Make Your Home Office a Glamorous Reflection of Who You Are

Catching up on work from the living room sofa always seemed like a pleasure—up until it became a full-time affair. When the coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year and sent office workers home, many of us discovered that such improvised setups can also become wormholes of household clutter, nagging family members, and ergonomic strife.

With companies like Facebook and Twitter leading the charge to make working from home the new normal, the home office is finally top of mind once again. Whether used every day of the week or for an occasional evening brainstorm, a well-designed space can help shut out distractions, center the mind, and inspire creativity.

It’s never been clearer how much our home environment impacts how we feel and how productive we are,” says Jessica Geller of the New Jersey design firm Toledo Geller. “Normally, being in an office keeps us focused. But at home, you have to do it alone, which can be difficult.

office with light blue tiled walls and two gold fleck pieces of art hanging over the desk
Art, pattern and bold hues bring cheer and dynamism to this home office in Oakland, California, designed by Kiyonda Powell.
Sen Creative

To help, your home office should be a direct reflection of your personal style, passions, and aspirations. One of its biggest advantages compared to a corporate office—where workers are often limited to customizing a cubicle with quirky calendars and potted plants—is that you can do anything you want.

Ernest de la Torre has designed everything from a red leather–paneled retreat anchored by a weighty, universe-mastering chrome desk in Manhattan to a sunny outpost in Malibu bathed in mint green. “That’s the owner’s favorite color,” de la Torre says of the latter. “She should get to live with her favorite color every day.”

Compared to the upper-crust home workspaces of the 18th and 19th centuries, much has changed. Technology has largely done away with the need for floor-to-ceiling stacks of books, but it has also introduced an armada of plas­ticky components like monitors, printers, and scanners bursting with messy cables—none of which are as appealing to look at as antique globes, sextants, or Roman statuary.

office with dark walls and dome shape at the end containing three window
In this moody home office in Manhattan by Toledo Geller, the desk is positioned in front of an elegant, light-filled bay window.
Jacob Snavely

As a result, many designers aim to eliminate or hide as much of an office’s technological wizardry as possible. (There’s a reason people gravitate toward Apple’s streamlined products.) “Fortunately, the Wi-Fi universe we now live in allows for a much less tethered feel than the old desktop computer,” says designer Beth Martin of San Francisco’s Martin Group SF. “Many of those peripherals don’t even live in the office anymore—we now mostly put them in closets.”

She notes that people aren’t printing as often as they used to, so the need for filing cabinets has disappeared, which frees up space for a secondary seating area. “You absolutely need a comfortable desk chair, but we also like to include a lounge chair with an ottoman or a chaise for those moments of concentrated reading and thinking,” Martin says.

office with blue wall covering, blue upholstered chairs and blue lampshade and gallery of frames behind
A steel desk cocooned in warm shades of blue in a home office on New York City’s Upper East Side designed by Alex Papachristidis.
Mikkel Vang

The breakout fashion star Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall* says eliminating superfluous accessories is key to his work-from-home setup, which he shares with his partner, Jennifer Onojeide, and their daughter. “We use paper to carve through quick ideas, though critical work and concepts are taken into digital formats,” he says, referring to his iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. “Avoiding clutter is an ongoing battle when creating an environment that works. The idea of owning key items and fewer possessions runs throughout our home.

Both de la Torre and Martin say the sit-stand desk is the most requested furniture piece, which presents an aesthetic challenge, as most of these resemble something straight out of a loading dock. As a solution, de la Torre has designed muscular custom desks that conceal motorized guts and have a switch to raise and lower the tabletop within a drawer. Martin has designed custom desks with two heights and has sought out attractive smart desks by furniture makers such as Sean Woolsey.

At the end of the day, a home office isn’t just a place to get things done—it’s a reflection of who you are. “It should be designed to your style and your taste,” says Washington, D.C.–based designer Kiyonda Powell. “It should allow you to be your best, most productive self.”


Josh Young

Young is known for his avant-garde paintings, but his passion for achieving the perfect palette is equally evident in the interiors he designs. Clad in his signature neutrals, Young’s airy Chicago home studio has us wanting all-white everything too. 

Justina Blakeney

This effortlessly cool office space captures Blakeney’s bohemian spirit to a T. We’ve yet to come across a more cheerful workspace.

Peter Dunham

We’re green with envy over this stylish yet playful home office nook designed by Dunham.

Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen

This ultrachic space has an old-world charm that’s perfectly befitting of Moschino and Vergeylen’s renovated farmhouse. 

Emily Summers

A sleek setup designed by Summers lets the art pieces take center stage for a minimalist look that’s still full of inspirational ideas.

Nina Magon

Slate blue and dusty pink have never looked better, especially when combined with hits of black and a cozy gray rug. We would happily spend every Monday through Friday in Magon’s gorgeous home office.

Alexander Doherty

Doherty’s love of the art world inspired his apartment. This stunning gallery-esque office space shows off some of the fabulous works he has collected—as well as his keen eye.

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