawing by her daughter and the SUCCESS magazine cover autographed by Donald Trump, all hanging above her desk, inspire Debbie every day. Those personal items, along with a setup that’s functional and stylish, reflect her interests, personality and professionalism.
Her 10’ x 10’ home office used to be ivory-colored with a green accent wall. Now the walls are a soothing green with an ivory accent wall. The green containers on her newly cleared out bookcases not only tie in with the rest of the room, they provide extra storage.
Her favorite part of her home office is the fresh green paint, a new chair (a bargain from TJ Maxx), and her pared-down cherry wood bookcases. She took out two sections of the unit to open up more space in her office. Debbie also splurged on a new office chair because she spends so much time in it.
No doubt that this beautiful, well-organized office will make everyone a little green with envy.
A Home Office by the Numbers
What do you do when your spouse, a CPA, spends more time at the office than at home? You may do what Shari Nevelow did and hire your favorite contractor to create a home office with a wraparound workspace.
Not long after Nevelow’s contractor finished updating her kitchen, she hired him to design and build a home office with enough room for two people to work comfortably. The result is a hard-working home office that doubles as a homework space during the day and a CPA’s workspace at night.
The original office had an oversized desk that Nevelow offered to give to anyone who would haul it away. She knew she could make better use of the space by installing built-ins.
On the far left is a floor-to-ceiling bookcase with adjustable shelves. The left side of the room has open shelves above the work surface and the right side has open wall space for a bulletin board and photos. The lower drawers and cabinets store files, office supplies and equipment. Nevelow has so much storage space that several drawers are still empty. The small closet near the bo0kcase gives her additional storage room.
Nevelow’s plan paid off — her husband comes home earlier and works in his home office at night.
Native American Style
A home office doesn’t have to look anything like a corporate office — in fact, it shouldn’t. This colorful and interesting home office in a one-bedroom apartment in New Mexico, definitely avoids a corporate vibe and reflects its owner’s design tastes and interests.
His desk, created from a 1950’s sewing table, is surrounded by his Native American fine art collection. The screen behind his desk provides privacy from his neighbors who live on the same level across the way, and helps to filter the light on his computer screen. It also serves to make a “boring corner” a bit more interesting.
The long IKEA table to the right of his desk holds Paul’s printer and various reference materials, files and review copies of his current client’s book. He uses vintage art deco bookends to hold up everything to the far right.
The large basket under his desk is decorative and functional. He uses it to hold articles and other research material he wants to read.
Economics brought Paul home and he says that as his business grows and he takes on more projects, he may rent outside space. Considering the stunning Southwest sunrises and sunsets he sees from his balcony windows, making the decision to move out of his home office may be one he postpones for awhile.
The Perfect Work Circle
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can set up your home office to fit your working style. While your home office doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) look the same as someone else’s space, it’s important to set up your home office with function in mind.
This traditional home office is the perfect example of a “work circle” in action where everything the owner (Kim) needs is within reach. When you set up your home office with a work circle, you’ll avoid losing your focus, wasting time, and affecting your productivity.
The computer stand on the right holds Kim’s netbook, a docking station and an external monitor. Below, behind closed doors, is her all-in-one machine (printer, scanner, fax and copier), paper and extra ink cartridges.
The two-drawer cabinet on the left holds her family photos on top and files inside. Recently she reorganized her files and tossed (recycled) almost half of her business files. Some were out of date and others had information from former clients who were no longer in her territory.
Across from Kim’s desk is a built-in desk where she stores her television. On the shelves above the desk, she keeps supplies stored in baskets.
Kim takes time at the end of each day to put away files and plan for the next day. She gets a little help from her loyal assistant, Ziggy.
In another blog post, I mentioned that my home office radar is always on. My recent trip to Costa Rica was no exception. While my sons and I were waiting to go rappelling, I noticed the owner’s home office. I qualify this as a home office because the owner lives in apartments attached to his home office and the reception area.
The woman who works in the office told me that the owner spent several months finding the right (renewable) trees to cut down to use as dividers. Even the bookcases are made of wood found in the rain forest.
A Home Office With Function Built In
When your home office is in a spare bedroom, modular furniture is the ideal way to keep the room flexible, especially if you decide to use the space for something else. When you design a room in your home to be used only as a home office, built-ins are a good choice.
This home office is the perfect example. On one side of the room are a large, built-in oak desk and a three-drawer file cabinet. Along the opposite wall are oak bookshelves with storage cabinets below.
