For the longest, time we couldn’t figure out why we—and everyone else we know—are obsessed with looking at photos of perfect little home offices in magazines or on Pinterest. We’ve been known to curl up on the sofa with a laptop or tap away on our tablets while eating lunch on the kitchen counter, so why did we jump like a Schnauzer after a squirrel every time we saw a great home office inspiration?
Then it dawned on us: a cleverly designed home office isn’t just an inspiring place to work, or even complete mundane tasks like paying bills; it’s also a place to incorporate bits of our personality that don’t make it into the common rooms of the house. And, when neatly arranged, it gives us a sense of order and control over the chaos of everyday life. So the home office, perhaps more so than other rooms of the house, is not just a room but a symbol—of our best, most organized, most efficient selves.
Pretty heavy, right?
In theory, yes. But in execution? We say have fun with it. These five home office inspirations manage to balance function with whimsy and a healthy dose of attitude. Although we didn’t set out to look just for white offices, what appeals to us about these rooms is their lightness, clean lines, pops of color, and sense of everything in its place.
Vintage-meets-mod home office from Domaine. This room takes big expanses of white—from the floors to the walls, trim, and glass-front bookcases—and grounds it with darker elements like the rug, mirror, and lamp. Plenty of glass helps to reflect even more light into the space. The retro turned-leg writing desk looks sophisticated with an ever-popular ghost chair . . . though we’d add a throw pillow to it for cushioning, because those little devils might look cool, but they’re seriously lacking in comfort factor.
Attic home office from Cococozy. This office is all about ingenious use of what might otherwise be a throwaway, under-the-eaves space in a home. The built-in bookcases are perfect for storing books, supplies, and files—and adding a bit of color with some fun accessories. Otherwise, the space is kept spare, with a built-in desktop that runs the length of the wall—great for when an office is shared by two or more people—and a small chair and table for visitors, or for taking breaks from desk work.
Under-the-stairs home office from Domino. Sticking with the previous theme of making the most of underutilized spaces, this home office has a private-hideaway feel, thanks to its unusual location under the stairs (carpeted in leopard. We repeat, carpeted in leopard) Sure, the stacking space under the countertop might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is a good way to keep those magazine stacks from creeping into multiple rooms of the house. (And you could just as easily tuck some rolling drawer units under to counter to keep items out of sight.) We love all the vintage and boho furniture and accessories, from the whitewashed secretary to the Romanesque sculptures and urns, and the hide rug.
Annie’s hidden home office cabinet. After years of migrating from the couch to the kitchen counter to the bed with her laptop, in search of the perfect place to settle down for work, Annie came up with the ideal solution for her: she repurposed an unused utility closet in the kitchen into a neat-as-a-pin office that stores her computer, printer, files, and supplies in one easy-access location. Find out how she did it here.
Modern with a touch of glam home office from Homey Oh My. This is, quite possibly, the quintessential workspace for a first-time homebuyer or apartment renter, or anyone with tight space and a tighter budget. A modular desk and storage unit in a deep espresso finish help give a bit of weight to the pale walls and floors, and the accent wall—featuring a pattern that could be dizzying over larger expanses—add just enough visual interest. We’ve got another example of a ghost chair here, but what we love the most are all the metallic accents, from the shelf brackets to the bulbous desk lamp and the gilded accessories. Oh, and color. If your office is white, colored accents are a must; think baskets, file boxes, and office supplies in fun bright and patterns.