1. Go Old-School
There’s no shortage of vintage eye candy in the Jackson, Wyoming study of Christian Burch and John Frechette, the duo behind local decor and menswear shop Mountain Dandy. The roll-top desk was a hand-me-down from Burch’s parents, while the pegboard walls were original to the ’50s house.
2. Skip the Desk
Dani Arps – a go-to office designer for New York startups—created an airy, clutter-free space that lacked one notable feature: a desk. “Most files are stored digitally, so bulky office furniture with tons of storage isn’t necessary,” said Arps, who instead opted for a large, streamlined work table from Industry West.
3. Hide the Clutter
Tasked with turning a tiny, white-walled bedroom in Bobby Berk’s Los Angeles home into a proper home office, creative director Brady Tolbert headed to Craigslist to find the perfect mid-century credenza. It’s not just all looks-the cabinet keeps messy papers out of sight.
4. Bring the Outdoors In
Between the leaf-printed window treatments and treillage-fronted cabinetry, this office feels like a secret garden – in fact, it was a porch before designer Joe Lucas enclosed the space.
5. Drench it in Color
One way to ensure your office isn’t a total snooze? Paint on a few coats of high-gloss paint in a bright shade. “The raspberry shade is exciting but not overwhelming—it’s the perfect hue for a creative space,” says Katie Ridder of this study she designed for a Manhattan client.
6. Keep It Rolling
Photographer Victoria Pearson combined a wooden top from Ikea and a wheeled CB2 base to create her own rolling desk, which allows for an easy change of scenery or workspace rearranging at a moment’s notice.
7. Mix in Vintage
Mark J. Williams filled the office of a client’s Craftsman house in Los Angeles with period-style furnishings, like a Paul McCobb chair and rustic Alton House desk, for a look that’s vintage without being theme-y.
8. Sing the Blues
Feeling stressed about work? Try painting your office blue—research shows that the color has a calming effect. In this Connecticut study, designer Brooke Crew used Farrow & Ball’s Parma Gray (which, despite its name, is in fact blue).
9. Try Industrial
If your work space is cool, you may be more inclined to actually use it. A vintage aluminum desk and stool create an industrial vibe in this Colorado cabin’s study. Chicken-wire bookcases add a rustic touch to the room
10. Use Open Shelving
If you can stay organized, this organizational system is for you. Seeing everything means you’ll never lose a file or supply. In this Boston brownstone, the kitchen pantry also houses the office, so the shelves serve double-duty.
11. Take Inspiration from Everywhere
To totally transport yourself somewhere way more exciting than your work, try an exotic pattern, like the black-and-white zebra motif in this Charleston home office. A rattan chandelier adds texture.
12. Consider Scandinavian Style
Pare way down and keep your aesthetic clean and calming. A simple Swedish desk was placed by a window with a view of the Baltic Sea in a Scandinavian home. It’s mostly neutral, but the pops of blue keep the room feeling fresh and invigorating.
13. Conceal Clutter With Curtains
If your clutter feeds your creativity, you don’t have to get rid of it, you just need to conceal it in an intelligent manner. In a Birmingham, Alabama office, curtains soften the room and hide everyday office papers and books that are stacked up on the shelves.
14. Go All Black
Is this not the sexiest office you’ve ever seen? Black furniture combined with brass accents looks super sleek. Opt for a gray-black for the walls, so it doesn’t feel too dark and heavy.
15. Be a Minimalist
Minimalism is very much in style right now. Keep your desk clutter-free, add in simple furniture (like these reclaimed wood chairs and desk), keep a neutral color palette, and watch how inspired you’ll be to actually do your work. If you need to warm things up—so it doesn’t look bland and sterile—add plants or textured wall hangings.
16. Get Creative With Space
Attention anyone who lives in a teeny, tiny condo —you probably don’t have room for a formal office, so you need to get creative. Opt for small furniture, and try putting your desk up against a window in your bedroom. That way, it’s out of sight from your living room, and you at least have a view to look at to separate it from your sleeping area.
17. Make It Modern
Your formula for a modern office: white lacquer desk, a geometric rug, and sleek lighting. To make it a little more glam and feminine, add bold color and brass accents.
18. Go Bohemian
Embrace your inner free spirit and decorate your office with anything that tells a story, has sentimental value to you, or that you picked up on your travels. Add in a bold, patterned rug, color on color, and some plants. Consider yourself creative? More is more in that case.