Bev, the small businesss owner who uses this home office more than the rest of her family, replaced the carpeting with oak hardwoods. In the middle of the room, her carpenter installed a diamond pattern made from three different types of hardwoods. Instead of using traditional drapery, she chose an oak arch that fits perfectly above the arched window. The large recliner by the window is the perfect place for her to take a break and catch up on a little reading.
This well-designed home office makes use of every square foot of space. And with the beautiful hardwoods surrounding the space, this is a home office built to last.
Wild About Business
The best words to describe the corporate headquarters for FamZoo are fun, functional and fabulous. This former guest bedroom under the stairs reflects owner Bill Dwight’s sense of play and his excitement for his online business.
Between the orange walls (Benjamin Moore Soft Glow) and paw prints climbing up the walls and across the ceiling, this isn’t your typical home office. But don’t be fooled by the whimsical look of this space. If you look closely, you’ll find plenty of organizing systems in place (yes, I tend to look at that first).
Dwight’s desk holds a laptop and two monitors, while his printer is off to the side and in the corner (the best place to put a printer because it’s out of the way but still accessible). His open hutch has room for a hanging file rack, books and personal photos. These items are within reach but aren’t cluttering his desk. The two-drawer file cabinet gives him additional storage space on top.
There’s even room in his home office for a “junior” work area complete with a small desk and a laptop for his kids to use. A tiger rug and tiger-striped draperies finish off the zoo-themed look.
Who needs a traditional home office when you can bring out your wild side and run a business from home?
A Home Office and Studio With a View
The All Dressed Up section normally features home offices and workspaces that are smaller than the rest of the home. In this case, the opposite it true. Artists Susan Blackwood and Howard Friedland, owners of Blackwood Friedland Studios, added a gorgeous studio/home office onto their original 1,800 square foot home, making their entire home 4,200 square feet. This creative couple took steps to make their new space in Bozeman, Montana functional, inspirational and even environmentally friendly including:
- Thinking ahead. During the planning stages, they designed a space that could be converted easily to a “mother-in-law” apartment or an apartment for a “boomerang family.” Above their studio is a loft that doubles as a guest room.
- Keeping the neighbors happy. They met several times with their neighborhood homeowners association to make sure their plans met with their neighbors’ approval. The neighbors love the couple’s studio/home office space and regularly come over during open houses.
- Taking advantage of the view. They added high north light windows (and a loft) so they could enjoy the best views from the house. The tall windows are controlled with blackout shades that lift from the bottom.
- Putting their home office in a central location. They placed the actual office space for bookkeeping, computing and other business related activities in the center of their home so they could access the space from their family room, living room, kitchen and studio. They also put the studio, home office and living spaces on one floor, giving Blackwood’s bad knees a break.
- Thinking green. They installed a floor made of a new material that has been used in hospitals and laboratories in Europe. It actually has negative ions that eliminate toxins in the studio. They also use radiant heating (hot water pipes in the floor) to give them evenly distributed heat. Their roof is perfectly sloped for solar collection that they hope to switch to one day.
A customized workspace with breathtaking views and plenty of room to work could get old for some, right? Not for these two. “Having the studio designed to our every needs is incredible,” says Blackwood. “It is such a joy to work and live here.” Well said.
Hidden Home Office
An “office-in-a-box” — a computer cabinet that holds files and equipment — is an ideal solution when you have limited space. An office-in-a-wall like this one (which sounds more interesting than a built-in storage unit), can help you make use of a shallow alcove. I designed this workspace to make the entire room look more like a sitting room/study than a traditional home office.
The cabinets on the left and right side hold equipment that hides easily behind closed doors while at the same time is simple to access with sliding shelves. The oak built-in shelves and drawers have plenty of room for books and files, and the smaller drawers on each side of the desk hold office supplies. The desk has doors that fold back when not in use and the under cabinet light provides the right amount of task lighting.
It’s amazing how changing the color of your home office can affect the look and feel of your workspace. Sheri McConnell’s home office is no exception. McConnell, CEO of Sheri McConnell Companies, Inc., took time during the Thanksgiving break to change her office from green to sky blue. The result? A fresh, stylish and functional home office.
Her 12’ x 14’ home office includes French doors and a large wooden table with plenty of workspace for two. The short bookcase along one side of the table holds notebooks and extra supplies…a creative and effective use of space. The bulletin board and large white board are functional but don’t take away from the overall look of the space, while the large piece of art next to the table ties in beautifully with the blue walls.
McConnell teaches her clients how to create long-lasting and profitable businesses. This office is a lesson in creating a space that combines style with creativity and organization.
