What to avoid in a small home office – 9 common mistakes designers beg you not to make – LivingEtc

For most of us, the home office is the smallest room in the house. It was probably cobbled together back in 2020 when working from the sofa was no longer acceptable and you needed a nicer backdrop for your zoom calls. But two years later, working from home is now the norm and we are all trying in order to improve our workspaces simply no matter how tiny they may be.

We are constantly seeing fabulous new ways to make the most of this often multifunctional space, and within fact, the home workplace has become as important in the world of interior design as kitchens plus living rooms. But while it’s wonderful to have so many gorgeous home office ideas to be inspired by, we think it’s equally useful in order to know what to avoid when designing this hardworking space. What common layouts should a person steer clear of? Exactly what colors are a no go? What furniture choices are we wrongly making? We asked the experts for their top tips to you can avoid making any mistakes and create the dream WFH set up.

What in order to avoid in a small home office

1. Choosing freestanding storage over built in

(Image credit: Interior Fox)

Our best tip for small spaces is to always go built-in if you can. Choosing bespoke storage makes the most of every inch of space, no matter how tiny or awkward. So forget bulky filing cabinets and freestanding shelving and build it all into one neat line of cabinetry that perfectly suits your area and style.  

This attic office at home designed by Interior Fox, is not only small but has the… novelty of the slanted ceiling so those eaves are usually never going to be used to their full potential with just freestanding pieces. Adding under eaves storage clears the room associated with clutter plus the actual proportions feel less awkward and makes this little home office look bigger too.  

‘Freestanding storage which tends to take up more space and provide less efficient storage. It’s also important to consider exactly how pieces can be multifunctional and how smart storage space can work for you. ‘ explains Sheena Murphy founder of Nune (opens in new tab) .

Andrew Griffiths, founder of A New Day (opens in brand new tab) adds ‘The main thing to avoid in a home office is clutter, which means making sure you have some good storage. Without this, a small  home  office  will quickly become an unproductive room where you struggle to focus or relax. ‘

2 . Playing it safe along with pattern

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Small busy patterns in a (and frequently busy space) space shouldn’t work, however , a common mistake within a tiny room is to play this safe – zero pattern and zero color. However , as this gorgeous modern office at home proves, pattern can in fact add therefore much to a small space. And commit to the appear, take a wallpaper across all the walls, and paint the architrave to match. This can help blur the edges of the room that the particular allusion associated with more area.  

‘Small spaces are a chance to have fun! I love incorporating a wall covering that provides a bit of levity and whimsy. Also, lighting is also a great way to add character plus interest. Sconces can be a great option for the small  workplace. ‘ suggests interior designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) .

‘This  office  was a sweet space designed for one of our  homeowners. She desired a command center for all of her organizational and household needs. It’s perfect because the space is small but incredibly functional with storage space and a surface to spread out. ‘

3. Ignoring the roof

(Image credit: Megan Taylor)

Ceilings are such an afterthought when it comes to painting a room, and it’s only recently we are seeing a shift in interior design trends to give the fifth wall a lot more attention. And a bold ceiling color makes so much sense in a home office, a person might not want as well much visual excitement on the walls so you aren’t distracted, but the particular ceiling will be where you can have the fun. Case in point, this beautiful cobalt blue ceiling. If you are usually looking few new ways to use color in a home office , this is it.  

‘We would say there are no colors to prevent in a  home  workplace. Color should be meaningful to YOU, after all, it’s you who will be using the room. ‘ indicates Russel plus Jordan of 2LG Studio (opens in new tab) .  

‘Truly embrace color that you love and use it however you wish! In our  home  office, we chose to use the bright Yves Klein glowing blue around the roof and paint down the wall to the height from the picture rail all of us have in other spaces. It feels joyful and energizing to work in this particular space. ‘

4. Picking furniture that will isn’t in order to scale

(Image credit: Studio room DB)

In a small home office, you don’t want to crowd the area with furniture. Look at what exactly you need (and may go without) and plan what designs, sizes, plus shapes to go for from there. If a person work from home complete time so need plenty of storage, there’s likely to be more furniture in the room. In this instance, we’d recommend keeping it all in scale with the particular size associated with the space. So small room + lots of individual pieces of furniture = smaller pieces of furniture. Easy enough.

However, if you just need the desk to work from and a good office chair , you almost want to do the opposite. A tiny desk sat alone in a room might make the room feel larger but not in a good way, more in a cavernous way. So invest in something larger, that’s not really likely to overwhelm the space, but will be dominant within it. This gorgeous office at home simply by Studio DB explains this in far simpler terms than we all can.  

5. And only using ‘office’ furniture

(Image credit: Echlin)

The nicest home offices we come across are ones that avoid feel too… officey. Treat choosing your office furnishings like a person would any kind of other area, of course, you want it to be practical but it ought to also suit your house and design. And most importantly in a small home office, it should all be to level. Desk ideas for home offices want not to become bulky, shelving shouldn’t impose. Keep pieces light and slimline so they don’t put too a lot visual bulk and darken the bedroom.  

