Given that the concept of working from home at least a couple of days per week is still in full swing for many professionals, the home office (or home office station) will be sticking around for the foreseeable future. Many workers have chosen to set up makeshift desks in their bedrooms, living rooms, and even dining rooms, which can be a bit challenging design-wise.
If you can relate—and are feeling a bit stumped about how to disguise your workday essentials, like that bulky, ergonomic desk chair—we're here to help. It turns out that there are plenty of ways to camouflage this essential office furniture piece when you'd rather tune it out. Below, designers offer a range of tips for ways to make a traditional desk chair look, well, actually somewhat chic.
Make Use of a Lumbar Pillow
Throw pillows: You can really never have too many, it seems! A small pillow can work wonders in jazzing up a bulky desk chair, says designer Denise Rives of Rives Interiors. She suggests picking a pillow hue based on the other colors utilized in the room. "Stay away from the 'office palette' (gray, beige, and black) and opt for colors that pop," Rives adds. And if you're selecting a desk chair from scratch, the sleeker, the better. "Consider a desk chair without arms so that it’s not as bulky and can slide under the desk and less visible," Rives suggests.
Or Add a Seat Cushion
If you'd rather skip the pillow route, you can still add style to your desk chair with a few other common household accessories. "You can make a desk chair look good by adding an upholstered seat cushion along with an amazing throw or a custom blanket with your monogram," says Jennifer Hunter of Jennifer Hunter Design. The goal here is to get creative and decorate in a way that will provide a bit of a distraction and add style to a space. "By adding elements that are either colorful and bright or minimalist and chic, they—rather than the utilitarian chair—become the focal piece and talking point," Hunter says. Plus, a throw blanket is handy for chilly days working from home but can also be used by night as you curl up and watch TV on the sofa.
Designer Laura Pankonien of The Pankonien Group suggests pairing a modern, industrial chair with a vintage desk. "The aged patina of the wood will soften the 'workplace only' vibe of your chair," she says. Not sure where to look for such a piece? Websites including Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are chock full of stylish vintage pieces at budget friendly price points. Or perhaps an older relative who's downsizing has a vintage desk that they would be more than happy to pass down to you. If your budget is more substantial, websites including Chairish and Etsy also offer extensive vintage furniture options.
Keep it Neutral
When it comes to picking a color for your actual desk chair, it's best to think classic. The aforementioned "office-like" hues are definitely your best bet, according to designer Andi Morse of Morse Design. "Black, white, or cognac leather desk chairs are the easiest to work with as the colors work in most spaces," she notes. "I love tossing a small hide over the seat or back for added style and comfort." So as much as you may be drawn to turquoise or hot pink, you may wish to save that color for an item that you do wish to highlight.
Allow Office Chairs to Double as Dining Chairs
You likely aren't using your dining table by day or your office by night, so the following suggestion from designer Amy Peltier of Peltier Interiors should work seamlessly. "Office chairs can work at a rectangular dining table as the captain’s chairs on both ends," Peltier explains. "You can’t do all of the seating this way or else it would look like a conference room, but doing office chairs as bookends to a dining table can have pleasing symmetry." During the hours of 9 to 5, simply slide one of the chairs over to your desk area.