The “Write” Office
Normally I write the posts for the All Dressed Up page but there’s no way I could describe Pat Curry’s office any better than she did in two blog posts.
In her first post, the freelance writer and editor gives a play-by-play of the steps she had to take to transform her formal dining room into a fully functional, warm and inviting home office. In her second post, Curry describes the rest of her project and shares some interesting shelving and accessory finds.
Who says hard work doesn’t pay off? This awesome home office is worth checking out.
Redoing a home office doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact Rebecca West of Rivalee Redesign transformed this home office from shabby to streamlined for only $700. Not a bad price to pay for a new look.
She reused her client’s desk chair, carpeting and bulletin boards which cut down on costs. Rebecca added interest to the office by attaching black foam core diamonds to the walls. The foam cutouts give the office added dimension and texture and they’re easy to move around until they’re in the right position. Another option would have been to paint directly on the wall but why not try something different?
A sleek look at a significant savings equals a stylish space.
A Designer’s Image
This not-so-typical home office resembles more of a cozy boutique than a hardworking home office. The colors, bold fabrics, patterns and nontraditional furniture give this space life and interest. Best of all, it’s functional too.
Formerly a master bedroom suite, this 16’ x 22’ home office, designed by image designer Alison Craig, practices what its owner preaches: high style and professionalism. Alison’s company, 3 Impressions, works with small and growing businesses on creating their overall image. Their image consulting ranges from how a staff dresses to how their workspaces look.
Alison’s challenge in designing her home office was being able to store product catalogs, products and samples that help her clients create a positive and consistent image for their businesses. Unlike some home offices where having a space to meet with clients is an afterthought, Alison designed her office with client meetings in mind.
In addition to a desk, her office includes a white drafting table with sawhorse legs. The long row of wall cabinets from Ikea holds various supplies, as do the mirrored dressers from Pier 1. The opaque doors on the cabinets and the dressers skillfully disguise what’s stored inside them.
Alison says that her office tends to be very eclectic which is great for creativity.
A Consultant’s Crib
This consultant’s sleek home office, designed by Kati Curtis, ASID, is a perfect example of how storage and style can go hand in hand. Starting with the clean lines of the built-ins and desk, to the creative use of shelves between the bookcases and window, this office is calm, colorful and cool.
Doubling as a guest room, the sofa bed makes it easy to convert this room from work to play in minutes. But a common challenge when a home office and guest room share the same space is securing confidential files. The frosted glass doors with built-in locks keep files secure and organized.
Rather than adding traditional wall-to-wall carpeting, Curtis used Flor carpet tiles. Formerly used only in commercial offices, Flor tiles are ideal for a home office, especially if you’re prone to spills. You simply replace the stained tile. The monitor in the corner makes glare from the window a non-issue.
This room wears many hats: a home office for the family to catch up on work, homework and volunteer work; a family room for TV and movie watching; and a guest room.
This beautifully designed, 12’ x 7’ space, created by interior designer Pat Gericke, was originally a kitchen which explains its narrowness. Pat’s challenge was to design a space with several functions that could provide the owners with a place to work, comfortably hold 6 people during TV or movie time, and serve as a guest room. The built-in maple cabinets and desk include opaque cabinet fronts. The fronts are an interesting design element that break up a wall of wood cabinets but don’t require the owners to keep everything behind the doors organized.
Pat says that the challenge with this room was its narrowness, which made it difficult for a normal size crew to fit in to do the work—most of the cabinetry was built in pieces off site. And she needed to make sure that everyone watching TV could actually see the screen. The guest bed she designed drops down horizontally—a typical Murphy bed comes down vertically—to avoid blocking the path in and out of the office.
Perfect example of a hardworking space that brings multi-tasking to a whole new level.
Built For Business
Storage, storage and more storage — style too — are the best words to describe this home office. The mahogany built-in bookcases and cabinets give this office a warm, inviting feeling, along with a traditional look. Normally I don’t recommend built-ins because they can hurt resale value but when they’re in a room specifically built to be a home office, then no problem.
The lit, recessed area between bookcases has enough room for a monitor, work surface, pullout keyboard and a CPU below. What’s missing? Cords. They snake throughout the built-in.
The desk provides another work surface to spread out papers. The directional lights above the desk eliminate the need for a desk lamp. Otherwise the owner would have to install floor plugs and either run the lamp cords under the rug or through it.
There’s enough room in the office for a reading chair and a side table to display personal items. And the window with an eastern exposure provides plenty of natural light in the morning.
