Home Office 101 – Inspiring, Sexy and STYLISH

Reed Krakoff Sexy Home Office Design

An ULTRA-Glam home office with a 1930’s spin, this sexy space with its edited palette of black and white creates the perfect inspirational and aspirational home office.  This space would not only encourage you to do your work but make you enjoy the process.  The overused Corbusier chairs work perfectly in this space and add to the retro feeling.

Gone… gone… gone… are the days when it was frowned upon to bring work home… LONG GONE in fact.  Nowadays nearly everyone works from home in some capacity and many of us in a full time capacity (nearly 33 million in the U.S. and Canada alone work full time from their home) .  Whether you are turning an extra bedroom into a work-space with store bought furniture or constructing a full scale two level library/office fit for Conrad Black… home offices are a regular part of what makes a house a home.  However, the trick is to create a space that INSPIRES you to work and maintains a professional atmosphere that is separate (yet still united) with the rest of your home decor.  The trick to successfully designing a home office is to emphasize what the space is for and what it is that you do.  Then you need to decide on the “voice” or tone of your office (glam, ultra minimalist, modern, eclectic, etc.) and think about how you want it to effect the way you feel and work in that space.  Finally, as I’ve said before… the bottom line is to create a space you WANT TO WORK IN… that inspires, challenges, motivates and uplifts you.

I love the usage of the chalkboard in this home office… both in its practicality BUT also in how it grounds the space with its natural wood objects, white furnishings and white walls.  The black focuses your attention on what it is you are there to do… WORK (albeit in style) 

When Designed well, your home office becomes in effect your ‘silent business partner that supports your efforts, fuels your creativity and increases your effectiveness.  However to accomplish this remember a few key practical matters:

  • Keep clutter to an absolute minimum.  The space should be about the creation of ideas and solutions…not worrying about dust bunnies or feeling overwhelmed.  Keep your theme or “voice” in the Design consistent…whatever style or feeling you go for, keep everything edited to that specific message.  By piling a heap of unrelated objects in the space you will make it mentally distracting and simply encourage disorganization.
  • Remember that if you are working with a small space, keep your desk small.  Think, streamlined and ultra functional… a large desk will simply overpower the room, feel invasive and make you feel trapped behind it.
  • ALWAYS keep your laptop or home computer FRONT AND CENTER on your desk, serving as a visual reminder that when you’re sitting at your desk, you’re doing work and work related things.  Also, never let daily work tools (phone, day planner, sketch books, etc.) get buried under clutter. Everything should always be in plain sight and immediately attainable.

Glam, fresh and Classic… Tiffany blue and white with black frames is always in style.

In order to work successfully from home, putting thought into where you’re going to work, what you need, and where the best space is to fill your requirements is a must.  So you will want to critically analyze your home and how you use it (actually use it and not how you would LIKE to use it)… the flow of your home and who in your household uses each space and at what times of day. Working at home is not as simple as sitting at the kitchen table and flipping open your laptop and calling it an office.  If you want to work successfully and productively at home you need to organize and motivate yourself and Design a space that not only meets your needs but inspires them.

Crisp, fresh and creatively inspiring.. this office by Martha Stewart is both calming and invigorating.  The combination of soft blues, grays, and creams makes it warm, enveloping and softens the hard and impersonal “work” edges.

How to Design a Home Office

Another major consideration in how you Design (plan, furnish, supply and set up your office) is whether your home office will be your primary/full-time work-space or will it fill a secondary/intermittent role in your daily work routine.  Also, is it a permanent location or a temporary setup in your home? (are you simply waiting to build up your clients and then lease something with a view)

The usage of the fabric wrapped cork board affords both usability AND visual warmth and interest.  The edited palette of red and white (with neutrals) keeps the space modern YET soft and appealing for a long day at work.

Then determine what your main activities will be in the office…For example, will you be working primarily at a computer or doing other tasks? Do you work entirely on your own or are there others who will share the office with you or visit daily or frequently? Will you meet with clients in this office? Each home office is as unique as its owner and the best home offices are designed with specific business needs in mind… YOUR NEEDS.

I ADORE the fun energy of this youthful home office… while not suitable for a full-time office (this is more a teen or young adults space) this space shows some wonderful attention to detail.  I also ADORE the alphabetical wallpaper (I would love to circle words in red in it)


  • How many computers do you require AND what type of computers (laptops, desktops, computers for graphic work…)
  • What about administrative storage, filing, supplies and various papers required?  Do you need sketchbooks, reference books…crayons? Whatever it is, plan for it to have an organized and neatly accessible storage space.
  • If you are going to meet clients at home then you need to include into your Design a meeting space.  Also, are you going to have any employees sharing your office space and if so what are their office duties (desk, computer, running and screaming… what is it?)
  • ALWAYS try to include a project station into your Design (a place to spread out your samples, papers, research and really delve into your work while NOT disturbing your computer station area) 

Another example of a very simple home office “nook”… BUT I love the punchy and sexy energy the pop of yellow & blue brings to this mostly all white and black edited palette.  My only criticism of this space are the heinous octopus of electrical cords littering the floor.

Of course, WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL SPACE… the same principles apply (and it will require even more attention to detail, functionality and usability).  Pick a location in your home that can comfortably and functionally welcome your home office.  What about converting a closet into a “hide away” home office outfitted with all the bells and whistles!   Remember that a home office doesn’t necessarily need to be separated by walls, it just needs to be an area where work gets done and isn’t impinged upon by what you do in the rest of that space.  The major underlying principle of designing a home office in a small space is to ensure that while working there are NO distractions and  NO disorganization… the two greatest enemies of working at home.
What about creating a Home Office in a closet or in an Armoire? (for creating your own Armoire OFFICE DIY check HERE)

When selecting the items that will make up the Design of your office (desk, chair, lighting, colours, Art, tables, etc.) consider each element/item separately.  You need to understand how each piece relates to the Design as well as to each other… as well think ERGONOMICALLY to maximize the output of the hours you spend working there.

