Home Style Week! How to decorate your home office with style (a peek at my space too!)

Continuing this week’s summer spotlight of Home Style… Let’s get your home office to brim with inspiration. Mine is where I’m creating the C’est Chic Crash Course…. join me.

Home Office Style: How to find decor inspiration to decorate your home office can be challenging. Let me share my design tips to help you make your work space a part of your personal style. You don’t need to hire a decorator when you can do it yourself!

I’ve been meaning to write a piece about how to decorate your home office for a while. After all, it’s where many entrepreneurs spend most of their time so its design direction should be inspiring.

Part of growing your business, is also the continual learning aspect to see what’s new & how you can increase your productivity. I’m taking a business course where the part of the challenge is to declutter your office and post the photos in a private Facebook group.

CLICK TO NOT MISS: My curated Business Style- What to Wear to Work Guide!
CLICK TO NOT MISS: My curated Business Style- What to Wear to Work Guide!

Since, I’ve had the flu, my office has suffered a bit of disorganization so I took to this challenge as a chance to tidy up a bit. I must say that I was overwhelmed by all the wonderful comments in the group about my space and it has given me the impetuous to share my office design tips with you!

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My personal home style may not be for everyone.  I thrive in what some may feel to be visually overpopulated, but what counts is that YOUR home office space should be inspiring to YOU.

The more general office for my home rather than my personal office. Or, an extra computer area if someone else doesn't want to work on the laptop.
The more general office for my home rather than my personal office that’s off to the side. Doubles as an extra computer area if someone doesn’t want to work on the laptop or we need the extra work station.

As a home office is obviously part of your living space, it shouldn’t be a dull appendage to the rest of your interior design but a part that is just as lovely as where you live.

My office style didn’t come overnight.

As I don’t have a direct view from my desk, I like to look at the things around me in my Manhattan loft as an architectural “inspiration board” of sorts. It has been a fun road to collecting a mix of highly stylized modern luxe classics (some from sample sales as I hate waiting 12-18 weeks for a piece of furniture to arrive), family & thrift shop antiques, quirky objects with a personal history, lot’s of family photos, a little Ikea & eBay finds, but most of all, barely anything is from a big box “office” store. Everything stands on its own design merit.

 The iPhone snaps in the montage above, were taken rather quickly and offhanded as a “homework” assignment for the curse I’m taking. I don’t want to retake anything for you in better light, or even properly styled for a photo, as I want you to understand style in a natural rather than staged setting.

Use decorative paper to style old books on a bookshelf.
Use decorative paper to style old books on a bookshelf.

Truth be told, you may recognize the one snap of the sleeping poodle from my what to wear when you work from home story as, of course, the one day I want to take a picture of him, he’s not napping in his regular spot (well that’s besides his favorite little bed/nest under an extra chair)!

When you design your home office…

Your office design should say YOU as soon as you walk in. You’re not confined by corporate decrees. Make your workspace an extension of your home design direction to spotlight your personality to allow your creativity can soar.

Gravitate to what you love & you’ll find a spot for it. As a stylist, I’m all about putting the right pieces together. When it comes to design, other than a kitchen, I’m more about collecting and styling pieces that I have an immediate affinity towards… somehow, it always works.

Stay to one theme. I prefer pieces with a modern sculptural aesthetic with an appreciation towards form and texture.

Stick to a main color palette with strong accent colors. My furniture is mostly, black, white, or silver but I accent with strong & clear primary colors. (Confession: I love collecting interesting chairs almost as much as shoes)

A little switch-a-roo & my home becomes a video set. The C'est Chic Crash Course is on it's way.... click to join me!
A little switch-a-roo & my home becomes a video set. The C’est Chic Crash Course is on it’s way…. click to join me!

Think out of the typical boring office furniture offerings. My desk is really a granite dining table by Angelo Mangiarotti for Cappellini (it took 7 men to move in) & its surface makes everything I do on it feel more substantial.  What makes the computer “L” side is my old desk which is a parchment & leather decorative table. Be resourceful and repurpose what you love to work as you like.

Keep everything visually interesting, even the negative “empty” space. It’s your view while you work.

 Rearrange furniture so what YOU see in front of you is stimulating. (Ok, you may have to turn things around for a webcam interview but this is about what you see, not them).

If it’s ugly, stick it behind you and cleverly keep it out of sight. The rat’s nest of wires, the box of computer thingamigs, the webcam, mic, and all that techy yuckiness is away as much as possible when not in use.

Frame your children's art in gallery frames.
Frame your children’s art in gallery frames.

Your chair should be both stylish & ergonomic.  Most of us sit in front of a computer for a chunk of the day, so your back support is key. As your chair is in your home, opt for stylish chair that honors your design direction rather than one that looks like it could be in a pen of cubicles.

Add a splash of color to the neutrals that you have. It’s hard to get creative in an office that’s as flat as the color of a paper bag… a little color can go long way.  If your office is generic tan, add vivid red desk accessories to spruce things up.

Use books as art. Stack them by color and size, horizontally & vertically. Use decorative paper to cover old books for a pretty & inexpensive blast of color or texture to your shelfs. I have a collection of unusual bookends too.

File boxes are better in a color (Ikea is great) than tan. Even clear (check out Muji) looks more interesting than beige.

Add non-officey decorative objects. A small vase here, a silver ball there, even a globe… fill in the boring work items with vessels and objects to add interest. I have a thing for animals and have unconsciously created a little decorative “zoo” of photos of my pets to everything from ram’s head, cheetah, and doggie bookends, a smoking Chinoise poodle art piece, a ceramic leopard from my childhood, and a favorite horse painting.

Create little tableau’s with things that make you smile. I have everything from my son’s art work framed, my dad’s first camera, a vase my husband gave me as a pen holder, and even my childhood troll dolls in the mix. I used to use my son’t first cowboy boot as a pencil holder. I rearrange and change my little ‘still life’ whenever the mood strikes.

Gallery Frames from an art supply store make everything seem better.  Put your children’s art in the right frame and it is a loving and inexpensive wall hanging.

Use trays to ground loose items & create a more polished space. West Elm is a good resource for rather inexpensive lacquered wood trays.

Rule of three. Little things look more organized in a group of three.  One tiny item will look lost but in a set of three, even in varying sizes, they look more important.

Don’t forget family photos & personal mementos . When a contractor isn’t delivering their job on time, I look at a photo of someone I love, take a deep breath, and remember what I was taught about integrity.

As I come across favorite home style pieces that I own online, I pin them so I remember who designed what & to keep a little visual inventory:



Favorite items from other home style stories on FocsOnStyle are pinned here:



What makes your home office tick? Share your tips in the comments below.

Original Publish Date:  Jan 23, 2014

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