Not everyone makes the grueling morning commute to their place of work; for many of us, the office is just down the hall.
More people than ever are discovering the benefits—and challenges—of working from home. Whether you are creating your first modern home office or remodeling your existing office decor, your work zone should reflect your own personal style. Modern home offices can be as sleek or cozy as you desire, even while capturing the best of contemporary design.
Creating a stylish home office involves choosing a dedicated space and filling it with practical, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing office features. From floor to ceiling, every part of your office should promote maximum productivity and functionality. By creating a custom space designed to meet your specific needs, “going” to work each day becomes a little easier.
1. Modern Home Office Ideas for Spare Rooms and Shared Spaces
If your home includes a guest bedroom or another space that’s under-utilized, it might be a perfect location for your new home office. Many modern homes are designed with nooks in the dining room, living room, or master suite that can be easily transformed into a shared-space office. A long, floating shelf can become a desktop when flanked by a comfortable office chair. Even a living room corner can become a work zone with the addition of a small desk and chair.
Naturally, a guest room is an ideal office location because it likely only serves as a sleeping zone a few days or weeks each year. A wall-mounted Murphy bed is great if you want to stick to minimalist design because it hides the bed behind closed doors, eliminating visual clutter.
Shelving in a shared space can serve a dual purpose: Storing your office necessities as well as the family’s books and other objects everyone uses. Maintaining a simple color palette is essential for modern design and crucial in shared spaces where it prevents your office area from becoming the room’s focal point.
2. Modern Home Office Ideas for a Dedicated Space
If you have the luxury of a separate room to contain your home office space, you have every teleworkers’ dream situation. The perfect modern home office has a door that you can close off to the rest of the home for maximum privacy and productivity. Design inspiration for your worktime getaway can come from anywhere, including a favorite color or style of furniture.
Because exposure to natural light increases productivity, try to arrange the office décor so that you have an unobstructed view through the window. If you’re lucky enough to have huge windows that resemble glass walls, make the most of this dramatic feature. Keep window treatments simple, so as not to detract from the room’s focal point.
When you have a separate office room, it should be easy to incorporate plenty of storage into your design. Make the most of shelves, cabinets, bins, and baskets to keep everything neatly out of sight when not in use. Remember that accent pieces should be simple in a modern space. Look for simple lines and geometric shapes when choosing lamps, artwork, and other accents.
Tile, laminate, and wooden flooring are all good choices for a modern home office. Sleek and shiny, an impressive finish on the floor adds polish to the room. Soften the floor with an area rug scaled to fit the space—and choose a material that will feel luxurious under bare feet on lazier days at the office. Note that the ceiling is also a good area to add a punch of black or another anchoring color, especially if you have tray or coffered ceilings that demand a bit more attention.
3. Modern Home Office Shelving Ideas
At least one shelf is a must in every home office. In small office nooks, shelving is necessary for enough storage space for your documents and supplies. Even if you have a whole room for your office, shelves maximize storage and enhance the visual appeal of your space. Check out these floor to ceiling bookshelf ideas for more inspiration.
It’s fine for a modern office to include features that hearken back to traditional design elements. Simple coffered panels and floor to ceiling shelves are reminiscent of centuries past, but can be structured in a way that projects contemporary style. An eclectic combination of arched built-in shelves, a modern desk, and a metal pendant light can all come together into an inviting modern workspace. For a truly eye-catching feature, cover the wall behind your shelves in mosaic tile, mirrored panels, patterned wallpaper, or a contrasting paint color.
Floating shelves are a hallmark of midcentury, Scandinavian, and contemporary design. As the name indicates, these shelves appear to float along the wall, with no visible hardware holding them up. Watch the following video to learn how to make simple floating shelves for your office retreat.
4. Desk and Table Lamp Ideas for Modern Home Offices
A great desk lamp is helpful on just about any work surface. This special type of light fixture features a lamp on the end of a flexible arm, allowing you to position the beam of light exactly where you need it. Desk lamps can stand directly on the desktop, sit on the floor, or be mounted to the wall. These simple lamps can be found in a variety of finishes, including chrome, brass, black, and white.
A table lamp is another option for your desk and casts a softer, more diffused light than a desk lamp’s concentrated beam. Because table lamps come in an unlimited range of sizes, colors, and designs, your desk lamp can be a special accent piece. If your overall color scheme centers around shades of gray, add a simple lampshade in soft peach or pale gold to soften the lines and corners of your modern office.
For other lighting ideas, check out the Top 60 Best Track Lighting Ideas.
5. Modern Desk Ideas
Modern desks are usually simple and angular, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Whether you need a conference table-sized desk or simply require a small writing desk, be sure to look for styles true to your personal voice. For example, if nature inspires your modern space, look for an Asian-inspired floating desk that seems to hover over a large river stone. A midcentury modern home office would look best with the straight lines and curved edges of a 1960s-era ad executive’s desk.
