What makes the perfect home office? Before you assert that it’s the most comfortable chair, or the right-positioned desk, we firmly believe that it’s a matter of feng-shui — in other words, achieving the right balance. If you’re regularly working from home most or all of the time, walking into your workspace each day should be a welcoming experience.
The combination of aesthetics and functionality, at its best, will hopefully give you the confidence to hit the ground running. You should also feel as if you can switch off when you need to — this is often influenced by decor as well. That’s why we’ve narrowed down four of the best ways to style your home office.
Whatever state your desk and shelves are in — from clutter-free to utter chaos — the key to making your home office sophisticated, but with a personal touch, is hanging distinctive artwork on the wall. Go for something that reflects your personal style, but also the mood that you want to create.
Maybe it will be a print portrait of an inspiring figure, or a painting that you can stare into when you’re engrossed in thought. Landscape art is often a staple of offices as it can bring a piece of the outside world inside. Alternatively, contemporary or modernist art are also evocative additions that may help you focus.
While framing your print or artwork is not essential, it’s hard to make an artwork the centrepiece of a home office without doing so. Depending on what your budget and final choice is, it’s perfectly do-able to sort this out yourself. However, when it comes to proper handling and protection, we’d always recommend at least speaking to an expert first, to get information on what materials your artwork or print make most sense aesthetically, as well as for preservation and mounting. As noted by Soho Frames, “a professional framer will visit your home or business to discuss the art you would like framed, the environment in which it will be hung, and their recommendations”.
Aside from purifying the air (and looking mighty fine), a bit of plant life can transform a work space’s aesthetic. Every home office is different, and each will welcome a particular type of plant to suit the decor, size and space. It’s therefore up to you to assess where the best location for your new plant will be. This decision should be based on how you want to organise the room it lives in: think about where the greenery will complement the visuals best. The popular bamboo plant, for example, needs indirect sunlight and tends to be taller, so perhaps these can go on the floor in between your main desk chair and another wall that has a bookshelf or similar storage.
Smaller plants that can fit into tighter space — between a floor lamp and your desk, for instance — could be a Peace Lily or a Dracaena, or a Bromeliad to bring in some extra vibrancy. Hanging plants, as you may already have guessed, can go up top on a bookshelf or fixture above the desk or corkboard, if you have one. For your desk, place a couple of nifty succulents or cacti on there — these are incredibly low maintenance and come in all sorts of textures and shapes.
When it comes to seating options for your home office, you’re already spoilt for choice. Even a cursory glance online will show you the cornucopia of styles and categories of office furniture. For us, the best practice is to strike a balance between functionality and appearance: are you looking for leather, or something to evoke a mad supervillain?
Either way, as long as it’s comfortable and durable, the chair will be a crucial element of the workspace. Having the right one will help protect you from developing chronic back issues — the key term to look out for here is ‘ergonomic’. These have adjustable lumbar (seat height and depth) so whoever is sitting regularly can tailor the seat to support the inward curve of their lower back.
If you’re more fussed about the office chair standing out, many opt for an executive chair as they prefer the soft cushion of the leather, as well as the instant injection of sophistication — an option especially valued by taller users. On the opposite side, others who prefer to move around the space a lot while they work can choose a saddle or stool (this is also better for your spine, as your pelvis and lower back stay in a neutral position). For more details on the perks and drawbacks of specific designs, take a look at this guide from Office Reality.
For the place where you’ll spend most of your time with your computer, or poring over documents, you’ll want to feel especially at home. A plain white or grey desk is, frankly, rather dreary and boring, which will no doubt influence your mood and headspace while you hit the grindstone. However, all it takes is a little spark of inspiration and creativity to make your workspace inviting and with a personal stamp on it.
We’re all used to the cliché of the family photo adorning a work desk, but why not take it further by hanging a picture wire above to pin photos or postcards to? Depending on the size of your desk, you could also get a small storage box or bespoke stationery holders, alongside a personalised fidget toy, which are all the better for helping with stress relief during the more turbulent days. If you have a large monitor for your computer, jazz it up a little with high-definition, arty backdrops for both screens — this can complement the vibe created by your framed artwork, funky lampshade or smooth paint job.