Home Decorating Every Detail Counts: The Trained Eye Guide to Designing a Home Office

Every Detail Counts: The Trained Eye Guide to Designing a Home Office

A serial renovator who knows how to make any space more beautiful – and more livable – Annie Selke shares her tips and tricks for a successful space. As she embarks on a full-house renovation of her bougainvillea-covered home designed by Hollywood Regency architect John Elgin Woolfe in Palm Desert, California, we’ll go room by room to share her expert insights and product picks:

Do a double-duty room right. Oftentimes rooms that serve two purposes end up feeling like they’re not very good for either function. The way to get a double-duty room right is to plan it that way strategically, says Annie. “We knew we wanted a third bedroom option, but we also wanted the functionality of an office or a study—a swing room, so to speak,” she says. “It doesn’t make sense for it to just always be a bedroom.” Make a list of all the functions your room must support before you begin your design, especially if you are commissioning built-ins.

Consider a wall bed to maximize your space. Wall beds are not just for studio apartments! “If you’re trying to multitask in a space, a murphy bed is a great solution,” says Annie, who notes they’ve come a long way in terms of the technology. “When I was looking at closet solutions on the California Closet site I saw a Murphy bed and knew that it would be perfect for that space, so that most of the time it’s a really lovely office and study.”

But don’t skimp on the cabinetry! The secret to a chic wall bed lies in the casing that hides the mechanism. Annie opted for a wall of custom cabinetry in the Albero Natural from California Closets with the wall bed centered in the middle of two closets. “It looks like it’s all cabinets, but the murphy bed comes down and it transforms easily into a lovely, queen-sized bedroom,” says Annie.

Make a plan for the work-related mess. An ideal office-guest bedroom is designed to easily hide work away when guests visit. “With swatches and paint tone books, my desk has always been a messy place—a happy messy place, but a messy place,” says Annie. With this in mind, Annie tucked many of her office accoutrements into the built-in closets. “The printer is in there, a magnetic white board for all my swatches and stuff. If guests come, I just close the door,” she says.

Give guests a place to hide their stuff, too. Just because your office doubles as a guest bedroom is no excuse to short change your guests on storage. A generously sized dresser like Bernhardt’s Santa Barbara 3 Drawer Dresser will be large enough for you to use one drawer for office supplies but still leave two drawers free for guests to upack.

Choose a color that invigorates you. It’s tempting to choose a neutral hue for a room that serves multiple functions, but Annie prefers to lean into color. Opting for a dominant color, like the Marrakesh-inspired pink here, that makes you feel lively will help support your focus. If you work from home, you likely spend more waking hours in your study than any other part of the house!

Opt for diffuse light sources. A double-duty room has a wider variety of lighting needs than most. The solution is to opt for lamps that offer diffuse lighting, like Visual Comfort’s Leighton Chapman and Myers Lawrence 20 Light Medium Chandelier and FLOS IC Reading Floor Lamp. These soft sources of light gently and fully light a room, so that you don’t need multiple task lamps for every function.

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1 comment

Nancy Woolard February 12, 2022 at 3:59 am

I love your decorating ideas. Hopefully you can help me find 5 area rugs, all same pattern, color, etc, just different sizes. 2 runners, 2 5×7 & 1 8×10 in light aqua preferably wool, no fringe.


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