In the last year, home offices became THE space to create in most homes across the country. With the sudden transition to working from home, it became essential to create dedicated functional workspaces.
But setting up a great home office takes more than just shoving a desk and chair into a corner. (Though, those two pieces of furniture should definitely be at the top of your list when designing a home office!) While there are many ways to work from home and create a home office, there are definitely some essential components that will make it a more functional space.
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What furniture goes in a home office?
When it comes to designing a workspace in the home, having foundational furniture that serves your needs is essential. That means prioritizing practicality with your furniture picks, like a sizable desk, a comfy desk chair that also has a swivel base, and plenty of storage and organizational solutions. Once you’ve landed on your main pieces, you can layer in art, decor, and accents to liven up your office. The goal is to create a home office that’s both comfortable and inspires you to do your best work.
Here are the key pieces to include in your home office:
- A Home Office Desk
- A Comfortable Desk Chair
- Organizational Solutions
- Proper Lighting
- Personalized Decor
How can I make my home office look good?
Ideally, your home office furniture won’t be merely functional; it’s nice to have a work-from-home space that also reflects your style and personality. (Or the combined styles of you and your partner or roommate if you have a shared home office!) Part of bringing that to life is through the decorative touches you use throughout your space—like artwork, rugs, and desktop decor. And the home office furniture you choose can also speak to your personal style. This doesn’t have to be a standalone space, but it can actually flow with the style of the rest of your home.
But layout can have a big impact as well. It’s worth thinking about the feng shui of your home office to make sure it has a layout that helps the good energy flow! It helps to start with the position of your desk in the room, and then design the layout of the rest of your space based on that placement.
It’s worth noting that when your home office is in a shared space in your home—whether you have a bedroom home office, a home office in the living room, or you simply have a small apartment home office where everything is crammed together, it’s even more important to consider the stylistic elements of your home office furniture and decor.
If you’re not sure where to start in designing a home office or selecting office furniture, read on for our home office furniture guide. It’s full of home office inspiration and work-from-home design tips to help you make your home office into a productive space that inspires! (This guide will also help you avoid some of the most common home office design mistakes!)
Core Pieces: The Home Office Essentials
Ok, we know we said that it takes more than a desk and chair to make a good home office. But these two pieces of furniture really are the most essential when designing a home office. (After all, it’s not really a home office without a desk!) So, start with the basics, and build out your space from there. Plus, the style of your desk and chair will help inform the rest of the design choices you make for your office.
A Home Office Desk
A good desk is the most obvious furniture piece in every home office, but what’s important is finding one that’s right for you. While there’s no shortage of great types of desks to choose from, you want one that has the best size, shape, and storage for your personal needs.
Wondering exactly how to choose a desk? Think about how you’ll need to use it. Do you need a large computer desk for a desktop computer or second monitor and keyboard? Or will a small writing desk that only houses a laptop be enough? Is one with drawers and built-in cubbies ideal—like the L-shaped desk pictured above—or do you just need a surface, without tons of extra storage? Maybe you want a standing desk with adjustable height so you aren’t sitting all day long. Focusing on these key factors and use cases will help you narrow down your options and find the right home office desk for you.
A Comfortable Desk Chair
After months of WFH, you might have found that a dining chair (or your couch) just isn’t cutting it as a desk chair for eight-hour workdays. Just like desks, comfy office chairs are a dime a dozen, so you want to find one that provides the right support for you.
Some key things to consider might be whether you want one that swivels or one with casters. Maybe you prefer a chair without armrests. It’s all about whatever gives you the most comfort.
In any home office, this is the furniture piece that needs to work for your body and support you for hours on end. So it’s worth investing in a good one.
Organizational Solutions: Home Office Storage
Once you have the basics in place, it’s time to think about storage and organization. Home offices tend to need plenty of hidden storage solutions for stashing office supplies, important documents, and electronics. But you may also want some open display and storage space as well. You don’t need all of the organizational furniture listed below, but choosing one or two will help you keep your office space in order!
A Filing Cabinet
Filing cabinets aren’t what you would call stylish home office furniture, but what these pieces lack in looks, they more than make up for in functional storage. They help keep all your files and important documents in order and at your fingertips. If you don’t have tons of files and paperwork to stow away, you can still use it for books, electronics, stationery, and other office supplies. This can help balance out a desk that doesn’t have a ton of built-in storage. If you want a filing cabinet that’s easy to move around, consider one with wheels.
A Closed-Door Cabinet
If you have larger office electronics like a printer, scanner, or shredder, you may want these to be hidden from eyesight in a cabinet with doors. This will help give your home office a clutter-free look while also keeping your electronics conveniently nearby. Closed-door cabinets are also great for storing safes or fireproof boxes so they’re out of sight.Shop This Look
Open bookcases or shelving are a great addition to a home office. We like to think them as a furniture staple in every home office because they provide tons of storage for books and decor, and make use of vertical space instead of floor space. Plus, you can put baskets or stylish document boxes on some of the shelves for additional hidden storage that’s right out in the open!
Not sure if you’ll have a home office set-up long-term? You can easily repurpose them for your living or dining room later on since they’re super versatile and can be used throughout your home and go with any style of furniture.
