Written and produced by Debra Steilen with Lucy Fitzgerald
A home office can be a place to be productive as well as a respite from the domestic duties of the rest of the house. Whether it’s an established room stacked high with bookshelves or a quiet corner of the kitchen, an office provides a space to let the creative juices flow. Find inspiration here for your own sophisticated home office.
A passion for art and collecting is what drove the design for this home, including the office space. Walls painted a neutral yet warm gray create the perfect backdrop for the kaleidoscope of artwork throughout the home. In the library, custom bookshelves accommodate homeowner Steve McKenzie’s collection of art books and Jonathan Adler pottery. Rich wood floors and a Colonial antique desk from Indonesia ground the space; an antique rug lends a cozy touch.
A sitting area in the living room accommodates a sophisticated work space. Blanched wood paneling establishes the office area, while a sisal rug stretches into the living area and ties the room together. Clean lines and crisp, creamy upholstery gives the room a mature and contemporary feel; floor-to-ceiling windows drench the space in light. Touches of lavender lend a feminine feel.
Color-Happy Office Space
Large windows overlooking a swimming pool let the air and light flow unrestrictedly in actress Sela Ward’s stylish Bel Air home. Wallpaper from Osborne and Little establishes the color palette with its retro chartreuse-and-turquoise floral pattern. Warm woods and chocolate-colored leather details tie the fanciful scheme together.
Clever Office Storage
Faux leather paneling lends unexpected verve in designer Skip Sroka’s home library. The rich caramel-y hue wraps the room in warmth, while decorative nailheads create a no-nonsense grid pattern that establishes the scale of the room.
In the next slide, see how Skip created a “hideaway” office in his library.
Clever Office Storage
In designer Skip Sroka’s library, a pair of built-in desks pop out from the chair-rail molding on either side of the room’s doors. File drawers are skillfully concealed behind the wainscoting.
Sunny Yellow Home Office
Designer Julie Kays created this cheerful space for the Pasadena Showcase House of Design with the aim of counterbalancing the original room’s dark wood trim. Soft yellow walls, painted trees and birds that adorn the perimeter of the ceiling, and a hand-blocked statement fabric combine to create a space where work mixes with pleasure.
The sunny hue was used to reflect the light rather than absorb it, explains the designer. Gray was folded into the color scheme to temper the vibrant yellow palette. Atop a yellow-and-cream Mahal rug covering dark wood floors, Kays repurposed a Chinese library table into a desk. The shapely silhouette of the black-painted desk pops against the luminous window behind; pale gray linen dresses the hostess chair at the desk.
Wood Paneled Library
This library’s wood paneling is reminiscent of dignified boardrooms, but it’s softened by the warm honey hues and bamboo details. Large wall panels are kept in check with floor-to-ceiling window panels, which feature a graphic circular pattern. Playful touches promote a lighthearted ambience, like exotic armchairs, a curious peacock desk lamp, and other travel mementoes.
Exotic Home Office
This office exudes a bold jungle theme. A vivid faux-zebra pattern from Glen Eden carpets the floor for a striking effect. Window panels from Scalamandré feature a golden bamboo pattern; a globe in the corner hints at past and future travels. A custom finish over the black walls keeps the space light. The exotic theme extends to the palm frond-inspired chandelier hanging above, adding a hint of vintage charm to the space.
Pretty Purple Office
Designed by Caitlin Moran for the San Francisco Showhouse, this home office is drenched in juicy purples. Using wallpaper with oversized royal irises against an orchid-colored background and bold plum for the floor, she turned out a stunningly chic workspace. A simple Parsons desk, typically a silhouette in white, was tinted lavender to give the piece a modern edge. Pinch-pleated draperies in orchid-colored brushed cotton dress the recessed windows and sweep the floor covering, a plum-colored carpet that melts into the baseboards painted to match it.
Sunlight abounds in a home office where an antique writing table is positioned in front of large windows. The large stone urn lamp provides plenty of work light on gray days. Crown molding, pleated bi-color curtains, a gold silk armchair, and a chevron-patterned hardwood floor show that an office can be as stylish as it is organized. See the next slide for another view of this room.
This handsome office glows with a warm faux wood-grain finish applied to the walls and gold pillows in shiny silk piled on the sofa. Even the writing desk bears touches of gold leaf. Simple Roman shades shut out the sun when needed. A faux tiger-fur ottoman pokes a little fun at the seriousness of its surroundings.
