We get it: Not everyone has the space for a private office area at home. Oftentimes, the living room, dining room, kitchen, or bedroom ends up doubling as a work area, especially when multiple family members are doing their jobs remotely! If you've been struggling with designing a workspace that's functional yet doesn't stick out like a sore thumb after 9-to-5 hours, we're here to help. We spoke with designers who offered their top tips on how to successfully integrate a work area into any room of the house.
Meet the Expert
- Jennifer Hunter is the founder of Jennifer Hunter Design in New York City.
- Andi Morse is the founder of Morse Design in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Emily Janak is the founder of Emily Janak Interiors in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Be Strategic With Furniture Choices
For example, consider utilizing a console table for your laptop rather than opting for a traditional, executive style desk, designer Jennifer Hunter explains. "When not in use, we have clients place their laptop in the drawer and style the surface with books and objets," she adds. Designer Andi Morse is also a fan of the console table method. "Typically they are wide enough to accommodate a laptop and about the same height as a dining table," she says. "f it's taller, you can use an actual desk chair that has an adjustable height and can roll away when you want it out of sight."
However, a console table is just one solution. "One of my tricks for concealing a workspace is a skirted table," designer Emily Janak shares. "It allows for a laptop, files, and any other loose odds and ends to quickly be stashed. Style the top with a few framed photos and a buffet lamp, which is narrow and will allow for a space that can transition between laptop or coffee table books."
When it comes to setting up an office space in the bedroom, continue thinking outside the box. As designer Shamika Lynch shares, "A bedside table in a bedroom could be replaced with a desk and not look odd."
When it comes to selecting a chair, Lynch offers a few suggestions. "For those who don't need to spend long hours at the desk, I would recommend selecting an office chair that coordinates with the space," she advises. "There are a wealth of desk chair options that can complement one's aesthetic."
Make a Workspace Feel Distinct
"This office space was created on one end of the main living room of this house, so we knew that making the space feel distinct was important," designer Amy Leferink says of the space shown here. She achieved a feeling of separation using a few key elements. "The area rug plus bookshelf creates a room within a room feeling, so that there was some notion of separation from the living room without it being totally closed off!"
Consider Color Palettes
When integrating a work area into a room that serves an additional purpose—like a bedroom or a living room—keeping the existing color palette in mind is essential, Lynch explains. "Consider the color palette and textures already in the space and select pieces that work within that theme."
Upgrade the Essentials
Why not invest in some office supplies that will make you feel happy every time you see them around the house? "This is your home after all," Lynch comments. "Get that gold stapler, and opt for a desk with a built-in file cabinet or hack an ottoman to turn it into a file cabinet."
You can stash day to day items like pens and note pads away at the end of the day to help clear the clutter. "Add lidded boxes on top to keep your cords, pens, paper, et cetera," designer Lindsay Atapattu notes. And, when shopping for such items, "Pick pieces that you would use in your family room or bedroom, and stay away from the office aisles."
Don't forget to pick out some fabulous lighting, too, designer Nicole Arruda notes. There's no need to settle for a so-so task lamp when you can get a little more sophisticated. "You can add a statement table lamp that really sets the tone—maybe it's vintage, oversized, or has a really unique shade," Arruda states. She also appreciates the impact fresh flowers can make in a workspace. "Bring in some life and personality with your favorite blooms and put them in a pretty vase to help jazz up your desk."