‘Most “office furniture” need to be avoided in the particular home as it tends in order to be much larger and out of scale with other pieces in the home. Look with regard to more residentially sized items by comparing the dimensions against other items within the home, dining chairs, and tables for example. ‘ explains Samuel Pye Creative Manager associated with Echlin (opens in new tab) . ‘A standard workplace desk is usually roughly 80cm x 140\160cm which is almost the size of a six-person dining table, which will be far as well large regarding most house offices. ‘

6. Getting the lighting wrong

(Image credit score: Interior Fox)

Home office lighting may not be the majority of thrilling part of the design process, but in the room that has to become so useful, it’s key. Spend the particular time getting it right. Really consider how you use the space, what times of day, where your desk is positioned, plus what kind of work you do.  

‘Lighting is key in every office, but especially a compact space. It’s best to avoid bright overhead lights, instead choose a task table lamp to place within the desk, the particular directional light will allow you in order to play around with the lighting and ambiance. ‘ explains Jen and Marr, founders associated with Interior Fox. ‘Pay attention to the particular bulb type, bright white can really feel stark plus make you feel burnt out quicker. Instead, appearance for warm light bulbs, they give the much softer illumination. ‘

Sheena Murphy adds, ‘We don’t suggest recessed lighting in many areas in a  home  but this is usually an area that you can eliminate visible clutter above the eye level by only using architectural/recessed lighting. ‘

7. Shying away from darker colors

(Image credit: Christopher Horwood)

Much like using lots of design in a small space, it’s often thought you are greatest to prevent darker colours. However, not only can more dark colors make a space feel larger, they can be a great choice for a home workplace. Soft, velvety dark blues, blacks, and greens create a very soothing cocooning feel that will feels welcoming and encouraging and very different from an office setting – which is definitely personally exactly what we want when WFH.

‘Darker colors are often shied away from, the old sensibility being that dark color can make rooms seem smaller, nevertheless when there is ample ceiling elevation then we find the opposite to be the case and that a deeper colour, especially along with a little sheen to it, may enhance the feeling of space. ‘ explains Deborah Bass creator of Base Interior (opens within new tab) .

‘This alcove-shaped study is neatly placed plus storage can be maximized through open and closed options, the shelf-style desk plus open shelves allows the longer view which gives ground and perspective in order to the forms of the home furniture. The interplay between two cool shades brings a simplicity that avoids the crowded feel. ’ 

8. Not keeping things simple

(Image credit: Nune)

Make a list of the essentials. What do you really need in your home office? When space is certainly tight you don’t wish to crowd the room with too much furniture plus decor. Be inspired by this lovely, light area designed simply by Nune and free up the particular floor room with subtle floating shelving ideas – hanging them above the attention line keeps the wall space free associated with fuss plus alludes to more ceiling height.  

‘This project example of just how we created 17 linear feet of book storage and object display without using floor space or even visual space because the shelf used was installed over eye level and painted the same color because the walls to make it blend in as much as possible. ‘ explains Sheena Murphy, founder associated with Nune.

‘With smaller spaces, you have to be incredibly intentional about what a person bring into the space. Don’t overcrowd your  office  with furniture or even accessories. Think through how the  office  should function and what you need to stay efficient. Do you need to store items? Make certain you account for appropriate cabinetry. Do you need in order to have books or supplies at the ready? Shelving is typically a great solution. ‘ suggest Marie Flanigan.

nine. Failing to add personality

(Image credit: John Day)

With such a focus on avoiding clutter, it can be tricky to incorporate decor into a small and functional space. Yet adding a few of your own personality and style into a home office is what takes it from being the box room you function to the space inside your house you want to spend time within.  

Just keep this simple, since interior developer Raili Clasen (opens in brand new tab) describes, ‘In a small area, avoid too many knick-knacks plus clutter. Express your personality through bigger statement parts, such as a bold piece of art or a playful rug. Don’t go overboard on the particular little accents that may help to make the room feel messy or cluttered. ‘

Echlin’s  Samuel Pye adds, ‘Unique artwork is essential in the small home office, to separate it through any type of cold or corporate office environment. There are studies that show it increases productivity but , whether a person agree along with that or not, it will add emotional and creative depth towards the space and hopefully end up being inspiring. ‘ 

What should you always consider in a home office?

The best place to start is to think about how you use the space. Is this your only workplace so requirements to home everything work related, or even do a person go into an office too so there might be less pressure on the storage situation?  

Exactly what work you do in there should be considered as well. Are a person in and out associated with meetings all day or is it more of the solo gig to sit and function alone? In case you spend a lot of time on video calls for example you will want to consider a spot that gets good illumination at almost all times of day, plus looks professional in the particular backdrop. When you work mostly by yourself, you will still want to find the best spot intended for your table, but things like good task lights and lots of desk area will end up being important too.

Think about the very basics. Is your office at home quiet enough? Is the WiFi connection good? Can you increase privacy when you need to? What’s the heating situation like, will you be comfortable enough within the cooler months and not overheat when summer comes around?

How can you make a small home offer sense nicer?

Keep things basic. Don’t overcrowd the area and purchase pieces which you actually love. Better to have the particular perfect desk that fits your style plus way of operating than lots of cheaper pieces associated with furniture that will don’t function. And look around the rest of your own rooms, you don’t want your home office to feel as well isolated and different in style from your sleep of your house, it ought to feel nearly like walking into your bedroom or living room – soothing and welcoming.  

Give it the more lived-in feel by bringing in pieces you’d expect to find inside other areas of your own house, a mirror for instance (helps the space really feel larger too), or a good ottoman if you have room. Add some statement prints and throw down a rug for extra coziness.  

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