Wood, metal, stone, and laminate desks are all equally at home in a modern office space. As with shelving, floating desks will always broadcast a modern vibe. A simple floating plank can be anchored as a corner desk, or mounted in front of a huge picture window. Pairing a wood desktop with metal legs is another popular combination in modern interior design.
Don’t rule out the possibility of a built-in desk. Here’s the 50 Best Built In Desk Ideas.
6. Small Modern Home Office Ideas
Perhaps the most important factor to remember in turning a small space into a home office is to keep the furniture sizes to scale. You don’t want to overwhelm the space with an oversized desk or unnecessary guest seating. As always, modern or minimalist doesn’t equal boring. In fact, the smaller the area you have for an office, the more you can use certain elements to make it special.
Take advantage of every inch of vertical space by installing cabinets and shelves to fit. Wooden planks or beams along the ceiling help draw the eye up in small areas with high ceilings. If you don’t have a lot of room for artwork or other decorative accents, use a large-scale geometric wallpaper on the ceiling and install a dramatic modern light fixture.
If you’ve got real space constraints, check out these 40 Ideas for Closet Offices.
7. File Cabinets and Storage Ideas for Modern Home Offices
Storage might be at a premium if your modern home office is small. Keep file cabinets tucked away under your desk or hidden inside a credenza or closet. If you have deep built-in shelves, you can install file cabinet drawers in place of some of the lower shelves.
A basket on the floor can hold blueprints or other large paper documents and look attractive at the same time. Get double duty out of an ottoman or bench by choosing one with a lid that lifts off for hidden storage inside. While a lack of clutter is necessary in modern design, you can use a simple box or set of bins on your desk to hold papers or office supplies.
8. Sleek Seating Ideas for Modern Home Offices
A dedicated home office isn’t complete without a stylish, ergonomic office chair. While a love of contemporary design may narrow your choices in office furniture, never sacrifice comfort for style. If you become uncomfortable at your desk within an hour of settling in, your production will suffer.
High-tech modern office chair options abound. Look for a chair that has:
- Armrests that can be adjusted in height, width, and pivot.
- A flexible backrest that supports and conforms to the shape and movement of your back.
- A gliding mechanism that slides the seat forward as you recline.
- An adjustable seat height.
- Wheels that roll smoothly.
Other chairs in your office can break from the sleek lines and angles common to modern design. From the curves of an egg chair or a classic Eames, to the tufted surface of a Barcelona chair, these modern pieces of furniture can become the room’s main focal point.
9. Black and White Modern Home Office Ideas
The clean simplicity of black and white is always at home in a modern office. Use an equal balance of black and white, or focus more heavily on one color with accents of the other. When your color palette is this basic, feel free to coffer the ceiling, buy a dramatic chair, or center the room around one spectacular piece of art.
Luxurious fabrics also stand out well in simple black and white spaces. Try a velvet-upholstered sofa or a thick fur rug in shades of gray. An elaborate glass pendant light makes a dramatic focal point in your yin-and-yang office. Don’t be afraid to display a wooden bowl or other natural accents that remind you of your favorite places.
Modern Home Office FAQs
How can I make my tiny modern office space feel larger?
One of the beautiful things about modern design is how its minimalism helps small spaces feel larger. However, to achieve this feeling of openness, you must choose your furniture carefully and guard against clutter with an almost militant passion. Buy a desk with slim legs and a chair with a mesh back, to provide more visual space in the room. If you need guest seating, choose one or two airily-designed chairs instead of a sofa.
Remember the value of negative space in both art and interior design—empty areas are something to embrace. Store office supplies inside drawers instead of on your desktop. Keep your walls as clear as possible, choosing one impressively-framed painting or photograph. Hang thin modern blinds or sheer panels on your windows.
Everyone says to reserve your bedroom for sleeping, but the only free corner I have to create an office is in my master bedroom. Is it really that bad to work and rest in the same room?
While it is important to divide your home into work, rest, and play zones, it’s not always practical to keep everything so clearly separated. If you need to work from home, it’s better to create a designated office space in your bedroom than to do without a home office at all. Follow these guidelines to help your mind shift more easily between work and bedtime.
- Avoid working in bed. Sit at your desk whenever you’re on the clock.
- Although wearing pajamas is one of the bonuses of teleworking, getting dressed in the morning helps your mind know it’s time to work.
- When you’re finished working, put everything away. Out of sight is out of mind. For the same reason, try to situate your corner office where you can’t see it while lying in bed.
- Use smart light bulbs in your task lighting fixtures. These LED lights allow you to choose a bright light temperature for work time and a more relaxing temperature when you’re off the clock.
- End your work day well before bedtime. Spend the rest of the day in other rooms or away from home.