Youthful Desk Area
Envisioned as office space for a college-bound teen, this set-up pairs a sleek Ralph Lauren Highbridge desk with a shapely vintage chair in eye-popping chartreuse. A nickel-framed bulletin board with navy fabric offers a sleek spot to hang a silver sunburst mirror as well as notes and mementoes.
Painted the same color as the woodwork, a room-spanning wall unit provides plenty of space for this home office's books and computer equipment. Closed cabinets are perfect for storing messy files and office supplies. The modern desk's glass-and-chrome top rests on walnut sawhorses, while a 19th-century open-arm chair goes chic with a white duck slipcover. The dark walnut floor is lightened with a putty-color wool sisal carpet.
Designed for flexibility, this well-appointed space can be used as a home office or as a staging area for buffets and outdoor entertaining. A sophisticated wireless lighting system allows the homeowners to adjust light levels throughout the home via remote control -- adding to the versatility of this and other double-duty rooms. The simple altar-table-turned desk and bookshelves are from PierceMartin. The high back chairs are from Barbara Barry.
Located next to the kitchen, this well-organized office caters to the work-at-home parent's needs. A wall of built-in cabinets provides space to store books, files, and other papers. A stretch of mocha-color quart surfacing offers ample work space. Corkboards and cubbies line the backsplash area to keep schedules and notes in view. Upper cabinets with glass-front doors display collectibles that add a touch of beauty to a hard-working room.
A designer gains inspiration from a home office that boasts her best finds in architectural salvage and antiques. A barrel-vaulted ceiling, clad in 17th-century stone from a French vineyard, casts a butterscotch glow. Three pairs of 18th-century doors open to the sun. Glass-doored built-in bookcases make it easy to find reference materials or files. And a graceful writing desk paired with an upholstered antique chair provides a comfortable spot to look at client's building plans.
Fretwork fabric shades and dramatic attic architecture give this home office flair to spare. A custom-built desk stretches the width of the room, offering ample space for two work stations and plenty of storage. Hinge lamps help illuminate the matters at hand. White surfaces and neutral Berber carpet keep the space feeling fresh and light, no matter what time of day the homeowners happen to be working.
Masculine Home Office
Conveying elegance from a masculine perspective, this home office (once a bedroom) features tones of beige, brown, and ivory expressed in a variety of finishes. Cast iron finials add their rugged presence to a former dining room table repurposed as desk. Dark-stained Pottery Barn bookcases hold client files in linen binders. Ivory walls, white woodwork, and wing chairs upholstered in oyster-color fabric contrast with dark pine floors and furniture.
Comfortable Home Office
Decked out for comfort, this home office with dramatic beamed ceiling was originally the parlor. Now the pine-paneled room is furnished with a Dutch writing table, antique English trunk, and tufted leather Hancock & Moore sofa. The colorful mix of upbeat patterns includes Clarence House fabric at the windows, Cowtan & Tout's animal print on the Minton-Slidell cane chair, and plaid fabric from Lee Jofa on pillows and stool.
Pretty Home Office
A lover of French design chose a beautiful green-and-pink toile to cover her office furniture and dress the windows. Bright purple carpet adds a pretty hue underfoot. As feminine as the rest of the room, the work station combines a graceful antique writing desk and chair with vintage gooseneck lamps. Built-in shelves on either side of the main window display books and treasured collectibles.
Once a bedroom, this cozy office/library now combines intellectual and recreational pursuits with a wall-mounted flat-panel television and a leather-wrapped server designated as the bar. A practical orange swivel chair rolls up to the chocolate-colored built-in desk, which is outfitted with a pair of brass lamps. Built-in bookshelves keep tomes within easy reach. See the next slide for another view of the room.
The clean lines of a tight-back chair bring a touch of modernity to a bedroom repurposed as an office/library. A scroll-arm sofa invites comfortable reading or conversation. Subtle pattern is added by a neutral woods-inspired wall covering and herringbone carpet. A Picasso tapestry adds a touch of culture above the sofa.
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Office on Wheels
Showing that any room can spontaneously morph into a workstation, this living room is ready to roll with a multi-purpose trolley that can double as a bar cart when needed. Next to the antique writing desk, a small wheeled acrylic side table stashes the laptop and offers extra storage space. Either wheeled piece can be easily shuffled to another room when needed.
Color is key but organization is the theme in this office where everything is at the office worker's fingertips. Color-coded binders and storage boxes keep everyday files and supplies organized. Small office supplies such as paper clips, pushpins, and pencils are kept in a jewelry box for easy access. The built-in bookcase includes a cozy writing desk backed with a weekly calendar/bulletin board. A CBW orbit desk chair provides a sleek space to sit; caster wheels make it mobile.