  • Often the most efficient home offices employ an L- or U-shaped design to their work surfaces.  The “within arm’s reach” principle of office equipment and tools (printers, computer, phone and various tools required) that allows you to complete the maximum amount of tasks with the least amount of physical effort…. remember your office is where you need to focus your mental energy.
    • Make sure to position your home office computer properly so you aren’t hunching over your laptop or desktop computer and that sunlight isn’t hitting your screen.   A growing number of computer users use larger monitors (I personally ADORE my 30 inch screen) and for many professionals even second computer monitors, which provide expanded “virtual desktop” space.  The great thing with having two monitors for instance is that you can use one for document creation and the other to host tool-bars and supplemental applications or internet surfing and research. Be sure to adjust the viewing distance to the monitors carefully so that you retain a comfortable posture and most importantly, that you can read the screens clearly and easily.
    • I ADORE the sexy, fresh and inspiring sensibility this stunning yet simple home office gives.  The mixture of modern with antique and hard elements with the usage of fabrics and soft elements gives this space an exquisite fluidity. 
  • REMEMBER TO SELECT YOUR HOME OFFICE CHAIR CAREFULLY!!!!  Many of us spend more time in our office chairs than we do in our own beds, so do NOT get the sale price 19 dollar special.  Save and select the best piece your budget will possibly allow.  Select a chair that swivels easily and offers multiple settings for seat height, tilts, arm height, and lumbar support.
  • Don’t forget that the number 1 cause of eye strain and damage in an office setting is poor lighting so make sure to provide for an abundance of task, ambient and accent lighting that will allow you to function in the space to its utmost while as well allowing you to control the mood and feeling of the space.

However, remember to always add your personality into your space and to create an environment that is inspiring, uplifting and welcoming.  Your office should have an equal mixture of creativity, Design, functionality and beauty.  By doing this, your office will be a joy to work in and this principle will drastically increase your productivity and your personal work satisfaction.

I ADORE this tiny (and I do mean TINY home office designed by Designer David Kaihoi…elegant and traditional, yet with a fresh twist.  I love the idea of using a beautiful antique secretaire and giving it purpose and daily life.

The usage of the geographic wall mural in this small home office is brilliant and gives this space a sexy, seasoned traveler sensibility.

This highly creative work environment is a mixture of Haute Couture (think Coco Chanel) and practicality.  The space has been designed to be visually and emotionally uplifting and inspiring while at the same time highly functional.

This busy work space provides a home for everything for someone with a lot going on and needing to see or access items immediately.  Functional and Stylish…

This multi-purpose room is a combination Library, Dining Room, Home Office and Design Laboratory .. I adore the quirky details intermixed with the stunning modern and antique pieces.

Classic and contemporary, this home office is calm, elegant and airy…I like the usage of the wing-back chairs…just make sure they are comfortable if you are going to be writing for long periods.

Simple, spare, fresh and crisp…this office with a view would be a great place to write or blog.

Another wonderful example of a creative and inspiring home office that affords space for everything as well as multiple work stations, all in a warm and artistic Design.

These retro yet modern etageres by Mitchell Gold would give a wonderful personality kick to a home office.  Whether you use them for books, magazines, folders or simply objects…the possibilities are endless.  I especially love the idea of them stacked 3 wide in the middle of a room, creating a “screen” to divide an open space that is both open and sculptural.

I love the classic, elegant and FRESH, soft modern look of this Jonathan Adler Bond Desk.  It would be perfect in a small space office, maximizing space while adding a sexy “peek-a-boo” effect.  It would as well be beautiful in an office with oversized windows and a city view, keeping the attention on the city-scape just beyond the glass.

The Jonathan Adler Ventana dining table would make a GORGEOUS desk in an oversized, creative office environment.  Glamorous, Modern, Fresh and sculptural… the Ventana would make a stunning statement in a large office, especially when paired with a Sedan chair (very high back wing back chair).

I would LOVE to use this brushed stainless steel and marble dining console (the Bianco Console series available nationwide and major furniture retailers) in an office setting…. with books, magazines and current work stacked up neatly in lucite trays upon it.  Sophisticated and very urban, this piece would make a stunning visual statement… I would pair it with an oversized modern canvas above it and a pair of lucite lamps on either side of its wonderfully generous top shelf (nearly 7’6 wide).

I ADORE this spare, simple yet beautifully elegant small home office in the GORGEOUS feature on Brooke Shields NYC town home featured in Architectural Digest.  I love her casually displayed collection of Artist photographs (including gorgeous shots of herself from her modeling days in the 70’s and several original Cecil Beaton photos… beautifully simple yet brilliantly detailed.

I ADORE this brilliant Design by Reek Krakoff as featured in Architectural Digest

  1. Jess CJess C10-31-2012

    WOW brilliant! GREAT feature and amazing photos!

  2. ChrisChris11-02-2012

    Finally took a moment to post a comment. This provoked a spark to not only improve my small office space at home but to reach out and impose more style at work as well. After mentioning this article (and your suggestion of a chat board), my director is even more excited about injecting more style into our renovated offices and not at all satisfied with the prospect of tacking up a few inspirational posters. Kudos for exposing an under thought of space then covering all its nooks and crannies with the flare and style of a learned designer.