Goodbye, guest room. Hello, study.
Take your left brain (the logical side) and mix in equal parts of your right brain (the creative side) and you get the perfect combination of art and organization. You also get an office that’s transitional—a mix between traditional and contemporary.
Barbara, founder of 423 Communication, is the brains behind this multi-faceted home office. The logical aspects of her home office include a Pottery Barn desk with file cabinets as bases; storage that incorporates open shelves, drawers and cabinets; and a simple, adjustable shelf bookcase.
The creative side includes a zany zebra rug, an elegant chandelier that Barbara describes as “incredibly decadent” and a coming-out-of-left-field art piece that doubles as a magnetic board. And of course there’s a comfy reading chair in the corner.
Now that’s what I call good thinking.
Graphically Pleasing Home Office
Colorful, calming and comfortable are the best ways to describe this graphic designer’s inviting home office. The interesting furniture and lighting surrounded by deep pumpkin/spice walls (Lowe’s Valspar Galena Gold) and a pale blue ceiling reflect the owner’s personality and excellent design sense.
The functional built-in shelves, drawers and cabinets provide plenty of storage behind the desk. A window mounted on the wall takes the place of a boring dry erase board to record tasks. Brilliant! The other side of the 12’x 16’ office serves double duty for watching movies, reading or just spending time with the family. A large chalkboard mounted near the
seating area is ready to capture out-of-the-box ideas.
One of the best aspects of this office is that the owner, Dannielle, didn’t spend a fortune to furnish it. A collection of vintage hand-me-downs, craigslist deals, treasures rescued from the trash and a shell chandelier from Pier One—she bought it on clearance— give this office a comfortable, yet stylish look and feel.
Eve and Bill share a home office they recently added to the back of their home. Sharing an office with a spouse or a business associate isn’t always easy (see my blog post about sharing an office) but it helps to have two desks.
This 14’x 20’ space, surrounded by windows, was designed to make use of every bit of space and to take advantage of their beautiful backyard view. The left wall is lined with open bookcases above and storage cabinets below. Their U-shaped configuration includes two desks with a large work surface in-between them. The hutch on the extra work surface holds their printer, paper and various supplies. Their hardwood floors are easy to maintain and match the hardwood floors throughout the rest of their home.
From Wet Bar to Workspace
Chances are, if your home was built in the ’50s, you have a wet bar in your family room. And depending on your entertaining habits, a wet bar may do nothing more than take up space.
Karen, a personal trainer, is the queen of wet bar conversions. In her last two homes, she has converted the wet bar into a functional home office. You know how some people do an awful job of converting their garage into a game room but everyone knows it’s just a garage with heating and air conditioning? Not so with Karen’s office.
When Karen’s family moved to another house with a wet bar, she hired a contractor to do minor renovations – including converting her 10’ x 10’ wet bar into a home office. The transformation included an insulated-glass, aluminum-frame window (normally used in commercial applications) installed along the back wall. She also replaced the wooden bi-fold doors with wood and opaque glass French doors.
Along the right wall are two Cantoni bookcases with three shelves and five drawers each. She stores reference materials and extra supplies in the drawers, and books and photos on the shelves.
Tree House Office
You wouldn’t insult Antonia if you told her that she works with her head in the clouds – because it’s true.
Her tree-top home office overlooks beautiful Napa Valley. I know I’d be too busy looking out the window daydreaming instead of working, but she’s able to run a successful culinary career coaching business from her 570-square-foot home office.
Antonia’s home office is built on stilts and hugs a rocky hillside.
She has more than enough storage space in her home office with built-in bookscases that line one wall. She is an avid book collector and reader who enjoys relaxing in her window seat in the trees.
A windowed, sliding pocket door separates her office into two rooms, one for her and one for her assistant. Her assistant uses the smaller of the two rooms and off her office is an enclosed porch where they entertain clients.
Developing Home Office
Hugh, a commercial developer, commutes to an office 30 minutes away, but spends one or two days a week working from his home office.
His 11’x12’ space – originally used as a formal living room – includes a fireplace, built-in bookcase and a large window.
This converted space has enough room for a desk with a return, two guest chairs and a lateral file cabinet. The lateral file cabinet and the piece of wood on top were painted and stained to match his desk.
On top of the cabinet are a wireless printer and a tray to hold magazines, with files and supplies stored in the drawers below. Cords that normally prove tricky and annoying in a home office have been fed through a hole in the front of the desk and tucked out of sight. French doors allow him the privacy he needs when his family is home.