How to Design a Home Office You Love

Your design approach to a home office is not unlike any other room in the house. It should speak your visual language and evoke personality. But perhaps the most important thing to remember is the delicate dance between aesthetics and utility. A workspace should be designed to inspire and motivate you each day, but also grounded in practicality. Since so many of us have transitioned to home offices this past year, I compiled six tips to help you carve out a space that will be as functional as it is beautiful. 

How to Design a Home Office You Love
How to Design a Home Office You Love
How to Design a Home Office You Love

Embrace Your Space 

Of course, not all of us have the luxury of a dedicated room to create a home office but these constraints create an interesting design challenge and push us all to innovate. In fact, amplifying contradiction and pairing the interesting with the unexpected has always been a long-held design philosophy of Athena’s so embrace your space and look around your home with a new set of eyes. Take the time to study what you love about the room then, figure out where you can designate your “official” workplace. This is key to creating boundaries between work and life so you can “clock-in, clock-out” in your mind and keep a more regular schedule (because let’s face it, the lines are officially blurred right now). It doesn’t matter where it is, but your workspace should be a place where you can set up systems that streamline your routine and make you feel good, too.

How to Design a Home Office You Love

Double Duty

If your dining table doubles as a weekday deskspace (I am always using my kitchen counter to work from!) then find a space nearby to pack your work items away when your work day is done. Physical disarray can create mental clutter and we can all do with less of that right now. File papers away, create a to-do list, and start fresh in the same place tomorrow. Room dividers are also a great way to create separation while bringing dynamism to a space. It also sections off a workspace so it can be hidden from common areas, allowing you to focus and avoid distractions from family or friends. Always think about pieces that have a double duty and work as hard as you do. This also applies to stylish storage. Consider storing your work items in a vintage wooden box with timeworn patina. Pretty can be practical too.

How to Design a Home Office You Love

Make It Personal

Increased productivity by way of beauty? Yes, please. Surrounding myself with beauty is endlessly inspiring to me. Not only does it stimulate the senses to get those creative juices flowing, but it also makes me smile and that’s just as important—and it doesn’t have to be expensive or precious either. Your home workspace should be a reflection of you, a mirror of your internal visual language. But in that process, always think about that fusion of the functional and the decorative. Organizational storage can also double as beautiful décor so you can hide papers, files, and pens while creating visual interest that draws the eye and fits your home’s aesthetic to keep it cohesive. Athena chose to incorporate a built-in cabinet that runs the entire back wall of her home office to house all of her office essentials. Burning a candle or adding a fresh vase of clippings or branches from outside will also lift your spirits and channel a productive energy and focus throughout the work day.

How to Design a Home Office You Love

Simplify and Streamline  

The challenge in design is always in the edit. Stripping things back to simplify your space and only include the pieces that bring you joy or add purpose is an essential part of the design process. I get lost in that tension—the push and the pull—but it also excites me, so don’t be afraid to experiment and use that friction to your advantage. This is especially visible when you’re designing a workspace. You should only include the items that you need, with a few personal pieces that bring joy (as outlined in tip three), nothing more. Athena’s office is fairly minimal and tonal but the subtle color combinations are what make it really pop like the mint green vase against the rich terracotta chair. Minimizing distractions is key to not getting side-tracked—less items, less clutter will lighten the mental load.

How to Design a Home Office You Love

Inspired Vision

It’s important we all make space for the artistic process to unfold. When Athena wants to go deeper and tap into her inner creative, she removes all distractions and heads upstairs to her home office. She really leaned on her personal rituals and creative evolution when designing this workspace to ensure the space informs and encourages the work. As a deeply visual person, creating mood boards is an essential part of Athena’s process. It’s where she can bring her visual language and concepts into reality and physically arrange them. She created these pin-boards herself when she couldn’t find any boards that met her desired aesthetic. In fact, she received so many inquiries, she even made a tutorial about the process for Eye Swoon and it’s been so inspiring to see the ES community bring them to life in their own home office.

How to Design a Home Office You Love

Ditch Perfection 

Approach every space with a “work in progress” mentality and remove the notion of perfection. Instead tap into your own creative sensibility and cultivate your inner vision. It doesn’t have to be a “perfect” home office. The notion of perfection can limit your design potential. Find somewhere with good natural light (or make your own!) with enough space to accomplish your tasks and minimize clutter. Remember, there are no rules. Lead with your curiosity, experiment, and follow your intuition to create your own design magic. You spend more hours of the day in this workspace then anywhere else in your home, so make it something special and a workspace that not only inspires creativity and informs your work, but is inherently you. Oh, and have fun!

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