Small Organization Solutions
Aside from big office furniture pieces we also love baskets, bins, and consoles to help corral clutter. After all, your home office and the furniture you pick only look stylish if your space is also clutter-free. And organization and order lead to a more productive and inspiring workspace. Use boxes and baskets on bookcases, consoles, or even the floor to house cords, documents, and other knick-knacks and office supplies.
More organization equals more order, which leads to a productive and inspiring workspace, especially if you’re outfitting a small home office space.
No matter the size of your home office space, ample lighting is key. Working on a computer for eight hours a day is enough strain on your eyes without also contending with low lighting. The most important types of lighting to consider in a home office? Task and ambient lighting.
A task lamp on your desk is absolutely essential in a home office, as it will give you good lighting during work sessions. Task lamps are designed to illuminate one specific area—in this case, your desktop—so that you have a flood of light for the task at hand. And with a head that swivels, you can easily adjust the lighting angle to suit your needs.Shop This Look
In addition to task lighting on your desk, it helps to have ambient lighting in your home office. Placing a floor lamp in the corner of the room or putting the overhead light on a dimmer switch allows you to customize your lighting throughout the day. Having several light sources in your home office also helps video calls be better lit!Shop This Look
Home Office Add-Ons
You can definitely create a functional home office without these next few items—but these design elements are what will really take your space to the next level and are great to have if you’re working full-time from home!
Having a home office with natural lighting is great—until the sun hits just right and you’re totally blinded during a video call or your computer screen becomes unreadable. That’s why window treatments in a home office are so important. They can help filter or block out direct light during video calls, and they also offer privacy if you’re working into the evening. Beyond practicality, opting for curtains can add a decorative and homey touch to your space!
An Area Rug
An area rug isn’t a home office essential—but it is a great way to add some style and comfort to your workspace. It can also add a level of functionality, helping to dampen ambient sounds and prevent your office chair from rolling all over the place! And if you’re someone who likes to take stretch breaks throughout the day—or even do a yoga session on your lunch break—having a plush rug offers a comfy place to roll out your mat and recenter yourself!
An Aesthetically Pleasing Backdrop
With video calls becoming mainstream, all of a sudden having a nice backdrop became a home office necessity. Having a nicely styled space behind you makes you look more pulled together and professional—and gives your co-workers something nice to look at during boring video meetings! Consider painting or wallpapering the wall behind you and hanging a beautiful piece of art. Or, opt for a styled bookcase for a look that’s tasteful and polished!
We’re firm believers that taking breaks is important for productivity. So if you have the room, pull in additional furniture for the office and create a place where you can take a mental breather whenever you need one. This can be a reading nook with an armchair or a modern daybed that’s made for relaxing. Just be sure that it complements the rest of your home office furniture.
Finishing Touches: Home Office Decor
Beyond office furniture and lighting, personalizing your home office with decor will help this feel like a more inspiring space to spend your days. You don’t need to incorporate every one of these into your home office, but hopefully, this list gives you ideas of what you might want in your space.
A Soothing Color Palette
Colors that appeal to you will go a long way in helping you stay focused. You want to set the mood in your home office space with colors that motivate you to do your best work. A foolproof approach is to lean into soothing hues, like soft blues, crisp whites, textural neutrals and calming greens—which also happen to be colors that work with virtually any style of furniture. It’s all about whatever colors get you in the zone, so there’s no right or wrong here. Check out our guide to the best home office color schemes for a helpful place to start.
Give yourself something to look at besides your computer screen by incorporating inspiring artwork into your home office. It could be a landscape painting, an abstract print, or a collection of family photos—there are no rules about what wall art you can or cannot include! But decorating your walls with art instantly enlivens your office, making it feel more personal and adding a stylish touch.
If you do a lot of video calls with coworkers or clients, a wall or floor mirror can be nice to have in your office to make sure you’re presentable! Who doesn’t need a mid-day outfit, hair, or make-up check between snacks, coffee, and back-to-back meetings? Bonus: a mirror can also help reflect light and make a smaller office space feel more spacious and bright!Shop This Look
An Analogue Clock
Getting distracted by your phone whenever you check the time? Try adding an old-school analog clock to track time and help you stay focused. Studies have shown that checking the time on your phone can be a zap for productivity, so a clock can keep you from falling into an endless scroll. Decoratively, an analog clock can add a vintage touch to your home office—a win-win!
Plenty of Plants
We’ll say it one more time for the people in the back—plants make people happy! Some lush greenery always brings life and vibrancy to a home office, whether it’s a leafy tree, a hanging plant, or tiny potted succulents. By adding a few of these photosynthesizing friends to your workspace, you’ll lift the ambiance and also freshen up the air in your workspace.
A Beverage Station
Want to add a fun (and useful) element to your home office? Set up a coffee nook! Rather than having to leave your office to refill your mug in the kitchen, a coffee bar set up in your office lets you keep your caffeine close at hand. You can set up a coffee nook on a bar cart or other rolling cart, or you can utilize the surface of a console or cabinet in your office. Sitting behind your desk, it also creates a very chic backdrop to video calls!Shop This Look
Ready to bring your home office design to life?